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Steven Cafferty, 27, has secured the bronze medal in the first staging of a golf event in the Deaflympics.

Speaking to bunkered ahead of the championship in Turkey, the Glasgow golfer described being selected as his ‘biggest achievement to date’ and a ‘huge honour’.

But the road to the Deaflympics and medal success hasn’t been an easy one. This is Steven’s story.


Golf can be a challenge most of the time but not many of us have the same obstacles to overcome as Steven Cafferty. 

The Glasgow golfer, 27, is profoundly deaf and yet continues to defy the odds to have a successful career in a game he says he is in love with. While climbing the professional ladder off the course – he works on the shop floor in the American Golf retail shop in East Kilbride – he has also carved out an impressive career on it. 

Cafferty has picked up a number of victories and is a three-time winner of the Scottish Deaf Golf Association Open (SDGA). His form has been so impressive, in fact, that is has led to a call-up for Team GB at the Deaflympics in Turkey later this year.

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Cafferty fell in love with golf at a young age and knew right away he wanted to be involved in the sport, one way or another. 

“My dad took me up for junior lessons at a local club [Craigie Hill] when I was about seven,” he told bunkered. “Since then, I’ve always wanted a career in golf.” 

When he was 16, he worked at Noah’s Ark Golf Centre in Perth and was accepted into the PGA as a trainee assistant professional. 

He was set to embark on three years of training and exams on coaching, products, custom fitting and fitness to become a PGA pro. However, that was all put on hold when he lost his job at the centre. He bounced back and went on to work at Nevada Bob’s in Glasgow for a short while and then onto American Golf, where he has worked for over five years. 

He spent three years at the Clydebank branch, two years at Bearsden, and is now in the East Kilbride store, where he has been based for the past eight months.

Steven did not let any previous obstacles faze him as he picked up the World Deaf Golf Team Championships at Fairmont St Andrews with Scotland in 2010, becoming the first European country to do so. Since then he has won the SDGA Open on three occasions: 2010, 2013 and 2016.

He also claimed the club championship at Milngavie in 2014. “Having my name up on the board at the clubhouse and seeing it everyday made me realise I did the right thing in not letting my deafness affect my ability and my life,” he says.

It’s not been an easy journey for Cafferty. His deafness impacted him at a younger age and started to influence his ability to enjoy the game. “Sometimes it was lonely. I had a bad temper growing up. In golf, I often wondered why I deserved a bad round because I was deaf. I blamed everything on my deafness, like it was bad luck. 

“Due to my temper, I often found myself isolated from other juniors. Then I grew up and realised being deaf doesn’t affect my mentality or ability to hit a ball. Even these days, I’m still missing out, but I’m trying harder to get more involved and the guys I play with are usually very patient.

“I am honest enough to say that there have been moments where I wanted to just give up but that’s not my mentality. I kept going and, yes, there are limits to what I can do but that makes me appreciate the things  I can do even more.”

Cafferty has achieved many of his goals, but feels there’s plenty to be done on the wider scale for deaf golfers, especially in Scotland. Currently, he is the fundraising officer for Scottish Deaf Golf, but they may have to disband due to the lack of awareness and available funding.

 “I have managed to raise over £6,000 in the last three to four years to help with the costs for international events. They can cost as much as £2,000 per golfer, which is crazy money to represent your country.

“I hoped winning the World Team Championship would have given us more awareness and support, but it was the opposite. Still, I won’t give up on equality.”

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