Surrey golfer Aimi Bullock is showing that she won’t let disability get in the way of playing the game – and she’s hoping her story will encourage more people to take up and enjoy the sport.
Aimi, who has multiple sclerosis, is one of five English golfers who are sharing their experiences following the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which shone a spotlight on disability sport. However, many disabled people still find it difficult to get involved with sports and physical activity.
The English Federation of Disability Sport set out to encourage disabled people to be more active through its recent campaign ‘Together We Will’, and England Golf, the governing body for amateur golf, is working with clubs and counties across the country to help and encourage more people with disabilities to play golf.
Aimi Bullock, 43, from Surrey has been an active sportswoman throughout her life.
She was forced to stop playing hockey eight years ago due to a bout of optic neuritis that left her with impaired vision. Unable to play several of her favourite sports as a result, Aimi channelled her energy into golf – a sport she had first played in her early twenties.
After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, Aimi refused to let the condition alter her life and competitive nature, competing in the Ride London-Surrey in both 2013 and 2014. Playing golf became a way for Aimi to continue playing competitive sport, even during the worst bouts of her illness.
Aimi said: “It was tough not being able to play hockey when I had my optic neuritis eight years ago, but being able to play golf and keep playing a competitive sport was fantastic. I try and do something golf related twice a week just to stay active and keep myself feeling good. I can’t always play 18 holes twice a week so will play nine or go to the driving range.”
Aimi tries to play as much as her health allows, but can still find it difficult to play a full 18 holes at times. Her neurologist is encouraging Aimi to play golf regularly as it helps keep her active and the competitive nature of sport helps her cope mentally with the effects of her condition.
“I love competing against my friends or in competitions at Woking Golf Club and Sunningdale Ladies' Golf Club and I got involved with competitive disability golf for the first time this summer. I signed up to the play in the European Individual Championships in the Czech Republic, finishing in third place. I’ll definitely look to playing more disabled golf tournaments.”
“Golf is a great sport for disabled people as anyone can play. It isn’t as demanding on your body compared with other sports. It’s a great way to keep playing competitive sport and stay sharp physically and mentally.”
Jamie Blair, England Golf Disability Officer said, “It is incredibly important that golf is available to everyone, whether you are disabled or not. At England Golf, we are working hard to help encourage as many disabled people as possible to play golf through a number of initiatives including our ‘Get into golf’ campaign. People can head to www.getintogolf.org to find out about beginner courses, taster lessons and special events at clubs and ranges nationwide.”