The 2014 ISPS HANDA International Blind Golf World Championships were held at the Nelson Bay Golf Club in New South Wales on 15 & 16 May 2014. This event was preceded by the 2014 ISPS HANDA Australian Blind Golf Open Championships.
Both events were net events with trophies being awarded to the gross and net winners and runners-up in each of the three sight categories.
Malcolm Elliott (B2 – 45 handicap) from Western Australia with Neville Walker as his caddie won the ISPS Handa World Championship with a 36-hole net score of 150. Malcolm was leading by one stroke from Englishman Paul Appleyard (B3 – 14 handicap) after an impressive first round score of net 71 on the par 72 course. On day two Malcolm held his great form to come home with a net 79 to win the title by three strokes over Paul Appleyard.
Zohar Sharon from Israel won the B1 title, while Malcolm and Paul won the B2 and B3 titles respectively. Jenny McCallum (B2 – 34 handicap) from Western Australia with her husband Ian won the Ladies title with net scores of 84 and 79.
An international stableford competition was held on the final two days for those players who did not qualify for the world championships. The event was won by Kerry Vidler from New South Wales with his wife Sue as his caddie.
Winner of the ISPS HANDA Australian Open was Kris Adams (B2 – 39 handicap) from Scotland with his caddie Ken Mackenzie on a net 36-hole score of 162. Kris was equal leader with Paul Appleyard, and local Kerry Vidler from New South Wales, on net 73s after the first round. Paul Appleyard played solid golf in the second round to be runner-up.
Brian McLeod from Canada won the B1 net title and Kris Adam and Paul Appleyard took out the B2 and B3 titles. Jenny McCallum won the Ladies title with net scores of 82 and 77.
A field of 49 players including 7 women took part in the World Championships representing Australia, Canada, England, Japan, Rep. of Korea, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Scotland, South Africa, The Netherlands and the USA. Australia had 26 entrants while there were 5 from Canada, and Japan and England each had 4. 52 players including 9 women participated in the Australian Open.
Full praise goes to the organising committee and the Nelson Bay Golf Club committee for supporting and hosting the events. Praise also goes to the huge number of volunteers who became involved in the events as scorers, spotters, and arranging golf bags and golf carts and lunches etc.
The next Blind Golf World Championships will be held in Japan in 2016.
Blind golf has 3 sight categories; B1, B2 and B3 depending on how much sight a player has. B1 players are totally blind.
Anyone wishing to learn more about either playing blind golf or caddying for a blind golfer may contact Gary McInnes on 0417 055 731. They may also go to the Blind Golf Australia website www.blindgolf.com.au or see www.internationalblindgolf.com