The Disabled Golf Association (DGA), a not-for-profit community interest company welcomes decision of ongoing support and partnership by the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS).
A team of 4 disabled golfers were invited to join the MASS Annual Charity Golf Day 2013 at Welcombe Hotel in Stratford. Stan Bembenek, VP for DGA, who lost his leg and hind quarter due to bone cancer; Billy McAllister, England and Wales number one totally blind golfer; Scott Blaney, currently serving and lost his leg in Afghanistan; and Graeme Robertson who has primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Following the event, DGA Directors, Stan Bembenek, Sue and Graeme Robertson, met up with MASS Representative June Lowe to receive presentation of the proceeds of the day.
Graeme, who can barely walk across a room unaided yet plays 18-holes of golf, is the DGA National Events Co-Ordinator said “I thought my playing days were behind me, but with a friendly arm and a buggy to get around the course, I have been able to use the enjoyment and health benefits of golf to tremendous effect, my concentration and memory are improving and, although I’m not as good as I used to be, I’m enjoying meeting some inspirational people”.
Craig Budsworth, Chairman of MASS said “This year it was a real honour to be able to hand over a cheque for over £5,300 to such a worthy cause. I love the MASS golf day and the informal approach we have to the networking aspect of bringing together our members and supporters that always makes this a great day out. As well as enjoying the social aspect, I was incredibly inspired, and humbled, by the disabled golfers who joined us. Our donation to the Disabled Golf Association only tells half a story as I know that from this very event, Billy McAlister, Britain’s number 1 blind golfer, has found sponsorship through one of our members, Hilary Meredith, so it’s amazing what the power of golf can do.
As MASS members we are used to fighting for clients who have sustained life changing injuries and it is easy to forget about hobbies and the positive impact they can have on people’s lives. Clearly the DGA do not forget that and hopefully our donation will go towards bringing that reality to others.”
Graeme’s wife Sue is co-founder and director for DGA and volunteers her services “There is very limited funding accessible for disabled golf in England, yet we know the therapeutic benefits of the work of the Disabled Golf Association is incredible, so support by organisations such as MASS is essential for us to continue to survive as an organisation and keep up the good work.
With MASS members working with people acquiring life changing injuries, MASS members were genuinely interested and supportive of the work we are doing, with each organisation sharing a common aim in being some small part of the building blocks that can help people on their journey rebuilding their lives quite often following injury or diagnosis.
We couldn’t be more delighted to be chosen as an ongoing charity of choice for MASS. We would like to thank the team at MASS for their hard work, with the golf day organisation ably led by David Pinto who was our auctioneer for the day – DGA had various fourball vouchers donated and David did an excellent job auctioning them off”.
With great camaraderie shared by all, a fabulous day of sunshine and showers was had by all the players who travelled from across the country. Billy McAllister, totally blind golfer, from Bedfordshire was the individual winner and his caddie Carl won the putting competition.
DGA is a pan-disability, not-for-profit organization, membership is free. More information is at www.disabledgolfassociation.co.uk with events scheduled all over the country.
About the Disabled Golf Association
Our main aims are to promote the game of golf as a pathway to a healthier lifestyle and greater social inclusion for those who are disabled, irrespective of age, gender or disability. This includes providing the means to make it easier for the disabled player to access the facilities both on and off the course. We aim to provide information about equipment to permit that increased accessibility, this can be done by means of single-seater buggies specifically designed for the disabled player, bespoke club and prosthetic adaptation as well as supplying professional coaching at events from those who have been trained to teach the sport. We aim to attract not only those who have played in the past prior to an illness or injury, but also those who have never played the sport but are seeking the unique benefits of a sport which can be played by anyone either alone against the course, or in teams against each other.
We are also anxious to provide a playing environment where the clubs are disabled friendly and accessible and the courses are pre-vetted to ensure that they are capable of being played by those with limited mobility. We are helping to assist in the launching of coaching academies and training sessions throughout the UK. Also from our base in Gloucestershire we aim to provide information on courses, equipment and holiday resorts for the disabled golfer. We hope to offer all of these benefits for our members and others but also employment for those in the area who are disabled and can join us.
All our members are kept aware of the activities of the association by a comprehensive web site and active facebook site, which attract new members on a daily basis. We also actively seek and need the feedback from our members on such diverse subjects as new events, holiday resorts, new equipment and opportunities to volunteer and assist in future direction.
We interact with all of the governing bodies of the sport as well as some well known major suppliers and a wide cross-section of disability organisations such as The Papworth Trust, Leonard Cheshire Disability, The Stroke Association, The Cerebral Palsy Association and CP Sport, REMAP and DIAL.
In our first year in 2010 we achieved over 200 members with associates throughout Europe and have links with other disabled golfing organisations throughout the world. In 2010 we arranged or been involved with 12 events which is unique in the world of disabled golf, we have attracted a true cross section of disabilities and our members realise they can enjoy friendly and enjoyable experience.
In 2011 we increased our membership to 500 and introduced a series of events for newcomers as well as those requesting competition plus a unique series of par-3 events for those with limited mobility. In July 2011 we were featured in a 4-page centre spread in Motability Lifestyle magazine which led to 100 new members in just one week! We held 24 events in 2011. In August 2011 we received notification of our official registration as a shared-enterprise Community Interest Company.
By the close of the 2012 season (where we had 40 events) we had over 600 members, making us the largest pan-disabled not-for-profit golf organisation in the UK – and possibly the world! We took the opportunity to rebrand and change our name from Society to Association to reflect our national role in the UK.
In 2013 we have over 50 events planned throughout – England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and a whole series of taster sessions for those new to golf, supported by Sport England. At the start of the season, DGA has entered into agreement with Glenbrae as Official Apparel Supplier to DGA members with the new range of Pro V+ balls being donated as prizes for the entire season by Titleist. In addition for 2013, DGA have announced a partnership with the BGL group of golf courses in a “BGL Race to Burhill” with the final to be held in October. DGA are delighted to announce in August 2013, a new partnership with the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) who have chosen DGA as their charity of choice on an ongoing basis bringing much needed funding to support the infrastructure of the organisation.