Special Olympics: Golfing success for GB

Team GB golfers enjoyed success at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles

Special Olympics: Team GB
Special Olympics: Team GB
(Image credit: Fergus Bisset)

The members of The Special Olympics Great Britain Golf Team had a fantastic week in The Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, picking up a gold and two bronze medals.

In the July issue of Golf Monthly we profiled the four members of the GB Special Olympics Golf team, as they prepared to head out to Los Angeles for the World Games. The event was a resounding success and the lads are back in the UK with a gold and two bronze medals to show for their efforts.

Both 9 hole and 18 hole competitions were held over four rounds on The Harding Course in Griffith Park – with its array of wildlife including rattle snakes, coyote’s and deer.

The course provided very little in terms of shelter from the 90 degree plus temperatures, but was in beautiful condition and each of the four British players has come home with at least two scores that are better than they had ever achieved before.

Below is a round up of the British performances by their coach Jamie McDonald:

Bobbie Wright (18 hole comp) from Special Olympics North West - Gold Medal.  

Bobbie started off with a 106, far better than his average score of around 112. There was a fear that he might have peaked too soon, especially as this score was in “Divisioning” – where all players are assessed & placed in groups of equal ability. Not a bit of it - Bobbie just kept improving each round, finishing with a 93. It was a great effort, rewarded with a great result.

Alistair Robertson (18 hole comp) – Special Olympics Scotland West - Bronze Medal.  

Alistair also sprinted out of the traps and just kept going. His second round of 82 bettered his best ever previous round by 12 shots and was followed by rounds of 86 and 90. A smile, wide as the Clyde, showed what it meant to him to pick up his Bronze.

This young man has really matured on this trip, making the most of his opportunity to shine.

David Alexander (18 hole comp) – Special Olympics Tayside – Bronze Medal.     

David was Mr Consistent - Four rounds under his previous best. A couple of slips on the final day, saw David drop from 1st to 3rd and a Bronze medal to go along with his Gold from the last World Games in Athens.

David's experience at this level of golf helped the other golfers and he proved that he is a real team player.

George Brunt (9 hole comp) – Special Olympics West Midlands – 6th place ribbon.    

Like the other three, George absolutely flew along for the first two days – beating his best ever score by a considerable number of shots. Great scoring, fantastic as it was, dropped George into a division way above his projected slot.

By the fourth round, the heat and the time it was taking to play nine holes got to George a little. The tank might have been empty but he still gave it his all. On the course and in and around the clubhouse, everybody knew and loved George. He’s an absolute gem of a lad.

On the Team in general: I had hoped they would do themselves proud and not be overcome by the surroundings or the enormity of the occasion. They certainly never let me down, surpassing my wildest expectations.

In closing, I would also like to thank my Assistant Coach Robert Wright from Special Olympics North West and give a special mention to our four American caddies, who integrated so well with us and helped the lads to these fantastic scores. Their reading of the greens and the confidence they helped to instil in our players meant that putts were being dropped from all over the place.

Putting drills video:

Well done to all the Special Olympics golfers from Golf Monthly!

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?