Oct 31st, 2018
Partners back Golf Business International member's social initiative
Corporate partners of Golf Business International have rallied round to assist member Anthony Blackburn's Golf in Society initiative, which works with people suffering from chronic illnesses.
Golf in Society delivers person-centred golf sessions that "stimulate the mind, body and soul of older people looking to improve their health and wellbeing". During each session participants receive three hours of moderate physical exercise, learn new skills and techniques, socialise with new friends, improve their self-esteem and are able to chat about their favourite topics.
The sessions have proved particularly beneficial to those suffering with dementia or Parkinson's disease, and Suffolk-based Textron Golf - which encompasses the Jacobsen, E-Z-GO, Cushman and TFM brands, and which has been manufacturing turf maintenance equipment for nearly 200 years - has agreed to allow the three-hole golf course at its Ipswich site to become a centre of excellence for local Golf in Society sessions.
Andre Andrade, international sales director for Textron Golf, explained: "Few among us will not have experienced a family member or friend suffering with dementia or Parkinson's and, when we learned of the success enjoyed by Anthony's Golf in Society sessions, we were all keen to extend the use of our facility to help sufferers in East Anglia - and, maybe, even beyond.
"Many of these people will have previously played on golf courses maintained by our machinery and this allows us to give something back to both golf and society as a whole."
Blackburn, who joined Golf Business International earlier this year, created Golf in Society after researching the issues of mental health, obesity, loneliness and an ageing population. He realised new ways of improving public health were desperately needed - or the spiralling costs would threaten to bankrupt the public sector.
He discovered how combining the features and benefits of golf with the issues facing society created some compelling partnership opportunities and admits: "It's the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life …"
He added: "Our sessions are helping some of the most physically and mentally challenged people in our communities - such as those suffering with dementia or Parkinson's - to discover how golf can improve their lives.
"We believe that only by creating strong and effective partnerships can we improve the health of our ageing population and I am grateful to Textron Golf and all the other parties I have been able to meet with since joining Golf Business International."
He is now in discussions with a second corporate partner of Golf Business International, Huxley Golf - which specialises in the supply and installation of all-weather golf products - regarding the possibility of installing artificial putting greens at care homes.
Formed originally as the Golf Consultants Association in 1999, Golf Business International, which rebranded in 2017 and is now a ‘preferred partner' of England Golf, is unique in its ability to make available a team of highly respected and experienced golf industry professionals to deal with any aspect of the business of golf through from conception to end.