Accessible Wellington golf group a hit!
May 4, 2018
Sam Brothwood-Mckee has found a new challenge on the green at Mornington Golf Club.
The Special Olympics gold medalist is the newest member of Wellington’s only accessible golf group led by Ray Tuffin, having only joined four weeks ago,
The team was started two years ago and includes members with autism, Asperger’s, brain trauma and other intellectual disabilities.
Brothwood-Mckee enjoyed meeting new members and the opportunity to help with coaching.
“[I] came because of swimming and I like encouraging people. [Some members] are brave to talk openly about their disabilities,” she said.
The group offers a good support system and sense of community said one team mate.
“Having the right club helps give good support when learning to play.
“The Ambrose tournaments allow you to keep moving forward and complement team members.”
The group meets every Saturday, last week’s players battling a Wellington Southerly and some light drizzle.
But they seemed to enjoy themselves, with peals of laughter echoing across the lawn as they practiced their aim through its STAR programme.
STAR reminds players to stop, think, anticipate and respond, both on and of the golf course.
Four circles are set up in a row – each representing one of the four letters and corresponding instruction – and players work in teams to hit the ball into each circle before moving onto the next in the sequence.
Tuffin trialled the STAR programme in San Diego four years ago and brought many of the lessons he learnt back to New Zealand.
It’s good golfing advice but also offers some key life lessons, explained Tuffin.
“The big thing is participation. [It’s] easy to teach people values through golf.”
Tuffin noticed that many teams did not cater to a diverse range of needs and decided to create an accessible team at his own local golf club.
The group started with two people under the Special Olympics banner but had grown to include some 30 plus members.
Membership is free and they rely on the generous donations of time and equipment from club members.
One senior golf club member has just donated $1000 for to be used over the next three years.