Japanese philanthropist funds UK blind golf

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams January 11, 2012 16:15

Japanese philanthropist funds UK blind golf

A Japanese sports promotion organisation is to fund an academy programme that will train PGA professionals to teach blind and disabled golfers in the UK for free.

Tokyo-based ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) is to set up the ISPS Handa PGA Academy Programme, which stems from the desire of founder and leading philanthropist, Dr Haruhisa Handa, for golf to become a Paralmypic sport.

Dr Handa and ISPS have supported golf at various levels for more than 25 years, currently sponsoring a number of elite tournaments around the world, using them as a platform to promote opportunities for blind and disabled golfers.

ISPS will provide a thousand free golf lessons for blind and disabled golfers with PGA professionals while De Vere create regional events for blind and disabled golfers culminating in a grand final at the PGA Seniors’ Championship, which ISPS has agreed to sponsor as part of a £250,000 package, at De Vere Slaley Hall this June.

“Blind and disabled golfers face a number of challenges in developing their game and to be able to provide them with greater access to specialised coaching. This is something we are very proud of,” said Dr Haruhisa Handa, who is vice president at the Royal National Institute for the Blind and set up the Japanese Blind Golf Association in 1988 and was a driving force behind the formation of the International Blind Golf Association.

“Many of our members already do excellent work with golfers with a range of disabilities but this is the first time we have had the opportunity to devise a specific programme for PGA professionals interested in this field,” said Dr Kyle Phillpots, PGA director of Education and Career Development.

Andrew White, chief executive of WSM Communications, which brokered the sponsorship deal, added: “The ISPS Handa PGA Academy Programme is a great partnership with the PGA, providing tangible grassroots support in advancing participation and development in golf for the blind and disabled.”

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams January 11, 2012 16:15
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