The positive impact of golf - Owen's story10 year old Owen from Staffordshire had a difficult start in life. At the age of 3 he needed surgery for a hole in his heart and was later diagnosed with speech and learning difficulties, but this has not stopped him developing a passion for golf.
When Owen started school he was unable to speak, but with the help of a speech therapist and support of his teachers at Ellison Primary Academy he overcame this problem. Owen’s heart condition means he remains under the care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. He has a small leak in one of his heart valves, and his rib cage is wired together inside his chest since his operation.
What is remarkable about Owen, is that none of his health difficulties stop him from getting involved in sport. Although he has to be careful to avoid injuring his chest, he continues to join in after school football sessions with his friends. He has also played cricket and tennis, but it is golf that has become his passion.
Owen first tried golf when PGA Professional Eddie Tittensor, from Onneley GC ran 6 weeks of golf coaching at his school. The pupils who took part were then invited to join a taster session back at the golf club. (Eddie has worked with Ellison Primary Academy for a number of years introducing pupils to golf and supported the school’s construction of an on-site putting green. (This was part-funded by an HSBC Golf Roots Plus grant in 2018.) The school even has its own golf team which Owen is proudly part of; he helped his school achieve second place in 2 local competitions.
After his introduction to golf at school, Owen began attending Eddie’s weekend Junior Golf Passport sessions at Onneley GC. He has played in club and school golf competitions, winning many medals and trophies. And in 2017 he was awarded a Golf Foundation Skills for Life trophy for being the ‘most improved player.’ Owen attends coaching at Onneley GC every Saturday and has made friends with other juniors. He loves golf so much that if Eddie is on holiday he asks his Mum to take him to Keele Driving Range to practice.
Three years since first picking up a golf club in school, Owen has become a member of Onneley GC. He now has his own set of golf clubs, a golf bag and trolley. Owen’s Mother Julie, believes golf has had a positive impact on her son:
‘Golf has brought Owen on leaps and bounds, it has helped him physically and mentally. Walking round the course helps his fitness, and hitting a golf ball is improving his upper body strength. He has grown in confidence, improved his social skills and mixes well with other children. We are so proud of his progress.’