The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation has made a donation of £10,000 to England and Wales Blind Golf to help the charity continue their work in encouraging people who are blind or severely sight impaired to take up and enjoy the game of golf.
EWBG provides a lifeline to those who are otherwise alone, isolated from society, often dealing with serious mental health issues. EWBG has opened a door for this group of people who are blind or are severely sight impaired helping to rehabilitate them. Men, women and children are actively encouraged to participate. All are welcome.
Andy Gilford, secretary of the EWBG attributes the Charity to saving his life. Andy played golf as a junior with his friends who would assist him. Growing up, he struggled to come to terms with his condition and suffered with depression. Gilford learned about Blind Golf after watching the British Open on television and contacted EWBG.
Gilford’s wife Mel acts as his guide. Guides are essential to the success and survival of EWBG. The guides work with the golfers lining up their shots and directing their ball flight. Without guides the golfers would not be able to take to the course. There is a shortage of guides because of a lack of public awareness and many golf clubs remain oblivious to the level of support needed to enable blind and severely sight impaired men, women and children to take up the game.
In 2022, the PGA EuroPro Tour announced a partnership with England and Wales Blind Golf to help raise awareness in the wider community to reach more blind and severely sight-impaired golfers and encourage those who would like to take up the game. The partnership has already increased exposure and generated more interest and support with recent coverage on two occasions on the local BBC news.
The donation will see the charity continue to to encourage visually impaired newcomers into the game by reaching out to clubs asking for volunteers to act as guides, provide transport and take them under their wings to facilitate a welcoming introduction into the clubs.
Guides are an integral part of the fabric to enable existing blind golf members who are struggling to continue to play on a regular basis.