Handigolf: a sport for all...

  • © Atout France/Michel Angot

Handigolf: a sport for all... France fr

Blind, paraplegic, with a partner or alone...disabled persons are given every facility to play golf thanks to an active association and about 20 dedicated schools welcoming young people in particular...

Created some 12 years ago by two disabled persons who fell in love with the game, the Fédération française de Handigolf today unites some 200 registered members (the annual subscription is €43). It plays a driving role in Europe with 11 partner countries and top-level tournaments. It is also the driving force behind a network of about 20 courses in France, which have helped to develop a handigolf school. This means that golfers can learn how to swing a club and improve their skills on a driving range: handigolf schools loan out equipment and provide lessons free of charge in return for an annual subscription of €25.

Gilles Morel, secretary of Fédération Handigolf, says more: “Another great advantage is that there is no need for a partner to play with, so there is a great new feeling of freedom, your only opponent is the course. People can also play concurrently with (non-handicapped people) and so enjoy the same game amongst friends; golf is a leisure sport, there is no partitioning.

The Fédération organizes an Open de France handigolf and has often had considerable success in the European Championship. (Stéphane Oudet, for example, has been among the winners twice). And the top talents from handigolf can compete with the top non-handicapped golfers in open tournaments. Better still, a recent and very proficient Handigolf player (Manuel de Los Santos) is aiming to shortly join the European professional tour. Quite a challenge!

 

The career of Manuel de Los Santos

This young French golfer, originally from the Dominican Republic, was destined for a career as a professional baseball player in a major American club before he lost a leg in a motorcycle accident. He and his French wife settled in Paris and he quickly moved over to Handigolf, in which he already has an amazing record. At just 22 years old, no challenge is too tough...