JIM Gales from Springfield flew out to the US this week to compete in the World Match Play Championship for blind and vision impaired people int Wadsworth, Ohio, at the invitation of the American Blind Golf Association.
The Ohio tournament is the best event of its type in the world, and players will be competing for the McCulloch Memorial Cup, named in honour of Denny McCulloch, a visually impaired golfer from Canada who lost his battle with cancer in 2006, and pits the top visually impaired golfers from the US, Canada and Scotland.
Hosted by the Rittman Lions and supported by many, including Titleist, the event is being held at Barberton Brookside Golf Course in Wadsworth.
As well as from showcasing the talents of the golfers, it raises money for sight-related causes, particularly adaptive technology scholarships for those who are unable to see and need such assistance for school or work and donates money raised to the Foundation Fighting Blindness
Jim said: “The best blind golfers in the world will be travelling to Ohio for this unique match play event and the competition will be keenly fought.
“It’s also nice to know that by entering the event we are not just turning up for yet another week’s golf, we are raising monies to help other blind related charities and people.”
Jim (47) began losing his eyesight when he was in primary school to Retinitis Pigmentosa, or night blindness, which began a slow deterioration, and eventually stole his sight.
Still, it hasn’t held him back; this will be Jim’s 52nd international event, which includes many World and Open Championships.
He has previously won the Scottish, British and Canadian Open titles and Scottish Order of Merit Championship, and has competed in countries including Canada, the USA, Japan and Australia.
Of course, those who have lost their sight are unable to golf alone.
Jim’s sighted guide is Paul Shepherd from Tayport, a past captain of St Michaels Golf Club.
Paul (57) does everything from correcting Jim’s stance to holding back information, like how far he is from bunkers or trees.