By Colin MacGillivray
PARTICIPANTS of Seymour-based disability support service Goulburn Options were all smiles as they took part in the first session of what Broadford Golf Club organisers hope will be an annual program.
The club, with the support of Goulburn Options and other community groups, kicked off the first Broadford Adaptability Golf Program (BAG) on Friday with a skills session and sausage sizzle.
The club also unveiled a new $15,000 four-seat golf cart donated by Bendigo Bank as part of the program launch.
PGA professional Nathan Roberts took participants through golf skills stations, and police and CFA members also attended the event.
Broadford Golf Club secretary Cherie Spencer said organisers hoped to make the program an annual event for people with disabilities across the region.
“It’s something we’ve done off our own bat. I saw a program last year that showed how people with mental and physical disabilities were able to go and play golf and how it changed their lives. The idea came from that,” she said.
“To be honest I thought we’d only get a couple of people, but the support has been absolutely amazing. Goulburn Options have supported it and really helped us out.”
Ms Spencer said NorCen Financial Services, which operates Bendigo Bank branches in Broadford, Wallan and Kilmore, had been another supporter of the program.
“We asked Bendigo Bank for $2000 for advertising and all of a sudden they told us they wanted to donate a brand-new $15,000 golf buggy for us to use,” she said.
“It’s a win-win for the club because the participants in the program can use it and visitors to the club can hire it out as well.”
Goulburn Options vocational skills coordinator Hayden Saunders said it was a fantastic way for the group’s participants to enjoy themselves.
“Golf can cover so many things – exercise, walking, hand-eye coordination, patience. Everything comes into golf,” he said.
“Being outdoors and getting to do those things, especially after the year we had last year, is what some of our guys need I think.
“We’ve got 19 participants of all abilities and aged from anywhere between about 20 to 45.”
NorCen director Terry Dobson said Bendigo Bank was thrilled to be able to support a worthwhile community event.
“I thought we could do things in a different way. The bank provides to our local community – Broadford, Wallan and Kilmore – about $300,000 a year in funding to help organisations like this,” he said.
“We thought rather than giving money for advertising, let’s give something that [the club] can use and put back into the business to make it more profitable so people come back time and time again, and we thought, what about a golf cart?
“The most important thing is that the bank allows this to happen. It’s the community’s bank and the community makes it work, so I want to say a big thank you to everyone for supporting the bank.”
The program will operate fortnightly for six weeks, and Ms Spencer said there were already plans to make it bigger and better next year.
“We want to expand it more, and we think once people hear about this it will expand,” she said.
“We’re so happy the golf club can host this, because it’s a fantastic venue and it should be utilised more.”