The LET is supporting ISPS Handa 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 2012. This blog is from Tony Lloyd, who suffers from Phocomelia. Find here what he has been doing since his last blog from March:
"I’ve managed to pack a lot into the last couple of months. After that wonderful day at Celtic Manor for the ISPS Handa Wales Open Sponsors Day, it has literally been go, go, go!
The fun started with a trip to The Berkshire Golf Club on 22nd April. Rich in heritage and home to two of the top 100 courses in the UK, The Berkshire just oozed class. I was there to take part in the Douglas Bader Foundation’s 30th Anniversary golf day. The members from BALASA were representing the DBF team in a match against the ON Course Foundation, a team made up of injured servicemen who have found a new focus in golf.
It is a beautifully mature course with a unique set up of 6 Par 3’s, 6 Par 4’s and 6 Par 5’s. Obviously it suited my team as we managed to accumulate 88 points and won! I was a little star struck at the presentation as we were handed our prizes by golfer and all round legend Bruce Forsythe.
The weekend of the 26th – 28th April saw me hitting the road to France again with my friend and Disabled Golf Pro, Andy Gardiner. We were heading to the Aa Golf Club, Saint Omer as part of the Great Britain team to take on our French neighbours. Home of the European Tours Open de Saint Omer, this course is an absolute gem and a real test for golfers of any ability.
General View of 10th hole St Omer GC
After a practice round on Friday, we played Foursomes on day one followed by singles Matchplay on day two. With my playing partner Ian Dixon, we managed a hard earned half in the Foursomes after being two down with only a few holes left to play. Team GB took a 2½ - 1½ lead into day two with 8 points still up for grabs. I wasn’t at my best and lost my match but thankfully my teammates were faring better. Wins from Kevin Cook, Richard Willis and Ian meant it all came down to the last match. It was my road trip buddy Andy who brought it home in style. The Final score, Team GB 6½ - 5½ France.
The winning team, GB with Tony Lloyd (middle)
I played on all three days of the Bank Holiday weekend starting with a trip to Barlaston Golf Club with the Royale Dawley Golf Society on the Saturday. As I won the last competition my society handicap has been cut to just 10 so I knew it would be a test. Barlaston is relatively short but has lots of water and other challenges to keep you on your toes. I was really happy to come in with 31 points and had a nice friendly battle with Wilf Brown all the way around. The tee shot on the Par 5 9th hole is worth the trip alone.
Sunday was Medal day at my home course, Horsehay Village Golf Club. I’d been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks as it was a chance to bring my current form into a game that could see me receive a handicap cut if I played well. On the whole I did play really well but I just struggled on the freshly treated greens. It was a shame as my Nett 73 meant that instead of a cut, I actually went up 0.1 putting me on 14.5 and I was gutted. Next time I play in a competition I will receive 15 shots instead of 14. It may not sound a lot to some but to me, it feels like a step backwards.
Bank Holiday Monday saw me in our clubs single’s Matchplay competition against Alan Hobbs, one of the nicest guys you could wish to play golf with. I played as well as I have been all year tee to green but today the putter was red hot too. Starting par, birdie, par, par was as much of a surprise to me as it was to Alan I think. By the 13th hole the match was over and I was only three over par GROSS, easily my best round of golf in a long time. I won the match and I’m pretty sure I apologised for playing so well.
One of the major competitions at my home club is a two day Strokeplay event we call The Masters. Half the field is cut after day one so a fast start is important. I managed a Nett 67 on day one which saw me in second place overnight but more importantly, I’d made it into day two. Going out last with the leaders was nice and we all played well, each had Nett scores in the 60’s. My round was the one I had been waiting for, the one I knew was coming. I hit a personal best gross 77 which gave me an almost embarrassing Nett 62! I had won my first individual trophy and received a huge cut to my handicap, I’m now off 12.7.
Tony Lloyd with "The Masters" trophy
Finally, I was off to the BALASA Disabled Open at DeVere Belton Woods. With players from all over Europe, this was the biggest competition off the year so far. The good news for me was that I had my caddy with me, my son Taylor.
Tony and his son Taylor (and caddy) at Belton Woods
Without a practice round I was playing the course blind and for the first nine holes it showed. Even though I struck the ball well I didn’t get any luck and struggled with the slow greens. My son gave me a bit of a talking to on the walk from the 9th green to the 10th tee and it did the trick. I shot a level par back nine with 7 Pars, a bogie and a birdie. I finished with a nett level par 73 and leading. Day two saw me finish with a Nett 77 and finishing with a two day score of 4 over par. Only two shots off the lead but it still meant only 4th place in the end.
I was happy enough with 4th as before we started Taylor and I had set a target of a top five finish. Not bad with two less shots on my handicap I don’t think."
Read Tony's first blog here and second blog here