Harvey Golf Day – a great success!

A group of 8 blind golfers and 8 caddies enjoyed a golfing day out at Harvey Golf Club on Friday 7th April. With 9 arriving by community bus, and the others under their own steam (including motorbike!) – the group of 16 were ready to tee off at 10.30am.

The team of WABGA golfers with the Ace+ Community Bus

The team of WABGA golfers with the Ace+ Community Bus

A hotly contested 2 person Ambrose tournament was fought over the next three hours as the golfers and their caddies got to grips with the Harvey Golf Club fairways and greens. Over a sandwich lunch the results were announced with Malcolm Elliott and James O’Hanlon leading the pack with a score of 33. Second were Chip Harvey and Gerry Brown with 34.88 and third were Deanna and Clarrie Minciullo on 38.75.
The winning pair - Malcolm Elliott and James O'Hanlon in action

The winning pair – Malcolm Elliott and James O’Hanlon in action

The day out was considered a great success with everyone enjoying the opportunity to play a very different course, and to spend time with each other on the bus.

The WABGA would like to thank the following organisations for their generous support and making this trip possible.
• The Community Bus was provided free of charge by Ace+
• Lunches, fuel for the bus and buggies were covered by a grant from Bankwest.
• Harvey Golf Club were excellent hosts and reduced the buggy charges for us.

2017 Fixture Programme

The WABGA season is underway and the full fixture list can be seen here.

WABGA adds an additional sight category

The WABGA has added an additional local sight category to the official sight categories that are used in blind golf nationally and internationally. The B5 category is for visual acuity from 6/18 up until but not including 6/36 and will enable more vision impaired people to play golf with WABGA members.

Although B5 golfers are not allowed a BGA or IBGA handicap and therefore will not be allowed to compete in International, National or State Competitions, they will be welcome to play alongside the other golfers.
B5 golfers can play in WABGA games by using the appropriate handicap, but will not be eligible for the Club Championship. More details are here.

2017 Blind Golf Development Programme underway!

The Western Australian Blind Golf Development Programme proudly supported by the WA Golf Foundation is underway with WABGA golfers taking advantage of this tailored coaching programme.

The WABGA is delighted that the WA Golf Foundation is supporting blind golf for a second year with their generous grant support. The programme was extremely well received in 2016 and achieved a positive shift in the satisfaction with WABGA members in their golfing experience and performance at the weekly games.
This can be summed up by this comment from the WABGA Starter:
‘A comparison of the Championship scores from 2015 with this year’s scores after players have received coaching is most marked. The confidence of the players has risen and each week the game is anticipated with enthusiasm. The funding we received for coaching has revitalised this group of Vision Impaired golfers which has in fact improved their enjoyment of life’.

Wembley Golf Clinic Feb 2016 2 - low res
A second phase will commence in April where we are attracting golfers to the game who either haven’t played before, or not played for some years.

Wendy Davidson, Secretary of the WABGA says “We are really pleased that the WA Golf Foundation have continued their support for a second year. We are using the support to reach out to new golfers in 2017, as well as continuing to support our existing members. We welcome any vision impaired person who would like to play golf and now have the resources to make sure that they can receive coaching.”
Anyone interested can email Wendy at wendy@wabga.org.au.

WA Blind Golfers perform well at Australian Open

The 2016 ISPS HANDA Australian Blind Golf Open was held last week at Wembley Golf Course and attracted a field of 19 including 8 golfers from Western Australia. Trophies were won by 4 from WA. Alan Rustand aided by caddy James O’Halloran were Australian Open Runners Up with the overall Ladies Championship won by Jenny McCallum with her husband Ian as caddy. Malcolm Elliott with caddy Neville Walker won the B2 Net Championship and Doug Burrows is the B3 Gross Champion with his daughter Lynley as caddy.
The WABGA were pleased to host the Australian Championship at Wembley Golf Course and welcome so many from 5 states. The overall winner was a newcomer to blind golf – Brad Carver from Queensland with his grandson caddy Josiah Gilbert.

Blind Golfers star on Channel 9!

Golfers competing for the WA Blind Golf Open featured on Channel 9 last week (August 15th). Bob Harnett attended the event and interviewed many which featured in this fascinating broadcast. It can be seen here

WA Blind Golf Open Results!

The Western Australian Blind Golf Association welcomed 21 golfers to the WABGA Blind Golf Open Championship which took place at Collier Park on the 15th August 2016. For the first time, there were golfers from 5 states competing, with eastern states competitors comprising just over half the field.

