Development @The G4D Open, Woburn

EDGA’s Mark Taylor & Leah Roelich deliver a D3 first touch session to therapists and participants from the East London NHS Foundation Trust

EDGA engages with patients of NHS Foundation Trust to create The G4D Open legacy..

The first ever G4D Open at Woburn (May 10-12), staged by The R&A in partnership with the DP World Tour, gave EDGA the opportunity to demonstrate its development work that can encourage so many people with a disability to have a first try at golf and enjoy its benefits. 

On a square area of grass near the Woburn clubhouse during the week, EDGA’s Head of Instruction and Education Mark Taylor and PGA professional coach Leah Roelich were able to engage with two groups of mental health patients from the East London NHS Foundation Trust, offering EDGA’s ‘D3’ first-touch format using safe, light, colourful, adapted GolfWay chippers and putters with soft balls, that can be used in non-golf venues, such as hospitals and schools.  

WOBURN, ENGLAND: Tom Pursglove, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work talks with an EDGA Head of Instruction & Education, Mark Taylor during Day Two of The G4D Open on the Duchess course at Woburn Golf Club (Photo by Alex Burstow/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

In a successful session supported by The R&A, and witnessed by Tom Pursglove, UK Government Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, the Trust’s Health Development Co-ordinator Steve Muggridge was clearly delighted with how it encouraged his patients who had never tried golf before. Steve said: “From the opening minute this was accessible, fun, interactive and highly inclusive. The equipment we used was perfect for our patient type.

“It’s great to see the patients happy and absorbed in a task and smiling as they see the results. Some of our mental health patients experience low moods and loneliness, and this group activity can have a huge benefit on their wellbeing.” 

From left: Jamie Blair (England Golf) Steve Muggridge (East London NHS Foundation Trust) and EDGA’s Mark Taylor

Steve added: “While coach Leah inspired our patients during the session, Mark trained our therapists and volunteers, who can now deliver golf in our in-patient wards and outside in the summer. Our therapy team can now link up with our Trust’s other community venues, to encourage their patients, and a little down the line we can link with a local golf club through this scheme. 

“I came along today hoping for inclusive activity for the day for our patients, and have actually been given a complete pathway into a new sport. It was also fantastic that at the end of the session, The R&A gifted a complete set of GolfWay equipment for use by our team and patients; it was a lovely gesture.”

WOBURN, ENGLAND: EDGA activity presentation – Kevin Barker – R&A Director Golf Development presents Steve Muggridge with D3 GolfWay equipment pack during Day Two of The G4D Open. (Photo by Alex Burstow/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Mark Taylor of EDGA added: “It was wonderful to hear that a patient who hadn’t wanted to leave his room at hospital for a long time was hitting shots here and smiling. Our trained PGA coach and development team member Leah helped here by running an excellent session. Everyone can have a go at this format and, quite quickly, there are suddenly no barriers there. We were very grateful to The R&A again and England Golf for their support in what could be an excellent regional initiative.”

Jamie Blair, Disability Golf Manager for England Golf, had introduced the East London NHS Foundation Trust to EDGA, and now can help to connect Steve and his team with local golf facilities so that they have the know-how to support any interested individuals or groups who wish to take their golf further. The D369 resource developed by EDGA is a three-step system that takes the player through the sampling stage of the ‘player pathway’ (sample, participate, and compete). Although D369 can be delivered on course by qualified PGA professionals, equally it can be delivered in locations and at non-traditional golf facilities where golf can be experienced with the help of trained introducers in locations close to the sampler’s home, and in a familiar environment.