Through Sight Life’s Big Lottery Funded project, New Places, New Experiences, we’ve been able to help lots of people to get more active and take part in sport and leisure activities. This is how we helped Howell to get back in the swing!
Howell came to us last year as he wanted to get more active again. We supported him to start using the gym and toning suite in Llanishen Leisure Centre which is close to where he lives. His wife, Leonor, used to go with him as a guide. The staff at the leisure centre were very welcoming and helpful, and Howell enjoyed his sessions there. Obviously he has not been for a while due to lockdown, though he hopes to return soon.
Last year, Howell also mentioned that he would like to try playing golf again. He used to play before losing his sight but was a bit nervous about starting again. He was reluctant to turn up at a golf course, explain about his sight loss and ask for support. We contacted the British VI Golf Society who put us in touch with a golf professional at the Vale Resort who had taken a training course on teaching visually impaired people to play golf.
Howell and his lovely wife went along to the Vale Resort with Val Baynton from Sight Life last summer. They had a lovely morning using the nets. Howell was given advice on his golf stroke and how his current sight levels would affect his positioning and technique. This helped him to be more aware of the type of support he would need to play golf again – and what to ask a local club for when thinking of joining.
RNIB set up an all Wales phone group this summer to chat about golf. It meets on the first Tuesday of every month. Ian Runcie, an ex- professional golfer who himself now has sight loss, facilitates the group. Howell had some long chats with him about starting golf again more regularly and joining his local club, Llanishen Golf Club.
Ian and Jane from Sight Life contacted Llanishen Golf Club to introduce Howell. The manager, Martin Stevens, was really welcoming and encouraging. Howell went for a visit on 23 September and had a lesson booked with the professional, Adrian Jones. Unfortunately, Storm Alex was not conducive to an enjoyable first lesson, so Howell has re-arranged his visit! We’ll let you know how he gets on when he does manage to get back in the swing!