A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody! I hope you managed some quality downtime over the break and are ready for a bigger and better 2014!
It has been a mad couple of months with Sarah’s family in town over the festive period, Australia going golfing crazy at the end of the year and good progress for Empower Golf Australia. The only downsides were a long bout of cellulitis and limited time for quality exercise and rehabilitation.
In the lead up to the Australian Open at Royal Sydney Golf Club, Adam Scott (currently number 2 in the world) managed to win the Australian Masters, the Australian PGA and came third in the World Cup of golf. So you can imagine the hype as I made my way over to him in the car park of Royal Sydney on the morning of the Pro-am to discuss whether he would like to be involved with Empower Golf.
Within the hour I was talking with him on the driving range and admiring how consistently perfectly he was striking the ball and what a humble young gentleman he is. Hopefully, his foundation will come on board with my initiative in due course.
I spent the best part of the next 5 days networking in the Paragolfer and enjoying the golf. I even managed pole position on the clubhouse terrace looking straight down the 18th fairway as Rory McIroy snatched victory from Adam on the final hole.
The net result has been numerous golfing contacts (from players to potential investors), a radio interview and feature article in Golf Australia Magazine (February edition out this week – two of the photos from the shoot below) and most excitingly securing my first significant financial supporter for Empower Golf.
The website was also recently launched (www.empowergolf.com.au) and very shortly we should have a fully registered charity so we can begin facilitating golf for those less able and growing the disabled game.
Like anyone who endeavours to facilitate change and pioneer innovation, the emotional rollercoaster is sometimes difficult to ride with doubters and cynics around every bend. That said, if you stay committed to your beliefs and passion you will ultimately identify those who share a similar sentiment and support your initiative.
I know this is just the beginning but I feel immensely proud and ecstatic for reaching this turning point. It is incredible so much of the hard work is finally paying off.
Let me put you in the picture as to why I am doing this. Recently, I met Noel an inspirational 70-year-old man who broke his back 6 months ago. In retirement he had been playing 3 rounds a week and his whole social network was built around his Saturday round and bantering with his mates. Our initial aim, as he was just out of hospital, was to try him in the Paragolfer in the upright position and simply controlling the device so that he might be able to drive around and enjoy the interaction. Amazingly, because of his tenacity, we had him standing up and hitting balls within half an hour. After believing his golfing days were well and truly over he and his wife were literally crying with happiness. So was I. It was awesome to see.
There are stories like this just waiting to be told across Australia.
As I mentioned above we had an extra special Christmas this year as Sarah’s parents and brother joined us over the festive period. We were lucky enough to have about ten days relaxing down the coast with some fun filled days in Sydney either side.
We were even blessed that the two families seemed to get along famously amongst the variety of characters in each clan. Hopefully we can lure them out again in the not too distant future. They are a good looking bunch don’t you think…….
Not to end on the wrong foot, but unfortunately since the week before Christmas I have been fighting cellulitis in my right ankle. I understand that normally this type of infection can be quite painful however, given my lack of sensation, I have been quite lucky. There has to be some upside to an injury like this. No doubt I am in the final stages of recovery and will be back into my walking and exercise regime in no time, thankfully, because most of the Christmas pudding is still sitting around my waist.
Till we meet again!