Organisation has pledged support to further 200 injured, wounded and sick service personnel
England Golf and the On Course Foundation have announced a partnership to introduce more injured, wounded and sick service personnel and veterans to golf.
The foundation aims to transform lives through golf, by teaching skills which restore confidence and promote recovery, and by creating work experience and employment opportunities. Currently, it has over 450 beneficiaries, proudly referred to as their members, and hopes to reach many more.
Now, with the support of England Golf, the foundation aims to introduce a further 200 injured, wounded and sick service personnel and veterans to golf by April 2017, whilst also creating 45 work experience placements in the golf industry and finding employment in the golf industry for 20 of its members. It also aims to introduce 40 women to the game Jamie Blair, England Golf’s Disability Manager, said: “England Golf is working intensively to encourage more disabled people to get into golf and to become club members, and we welcome this opportunity to work in partnership with On Course Foundation.
“Golf can play a very important role in the recovery of Service personnel and veterans and we are delighted to help to spread this message and to involve them in the sport and all it has to offer.”
Steve Holt, the managing director of the On Course Foundation, echoed Jamie’s those remarks.
“With many of our members lacking self-belief, it’s our aim to help them realise their potential both on and off the golf course,” said Holt. “The golf industry provides the perfect environment for many members to transfer the skills that they have developed at our events, and ultimately allows them to find a fulfilling career.
“England Golf is a fantastic partner for us, a perfect natural fit to help us spread awareness of our cause and jointly grow the game. We’re absolutely delighted to partner alongside them and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
The On Course Foundation was established in July 2010 following a visit by its founder, John Simpson, to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court a year earlier.
Simpson, who lost a leg to polio as a child, has played golf to a high standard since he was 15 and has built a successful career for himself in the golf industry, having managed the likes of Sir Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Greg Norman during a stint with IMG.
During his first visit to Headley Court, Simpson realised that there were opportunities golf – both as a sport and an industry – could provide for its sick service personnel that others could not.
An initial pilot golf skills scheme took place in September 2009 and its success spurred on Simpson to create a dedicated charitable organisation that would offer injured servicemen, women and veterans the opportunity to participate in golf on a level playing field with everyone else, either as a player or through employment.
Endorsed by the R&A and by the Duke of York and Arnold Palmer as patrons, the OCF has enjoyed great success in getting its members back into work, whilst, on the golf course, it has proven to be just as big a hit. The Simpson Cup, named after John, takes place every year and is contested by teams of 12 OCF members from Great Britain and America.
The Ryder Cup-style event began in 2012, with this year’s match taking place at Royal St George’s in September.