The 2015 Queensland Amputee Golf Open tees off tomorrow at Noosa Springs Golf & Spa Resort. Contested over two days, it attracts a field of 60 amputee golfers from all over Australia vying for the Queensland title in five categories: below knee, above the knee, below elbow, above the elbow and multi-category.
Queensland Amputee Golf Association (QAGA) president and last year’s champion, Ben Tullipan, says it’s the biggest golf event for amputees in Australia. The annual event is now in its 12th year.
“We’ve got golfers playing off handicaps ranging from +1 to 36,” Ben says.
Tullipan, who lost both legs and suffered 63 per cent burns in the 2002 Bali bombings, was given a five per cent chance of survival. He was the most severely injured Australian and the person closest to the bomb blast. Tullipan is now a golfer after turning to the sport to aid his rehabilitation. He’s looking forward to defending his title this weekend.
The QAGA and Empower Golf Australia are staging a Queensland-first demonstration of the Paragolfer and other adapted equipment at Noosa Springs’ driving range on Saturday 9-10am for people with disabilities to try.
The $40,000 Paragolfer is a golf buggy, wheelchair and swing support system in one, which allows users to swing a golf club unimpeded from a supported standing position and to travel around the course.
The initiative is also supported by Paralympians, Sydney 2000 discus gold medallist Stephen Eaton and the Sunshine Coast’s triple Paralympic medallist Marayke Jonkers, who will also attend the Queensland-first demonstration.
Tullipan says Empower Golf Australia is looking to place a Paragolfer at a Sunshine Coast Golf Club. The charity will train the chosen club’s golf pro on how to conduct lessons using the purpose-designed wheelchair.
“Empower Golf will handle all the promotion and the elected club will be endorsed by Golf Australia as a disabled-friendly golf course,” Tullipan says.
“We’re also seeking to work with other Sunshine Coast golf courses to co-fund Paragolfers and run disabled initiatives.”
James Gribble of Empower Golf Australia says everyone is welcome to participate in the demonstration. People with physical disabilities such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy; athletes with an intellectual disability; and elderly golfers who simply need support to stay upright and get around the course stand to benefit most.
Jonkers, whose charity Sporting Dreams provided Tulipan with a grant to further his golf, says he’s is living proof anyone can play golf.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to come and try a very expensive piece of equipment, whether you aim to become a competitive golfer or want to enjoy a round of golf with mates,” says Jonkers.
“We’re very fortunate to have this event on the Sunshine Coast and I encourage anyone who’s ever wanted to play golf to come along.”
Sunshine Coast residents interested in participating in the demonstration are urged to register with event organiser James Gribble phone: 0466 825 044 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2015 Queensland Amputee Golf Open
Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort, Noosa Springs
Saturday 30th of May - Sunday 31st of May 2015
Paragolfer Demonstration: Driving Range 9am to 10am Saturday 30th of May 2015
Noosa Springs Golf & Spa Resort, Noosa Heads
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