LET is supporting ISPS Handa & Disabled golf. ISPS, one of our main sponsors, has fostered partnerships with Ladies European Tour among others golf governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level and promote blind and disabled golf.
Over the coming months, we will be following the progression of some pupils from The Golf Academy that we met during ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters. This one is the first story and it will be about 15-year-old Nathan Hill, from Lichfield.
We met Nathan and his grandfather John Sanders at the ISPS Handa British Masters this year. Nathan started to play golf in January and he is now a new pupil of Craig Thomas, director of The Golf Academy: "He attended 2 hour group lessons for disabled children/siblings which are funded by our council following a successful grant application by The Golf Academy. He has been practicing since the beginning and had received more than 60 hours lessons. Nathan now continues to attend this group lesson and since being accepted as a member of the England and Wales blind golf association in September, they have offered to fund some Private 1:1 sessions which the Golf Academy have been using to introduce Nathan to the course"
According to Craig Thomas, his teacher:"The next step is to help Nathan to become a member of a golf club and to help him to get a handicap so that next year he will be able to play in Junior competitions."
But before starting playing golf he has been very busy playing many different sports including Horse Riding. He loves music and also plays the piano.
The Ladies European Tour have been in touch with his grandfather John Sanders, who takes care of Nathan and this is what he told us about him, so we could know Nathan a little better. Life has been tough for both of them, but through all the problems they have faced, their strenght and smiling faces are beyond impressive.
"Nathan came into the world on 4th July 1997, North Staffs hospital weighing only 1lb prematurely born. Things didn't look good for Nathan, but being a little battler he pulled through after months in the incubator. Nathan’s mum Kirsty was dieabetic and didn’t have the best of health. She passed away when he was 2 years of age. Eventually they came home and lived with us (John and his partner Isobel, who is Kirsty's mum and Nathan's grandma). As time progressed Nath got stronger, but unfortunately they said he was blind and they also said he may be deaf. This proved to be wrong though.
Then, sadly, his grandma Isobel passed away in 2006 and this left Nathan and myself to carry on... He was badly affected by this but as time went by things got better and he started doing other things, horse riding in school as well as swimming. Also they took him to the Snow Dome were he learnt to ski. So we went on a school trip to Italy, where he amazed everyone by his ability to ski.
Nath has always loved music and played the keyboard from an early age, with the ability of playing by ear.
If he likes something he will work it out for himself. His favouite music is Queen (big fan) and he’s also tried sailing, rock climbing, boating, zip wire, cycling, loves theme park rides, has his own quad bike with a 2way walkie talkie so I can guide him around the field. In fact Nath will try anything. Early this year he got tired of horse riding simply because all he was doing was going round and round the arena, so then came the opportunity to try golf for a six lesson course. This was to be with Craig of the Golf Academy who must have spotted Nathan’s ability as a possible blind golfer. Nathan wanted to carry on golf instead of the horse riding and has been with Craig ever since who I must say has achieved a lot with Nathan...."
We will continue to chart Nathan's progress in the game with the help of ISPS Handa.