The LET is supporting ISPS Handa and disabled golf and will be following the progression of some of the players who participated in the Pro Am and clinics at the ISPS Handa Ladies British Masters.
This week, we meet Andrew Skinner, who describes himself as "an amputee with attitude" and was born in London in 1970. His life changed when he had a motorbike accident in 2001 and then had his leg amputated above the knee in 2006 due to an infection. But, this event, instead of stopping him from doing things, it gave him even more strenght to overcome this adversity on his life.
He continued to practise several sports with great success. Andrew was voted Disabled Athlete of the year in 2010.
He played Sitting Volleyball for Great Britain for six years up to the Paralympics in August, but unfortunately, wasn't selected for the team.
He explained how he started to play golf in summer 2012:
"I started playing golf whilst at Roehampton University, where I was based with the GB squad. On our rest days, we would go down to the driving range at Richmond Park Golf club and hit a few balls. It was very amusing as none of us could play much to the amusement of the old folks who watched on. Then someone took a photo of me and Craig Thomas of The Golf Academy saw it and invited me to the Handa Pro-Am at the Buckinghamshire. So having never played golf properly before, I found myself paired up with Felicity Johnson. Well it was a hot day and we eventually got round after five and a half hours… I lost count of how many shots I played and I'm sure Flic was pretty mad, but she was so patient, bless her."
After his experience at the ISPS Handa Pro-Am, Andrew started to practice more frequently: "I got bitten by the golf bug, as soon as I got home, I joined my local club (Thorpe Park Golf Club), and then went almost every day. I wrote to Ping who are just down the road from me, and they very kindly supplied me with a bag and a G20 driver. I now practice three times a week, and my handicap is down to 16."
When asked about his goals, he explains how he is looking towards the 2013 DBO (Disabled British Open): "I now have a coach, her name is Becky Lynes ( @beckylynes ) and she is a PGA assistant pro at my local club. I chose Becky as I play more of a ladies game due to my disability. I'm hoping to play in a few European competitions next year and hope to get some sponsors on board. My aim is to still be playing in 2020 when hopefully golf will be in the Paralympics. In the mean time, I'm looking for sponsors so I can continue to get better and play in the European order of merit, and bring disability golf to others like myself.”
Andrew’s achievements also include climbing, cycling and photography: "In 2010 I climbed Kilimanjaro and cycled from London to Paris in 2011. I'm going back to Kilimanjaro next year to climb a different route and I have also done some modelling as well for a German prosthetic firm,” he said. Andrew has a photography studio in Lincoln, UK. He normally shoots weddings and portraits.
We will continue to chart Andrew's progress in the game with the help of ISPS Handa.
If anybody would like to help Andrew or follow him: click here to his blog and his Twitter account @skinnns