Pictured above from left to right: Stephen Eaton, David McNaught, Marayke Jonkers, James Gribble, Darron Shields, Paul Carson, Ben Tullipan.
THE 2015 Queensland Amputee Golf Open teed off at Noosa Springs Golf and Spa Resort on the weekend of the 30th – 31st May, attracting a field of 60 amputee golfers from all over Australia.
The competitors fought for the Queensland title in five categories; below knee, above the knee, below elbow, above the elbow and multi-category.
Queensland Amputee Golf Association (QAGA) president and last year’s champion Ben Tullipan said it’s the biggest golf event for amputees in Australia. “We’ve got golfers playing off handicaps ranging from +1 to 36,” Ben said.
Pictured above: Ben Tullipan.
Ben lost both legs and suffered 63 per cent burns in the 2002 Bali bombings, was given a five per cent chance of survival.
He was the most severely injured Australian and the person closest to the bomb blast, but Ben is now a golfer after turning to the sport to aid his rehabilitation.
Pictured above: Darron Shields.
This year’s champion was Ray Piper who is a below-knee amputee after an injury from the Vietnam War.
Ray, who is also the secretary of the Queensland Amputee Golf Association, played with a handicap of 7.
Players were able to use the $40,000 Paragolfer, a golf buggy, wheelchair and swing support system in one that allows users to swing a golf club unimpeded from a supported standing position and to travel around the course.
Pictured above: James Gribble.
Tullipan said Empower Golf Australia was looking to place a Paragolfer at a Sunshine Coast Golf Club. The charity will train the chosen club’s golf pro on how to conduct lessons using the purpose-designed wheelchair. “Empower Golf will handle all the promotion and the elected club will be endorsed by Golf Australia as a disabled-friendly golf course,” Tullipan said. “We’re also seeking to work with other Sunshine Coast golf courses to co-fund Paragolfers and run disabled initiatives.”
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