Wheelchair golfer Terry Kirby is set for a first when he takes on the role of men’s captain at Tapton Park Golf Club.
The 63-year-old from Chesterfield will be the club’s first wheelchair golfer to take up the position of captain - and widely recognised to be the first to do so of any club in England.
He was named Tapton vice-captain at last year’s AGM and has since learned the ins and outs of captain life under Peter Bamford ahead of his own start date on February 14th.
And Terry is keen to make golf more accessible for all.
“Golf is for everyone,” he said.
“Tapton is so open and inviting I’ve always felt so welcome there. It really is an honour to take on the men’s captaincy.
“Most courses are accommodating to wheelchair golfers and all the SIV courses in Sheffield have been brilliant in my experiences.”
The date he takes up the post has another significance for Terry.
“It will be 25 years, almost to the day, that I’ve been in a wheelchair,” said Terry, who doctors discovered had a tumour in his spinal chord aged 38.
“I’d been playing golf for 18 months prior to that but it came as a shock and I thought that would be my golf days done.
“Then my physio found a flyer for the Handigolf Foundation. I went to a taster day and four weeks later I was playing in my first competition.
“I’ve never looked back.”
Terry has represented Great Britain in ice sledge hockey and horse driving trials, as well as facilitating his love for golf.
“Since I’ve been in my wheelchair I’ve done things that I’d never have been able to do if I was able-bodied,” he said.
Terry has competed in many golf competitions across Europe and is currently the chairman of Handigolf Foundation.
The foundation is set up to promote the sport and help increase participation.
“Handigolf allows people to play golf in specially designed buggies - buggies that don’t damage the greens,” said Terry.
“We are a charity and we rent the buggies out to players.
“It has sometimes been difficult for wheelchair golfers to get involved at clubs in the past.
“The thought of taking a golf buggy on to a green was abhorrent at a lot of golf clubs. The green was sacrosanct.
“Even now when I’ve been at some golf clubs people have said ‘get that off the green, what are you doing?’
“But when you explain the situation to them they are accepting.
“I’ve never had a problem at Tapton.”
Terry organises a competition every year for able-bodied golfers and disabled golfers to play alongside each other at Tapton.
“We’ve seen a few more members join over the last two years,” he said.
“It’s all about getting the word out there, talking to people and making friends. It’s a great sport and easy to get involved.
“I’ve learned a lot about the running of the club over the last year as vice captain and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.”