Golf club em­braces in­clu­sion

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS -

CASTLE­GRE­GORY Golf club was recog­nised for its work this past week in help­ing to de­velop a new Autism-friendly golf pro­gramme, one of the first of its kind in the coun­try. The club has lead the way in the es­tab­lish­ment of the first Ernie Els #GameOn Autism Golf pro­gramme.

To­gether with its part­ner­ship of UN­ESCO; ITT Depart­ment of Health and Leisure; Ris­ing Stars and the Els Foun­da­tion, the golf club has been recog­nised na­tion­ally for this ini­tia­tive. Five mem­bers of the group at­tended the CARA/ Sport Ire­land Na­tional In­clu­sion Awards last week, where they were amongst the three fi­nal­ists in the Best Part­ner­ship 2018 cat­e­gory. They were de­lighted to see their work of the last three years ac­knowl­edged and bet­ter still, to win first prize.

The late Ris­ing Stars PGA coach Liam Dug­gan brought the #GameOn ini­tia­tive to Ire­land and the UN­ESCO Chair/ ITT, in 2015, but sadly was not there to see his idea re­alised. How­ever, PGA coach Adrian White­head has con­tin­ued the work with #GameOn and has helped to keep Liam’s legacy to the fore, ‘Liam is never far from our thoughts when we are run­ning these golf ses­sions’.

The Els Foun­da­tion pro­vide the #GameOn ma­te­ri­als and sup­port re­sources; ITT Health & Leisure stu­dents through their Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship Ini­tia­tive (CLI) mod­ule, coach men­tor on the pro­gramme while Ris­ing Stars coach Adrian White­head, who also de­liv­ers golf to pri­mary schools, leads the coach­ing ses­sions. Dept. of Health & Leisure lec­tur­ers Edel Ran­dles and Jackie Gal­lagher co­or­di­nate and or­gan­ise the pro­gramme and Castle­gre­gory Golf Club is the venue where the out­door pro­gramme is lo­cated, whilst its club mem­bers coach and men­tor the young­sters as they de­velop their golf game.

“The golf club vol­un­teers have been fan­tas­tic, com­ing out to coach/men­tor each week, whilst also do­nat­ing clubs, golf prizes to the pro­gramme, this pro­gramme has en­abled golfers to re­ally give back, a most re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­body in­volved,” said Edel Ran­dles.

Al­ready the pro­gramme has been de­liv­ered to 26 young peo­ple with autism, some of whom travel up to 50 miles to join the weekly ses­sions.

Golf is recom­memded as suit­able ac­tiv­ity for young peo­ple with autism, due to the repet­i­tive na­ture of the game, con­ducted in a nat­u­ral out­door en­vi­ron­ment, where the si­lence can be en­joyed, or a chat can be had, with­out pres­sure, and a plethora of com­pet­ing stim­uli.

Photo: John Cleary

Min­is­ter of State for Tourism and Sport, Bren­dan Grif­fin pre­sent­ing Edel Ran­dles (UN­ESCO/ITT) with the CARA/Sport Ire­land Na­tional Award at Castle­gre­gory Golf Club on Fri­day. Also in pic­ture are Michael Keane, Pa­tri­cia Good­win, Mary Cieper­ski and Tommy King, GameOn vol­un­teers at Castle­gre­gory Golf Club.

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