The first time Daniel played golf was around sixteen years ago, aged seven or eight. He’s now 24, and his love of golf is as strong as ever. He’s been coming to Power2Inspire’s Festivals of Inclusive Golf since they were created five years ago, and I caught up with him and his mother to find out why he keeps coming back, and what he loves about golf.

Daniel has Downs Syndrome, and while he gets good support from his school, he rarely gets to participate in inclusive events, playing or working alongside both able-bodied and disabled people. Power2Inspire and the FiGs are particularly special for Daniel because they provide connection, enabling him to see old friends and to make new ones while playing his favourite game.

Daniel taught himself to play golf by watching and copying others, learning basic putting and driving skills. He and his dad, Richard, then began practicing on the golf course together.

For Daniel, it’s playing with other people or in a team that makes golf so enjoyable. At P2I’s FiGs you play in teams, with at least one disabled person in each team. Texas Scramble rules mean everyone plays their own shot from the same point, and the best shot is then the position everyone uses to take their next shot. This is particularly good for golf, as everyone in the team is equally valued, and they all have different skills.

 

For someone like Daniel, it enables him to play on an equal footing with everyone else, and his skills on the green were definitely needed when playing with new deputy CEO Alex Laybourne at November’s FiG. Daniel described playing together with Alex as “really cool”, as he got to know a new friend, and said that together “we made up a good team.”

Power2Inspire has also opened doors for Daniel: a couple of years ago, he met a professional golf coach who gave him some lessons; last year, getting to the FiG a bit early, a couple of professional golfers also playing at Cambridge Lakes Golf Course gave Daniel a lesson on the putting green.

A big double thumbs up was given when I asked what Daniel thought of Power2Inspire. Daniel finds John really inspiring and likes seeing him at the FiGs. Daniel’s confidence and self-belief has grown, according to his mother, Anne. “Inclusive events like the FiG help him to feel he is also valued and has something to contribute to the wider community.”

If you’re now inspired for Inclusive Sport then do join us at our next big event:

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Anna Willis

Freelance journalist and story teller; on Twitter @annawillis101