Global golf movement for people with disability

HSPer working to increase accessability


Golf is a wonderful sport that can help people with a range of disabilities to thrive. The health, social and competitive benefits can be remarkable, something Paul Ellison has discovered as golf has also helped him to make his living at the Home of Golf no less, in St Andrews, Scotland.



Paul is one of 18 EDGA golfers who are featured in a 2019 book called ‘MULLIGAN – tough love and second chances’. The inspiring stories of these players are sure to be of interest to many readers (see end of article), while for each copy secured by donation, a hospital/clinic also benefits from receiving a free copy.

To set foot on the Old Course, St Andrews, is special for any golfer, but to walk the hallowed turf as a player and caddie more than 5,000 times is a rare privilege which Paul Ellison has both enjoyed, and endured. For when taking over 50 million steps on the course, much of the time each footstep has been painful for this friendly Scot.

Paul is an accomplished golfer, but for the last 30 years his life’s work has been helping players to enjoy their experience of the links. First as a caddie for two decades, with players such as actor Samuel L Jackson benefiting from his sage advice, while more recently – as his disability of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia has progressed – as one of the people who make sure that the players and caddies are all where they are supposed to be, in his working role for the St Andrews Links Trust.

His HSP condition is progressive, and in its mildest form renders those it affects with stiffness and spasticity of the legs. By practising Pilates to lengthen the muscles and tendons, while keeping active, he hopes to slow any progression which would further reduce his mobility.

Golf has given Paul a gift and he believes the sport is missing an enormous opportunity as it is an ideal game for players of all abilities. Even having the chance to just hit a few balls at the local range can be therapeutic and a way into golf for many with a disability – a steppingstone into the sport.

In the last year, Paul has been able to help promote the work of EDGA, the international body that helps people with disability to thrive through the power of golf. Paul has represented EDGA at awareness events, including those held with leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM. RSM is supporting EDGA as together they work to encourage 500,000 new players to try the game.

EDGA (formerly the European Disabled Golf Association) is a not-for-profit, volunteer organisation, active in the promotion and delivery of opportunities to sample, participate and compete in golf. EDGA provides advice relating to golf for disabled players to The R&A, The International Golf Federation, The European Tour and The European Golf Association on golf for the disabled.

EDGA was founded in the year 2000 in Wiesbaden and has a membership of 28 National Federations, in 2018 nineteen approved events took place, and in 2019 it’s expected to exceed forty. EDGA’s members are now located worldwide with 25% of the membership from outside of Europe. Recent members include Golf Australia, New Zealand Golf, The Indian Golf Union, The Costa Rica Golf Association, The Argentina Golf Association, Golf South Africa, The Israeli Golf Association and The Lebanese Golf Federation.

Focusing on growing the game, EDGA has designed and implemented coach education programmes for delivery in rehabilitation centres, hospitals and golf clubs. All of these initiatives are available to the members of EDGA, as are protocols for tournament administration, definitions of impairment and other programmes which are available to grow the number of golfers with disability around the world.

“live life to the full through playing golf”

EDGA has worked to develop key partnerships with some of the worlds top names in golf and we continue to work to grow these relationships.

Learn all about EDGA here:

Find GolfAustralia information here:

Visit for details of the Give and Gift campaign, and the opportunity to donate and receive a complimentary copy of ‘MULLIGAN – tough love and second chances’ as a token of EDGA’s appreciation.

How to Contact Paul Ellison

Facebook: Paul.Ellison.967
Twitter: Paul Ellison 20


SOURCE: Portugal Resident, 5 December 2019

Paul Ellison – every step he takes

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