A drive has been launched to find more guides so more people with visual impairments can enjoy golf.
There is a growing number of blind golfers in the UK – but according to the game’s governing bodies, it is an ongoing struggle to find volunteers who can help.
Many people who become visually impaired struggle with mental illness, and golf is an ideal way to support them.
But because of the need for a guide to help the player line up shots and navigate the course, it can be difficult for them to get into golf in the first place.
“The hardest thing they find is to ask for help and that’s why we’ve been pushing the big drive to get more people,” said England and Wales Blind Golf press officer Steve Killick.
“Even if you have a fourball, one of the four can help to line up the visually impaired golfer. For golfers who have a little sight, there’s no reason why they can’t play in a fourball. But there are simply not enough guides to get them to the courses.”
Blind golf has just two rules which are different to regular play – clubs can be grounded in hazards, and guides are allowed to stand behind the flag to help players with some sight line up their putts.
According the charity, the game can have a huge impact on those who play it.
“For us, we go out on the golf course and talk about how beautiful it is,” said Killick.
“The pleasure these guys get is from conquering their blindness and learning to hit a golf ball.
“Golf has saved lives. Some of these guys have lost everything. One guy who had diabetes went blind overnight. He lost his job, ended up homeless and he will freely admit that had he not got involved in golf, he was seriously thinking about ending it all.
“They have a terrible feeling of isolation and despair which is lifted because of what golf can offer. The satisfaction of being able to hit that ball helps them overcome their blindness. It’s a real triumph over adversity.”
For more information on how to become a guide, click here.