This week, (23-30 September) is International Week for Deaf People – an annual celebration by the global deaf community. Each year, communities around the world come together to commemorate the first World Deaf Congress and raise awareness of hearing loss, sign language and language diversity. Today, to mark International Week for Deaf People, deaf golfer Martin Anderson, tells us about his experiences of being active and why he likes being out on the golf course.
Hi, my name is Martin I’m 33 years old and I live in Derby. I am a golfer and I am also deaf. I have bilateral hearing loss.
I would class myself as a regular golf player. I play 3-5 times a week during the summer and then have a 2-3 month break through the winter when the weather isn’t great. I am a member of Horsley Lodge Golf Club and have played for the England Deaf Golf team for 15 years.
I started playing golf, football and cricket as a youngster from the age of 10 but found it difficult to communicate with hearing players, particularly when I was on the football pitch. At the age of around 15, I opted for golf with the occasional cricket as it is more of an individual sport and I have been playing ever since.
Golf is great for both my physical and mental health. I love being outdoors on the golf course and the fact that I can play at my own pace. For every round of golf I play, I usually walk around four miles. It challenges me mentally too, playing conditions are rarely ever the same so every shot is different and requires a fresh perspective each time.
Golf makes me feel good, even when I’m having a bad round because I know I will be back out on the course the next day looking to improve.
I have enjoyed quite a few successes in golf over the years, including top 3 medal winners in the team event at the World Deaf Golf Championships and being overall Team winners at the European Deaf Golf Championships twice. We have been the only Nation to date to have successfully defended the title. I have been England Deaf Golf Open Champion five times and I was the first Englishman to win the Scottish Deaf Golf Open in Troon earlier this year. I was Club Champion at my previous club and once held a course record with -5.
2018 has been a good season for me so far, I was part of the England team that secured a top three team finish at the World Deaf Golf Championships in Ireland. I also won the Par 3 Challenge in the Links Golf Cup in Ayrshire, Scotland earlier this month. I now have a winter programme with a Coach from Wolverhampton (Craig Thomas), who is helping me to get ready to tackle 2019 with the aim of success at the World Deaf Golf Championships in 2020 and potentially the 2021 Deaflympics Games. Craig has various experience in how to coach players with accessibility requirements such as amputees as well as blind golfers.
Golf is a great sport, it’s a fun, relaxing way to enjoy fitness. The National Body for Deaf Golf, England Deaf Golf, is always encouraging new players to come along to their events. They provide information for local clubs and societies in British Sign Language and English, so they can help encourage more people to take up the sport.