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  • Paul Fink

My return to golf

Golf at Sandhurst

Prior to my stroke, I had no idea what was available for people with disabilities. I am constantly amazed what we have access to, in Australia. And this week was no different when I finally made my return to golf.

Thanks to Gemma at Monash Health, she found this company 'Empower Golf' at the Sandhurst Golf Club. This company, works solely with people with a wide range of different disabilities. Empower runs golf clinics and coaching across Australia to support disabled individuals returning or wanting to improve their golf.

In the Rehabilitation centre (Alfred Health Community Rehabilitation) - two years ago - I was putting with the Occupational Therapy (OT). My OT taught me to putt with two hands, but the session with Sandhurst last week, I was very different because I was practicing 'normal' golf with the backswing. My right arm is not functional with golf currently. Therefore, I was practicing only using my left-hand at Sandhurst. In the future, hopefully I will both arms. Fingers crossed!

James Gribble - founder of Empower Golf - its mission is to make golf accessible to Australians of all abilities and he created the ParaGolfer machine. The ParaGolfer is regularly used by people with high level spinal cord injuries, but can also be used by anyone with mobility or stability issues.

I can walk now and my balance is improving, but I am still struggling walking with uneven ground (eg. sand/bunkers), however - and fortunately - I have no need use that machine. I saw the machine Sandhurst and I was very impressed.

As it was my first time, I had an indoor training session and I was very pleased with what I achieved. I had lots of shanks [mis-hits] but very good feeling when you hit the sweet spot of the ball. Being a sport nut, I miss cricket, footy, running (well any sport) after my stroke and I miss of social aspect of sports also - including golf. I was average with golf - not a hack - but I never competed in competition golf - only social golf with my friends.

Christian Hamilton [the instructor] was excellent with lot of tips and advice, and I hope returning next month. My session was inside but I am confident that I will not long for a chance to play outside. Sandhurst has a magnificent golf course, and I look forward to trying out my news skills. I was always dreaming about hit a hole-in-one my life-time... and possibility now??? Can't hurt to try... David Schwartz completed the hole-in-one last year and the reaction was priceless (video). Aim high!!

Are you interested in trying golf? Search the website ( and navigate 'come & try golf clinics'. Catered NSW, VIC, WA, ACT, QLD.

Amazing idea. Thank you James and Christian for giving me the opportunity.



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