2019 English Disability Open at Stoke by Nayland is a first for England Golf
40 golfers from across Europe have signed up to play in the 2019 English Disability Open to be staged on the Gainsborough course at Stoke by Nayland over the weekend of 7th and 8th September
The event, which is supported by the R&A and is on the England Golf tournament schedule for the first time this year, has attracted entries from England, Wales, The Netherlands and France, who will compete using the modified rules of golf for players with a disability in gross, handicap or Stableford competitions, depending on their golf handicap.
Spectators are welcome to come and watch the event free of charge at the award-winning family-owned Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf, Spa & Lodges near Colchester on the Suffolk/Essex border. Play will be from 9am until around 3pm each day. It will also be covered by BBC Look East News at 6.30pm on Friday evening.
Among those who have entered are defending champion Mick Horsley (pictured), from Marriott Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, the current male No 1 on the World Ranking for Golfers with a Disability (WR4GD), George Groves, from Horne Park Golf Club in Surrey and Martin Williams from North Hants Golf Club in Hampshire, the same club where Olympic champion and England Golf Ambassador Justin Rose learned to play the game.
2019 also sees four female competitors taking part, including Aimi Bullock, from Woking Golf Club in Surrey and junior golfer Ellie Perks, from Hagley Golf Club in Worcestershire. Recently, Perks received England Golf’s Hero’s Handshake award for the work she does helping other disabled children to play and enjoy the game.
Working with the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA), England Golf now provides an easy process for players to register for their ‘Access’ pass which allows anyone with an impairment to register as a golfer with a disability. The access pass can be a stepping stone to participating in the WR4GD, which features players from Australia, South Africa and across Europe, all managed by the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR)
Jamie Blair, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager for England Golf commented: “It feels like this has been a long time in planning and I can’t wait for us to have this showcase of golfing ability as part of our tournament offering.
Whilst we know there is more work to be done to improve the opportunities for more people, including disabled people to join golf clubs, this event is about providing for an audience of our customers who have not accessed a national championships before and putting it on a parallel with everything else we run.”
“The event will provide points for the WR4GD rankings for those eligible players, whilst also utilising our unique handicap system to allow any player with any disability or impairment to compete and show the quality and character of players we have playing our fantastic game.”
The event is free to spectate with full details of tee times being published on the England Golf website after the 18th August.
EDGA are the global body supporting the development of the game for golfers with a disability, working in partnership with the R&A, USGA and IGF alongside their member bodies of the national golfing federations.
WR4GD was adopted by WAGR from January 2019 following the development and implementation by EDGA since January 2017.