Secretary: England and Wales Blind Golf
Steve Beevers studied Geography and Physical Education at Loughborough University from 1979 to 1982. He has always been passionate about sport and is currently the Secretary of England and Wales Blind Golf. An inspiration in sport himself, Steve shares stories of those who have inspired him alongside the development of his career and recreational activities.
I really chose Loughborough to study PE and Sport Science, as it was the premier course in the country at a time when the discipline was in its early stages. I studied Geography with a view to a teaching career as Geography was my favourite subject in school. During my PE teaching career, colleagues were always impressed that I had been given the opportunity to study at Loughborough.
In the late 1980s I was diagnosed with an inherited degenerative retinal condition, which has led to the loss of my central vision. Because of this diagnosis I was advised to move away from teaching PE, which had been my real passion. My teaching career progressed with re-training as a teacher of SEN and eventually I became an advisory teacher for children with visual impairment, working for Wirral Local Authority.
Having ceased playing sport at a competitive level, I was introduced to golf by a friend, who introduced me to a couple of other golfers, who guided me around my local municipal golf course and took responsibility for pointing me in the right direction, advising me on club selection, shouting "fore" and finding my ball. I came to realise that golf was a possibility for people with sight loss, if suitable partners, buddies or guides can be found.
I set up some introductory golf lessons for visually impaired pupils. My passion for sport in general was passed to my pupils. I hope they were given the feeling that they should be determined that any reduction in sight should not prevent them from sports participation.
I took early retirement a couple of years ago, having worked in Wirral schools for 30 years. My deteriorating vision meant that there were certain aspects of the role I could not fulfil as well as I wanted to. My retirement has given me the opportunity to devote more time to work in Blind Golf, as Secretary of England and Wales Blind Golf.
Amazingly, around the year 2000, I discovered Partially Sighted Football and played for England in the World Championships in 2004 at the age of 43, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I realised that my fitness level, though good at the time, needed an increasing level of commitment, but I had recently joined England and Wales Blind Golf. The golf was taking an increasing amount of time, so I retired from football and pursued my interest in golf.
I am a member of Wallasey Golf Club in Wirral, and am now Captain of England and Wales Blind Golf. The thing I love most is that despite having been registered blind for over 20 years I can still compete with my friends, playing a regular game, with no major rule changes or concessions due to my impairment. I also love playing with a sighted guide - blind golf is truly a team game.
Many of our blind golfers have deteriorating sight conditions and learned to play golf with a relatively high level of sight. I am in the B3 sights category, but we have B3, B2 and B1 (totally blind) players. To play in an international match with a totally blind partner, who hits magnificent golf shots, is truly inspirational. They, of course, are able to do that with hours of tuition, practice and wonderful guiding by their sighted guide. In September this year, we will play the annual International match against the blind golfers of Scotland. I think this will be my 11th such annual international match and I am proud to be hosting the team Matchplay event over four days at my home golf club, Wallasey.
We wish Steve and his team the best of luck in all upcoming competitions!
You can keep up to date with England and Wales Blind Golf on Twitter: @EWBlindGolf