The golfers waiting at the first tee

The golfers waiting at the first tee

On a day of mixed weather – bright sunshine, heavy cloud and squally showers – scores were very competitive. Jenny McCallum of WA was the overall winner on 37 points ably assisted by her husband Ian as caddie. The runner up also kept it in the family – Brad Carver of Queensland was hot on Jenny’s heels scoring 37 and only losing on a countback – and was assisted by his young grandson Josiah Gilbert as caddie. This was Brad’s first blind golf tournament as the sport just starts up in Queensland.

Doug Sloan, President of Blind Golf Australia from Victoria, won the B1 Category beating his long-time rival David Blyth from Victoria to the runner’s up spot.

Doug Sloan and his caddie Jo Delaney

Doug Sloan and his caddie Jo Delaney

Jo Delaney caddied for Doug and Gary McInnes for David. John White from WA with his caddie Ross Thompson won the B2 category, David Martin from WA (also competing in his first blind golf tournament) with caddie Chris Roberts was runner up. In the B3 category, Doug Burrows from WA won with his daughter Lynley as caddie and Rob Curtin from South Australia with WA caddie Kevin Williams were runners up.
Doug Golding and his caddie Dilys Hughes

Doug Golding and his caddie Dilys Hughes

Gerry Brown, President of the WABGA reflected on a great day where the true spirit of Blind Golf was shown. ‘We were delighted that we had such a strong field, and thank all those who came over from the eastern states to play’.

The majority of the golfers are having a well-deserved day off on Tuesday before going on to compete for the Australian Blind Golf Open at Wembley Golf Course on the 17th and 18th August.

Jenny McCallum and caddy Ian McCallum receiving their trophies from Doug Golding

Jenny McCallum and caddy Ian McCallum receiving their trophies from Doug Golding

A week of competitions coming up!!

Golfers will be gathering in Perth to take part in two competitions next week. On Monday 15th August a 22 strong field will compete for the WA Blind Golf Open at Collier Park. Golfers from WA, Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland will take part.

On Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th August the Australian Open is taking place at Wembley Golf Course. The WABGA is pleased to welcome the Australian Open to Perth and we are looking forward to a week of keen competition.

WA Blind Golf Open – entry fee now reduced to $80

The WABGA are pleased to be able to offer a reduced entry price to the Western Australian Blind Golf Open which is taking place at Collier Park Golf Course on Monday 15th August 2016. Full details and an entry form can be downloaded here

A 25th Career win at 87!

With yet another win this May – John White of the WABGA reflects on his time playing blind golf and what it means for him to still be playing (and winning) at the age of 87.

John was born in the US and pursued a career working on large scale engineering projects, firstly in the US and then worldwide. This brought John to Australia to lead a project at Exmouth for the US Navy. Western Australia must have made an impression on John as he has made it his home ever since – marrying Gaye from WA and launching his own engineering and design company.

Golf was always a passion for John and he has been a member of Royal Perth for the last 50 years. However John found he was to lose 90% of his sight due to macular degeneration when he was in his mid seventies. “I was ready to turn up my toes” he remembers. “Losing my sight was devastating.” It was a suggestion from John’s ophthalmologist that started John playing blind golf.

John White with caddie Ross Thompson being presented the VisAbility Blind Golf Seniors Trophy in 2015 by Debra Barnes, Executive Manager, Operations of VisAbility.

John White with caddie Ross Thompson being presented the VisAbility Blind Golf Seniors Trophy in 2015 by Debra Barnes, Executive Manager, Operations of VisAbility.

“To be honest I hadn’t heard of blind golf” says John “and I was a bit dubious”. However he found that the game is intrinsically the same – played to the same R&A Rules as regular golf, and with no gimmicks. “Learning to rely on my caddie to spot the ball and help line me up was something to get used to”.

It wasn’t long before John started winning trophies and has now amassed an amazing 25 trophies in blind golf, including his latest – winner of the National Stableford held in Adelaide, South Australia in May 2016. “I’ve been fortunate to play golf not just across Australia but in Canada, the US and Japan too.” John has also enjoyed playing in pro-am games and has lined up with Jan Stephenson and Peter Senior. John has also appreciated the contribution of his caddies – long term friend Ross Thompson, and his wife Gaye who caddied for him in his recent win – in addition to friends from Royal Perth Golf Club who have helped him over the years.

John continues to look to the future – even at 87! “I want to continue to play golf, but also to work to promote the sport and encourage people to play.” It’s unlikely to be the last trophy that we see in John’s cabinet…

John with his collection of trophies

John with his collection of trophies

If you know of anyone who has lost their sight and would benefit like John in playing golf – the Western Australian Blind Golf Association (WABGA) will give them a warm welcome. Contact the President Gerry Brown on 9293 2517 to find out more.