‘Blind’ putting contest offers unique insight
Golfers had a chance to find out what it would be like to play their favourite sport if they had to live with severe sight loss when Dorset Blind Association hosted a putting contest with a difference at Ferndown Golf Course.
The ‘blind’ putting competition was part of a golf day organised by Renaissance Business Networking in aid of Julia’s House, Hope FM and Dorset Blind Association. Pairs of golfers took part in the six-hole putting mini-tournament, playing three holes without visual impairment and three holes wearing simi-specs to simulate age-related macular degeneration, which affects the central vision, forcing the golfers to use only their peripheral vision to putt..
“The idea was to bring home to people just how much they take their sight for granted,” says John Andrews, chair of trustees at Dorset Blind Association, which helps up to 1,000 blind or partially sighted people in Dorset each month.
“The simi-specs can be set up to simulate a range of impairments, but we worked with the golf pro at Ferndown to choose a setting that made life difficult but not impossible so the golfers had to adjust the way they stood in order to see the hole clearly and then again to see the ball at their feet.”
Prizes were awarded to golfers for the best overall score and the best showing with simi-specs. Having had a brief, but disconcerting taste of life without their usual sight, the golfers were able to try simi-specs simulating a range of other severe conditions.
“It was very difficult to putt wearing the simi specs. I certainly had to concentrate more,” says Andy Pedrick of Jurassic Jaunts. “I had no idea what it would be like. It certainly makes you think about how much we take for granted and gives you a new respect for those who live with sight loss.”
:: Dorset Blind Association works to help people with sight loss of all ages across Dorset. The charity receives no state funding so if you would like to help it please contact 01202 712869 or visit www.dorsetblind.org.uk or send a donation to 17 Bournemouth Road, Lower Parkstone, Poole BH14 0EF.