Gales Closes In On His Century In Disabled Golf
Jim Gales MBE lost his sight to retinitis pigmentosa in the late 1980s and had never picked up a golf club before he became blind.
But this hasn't stopped the 53-year-old Scot from Springfield, Fife from registering 10 victories in disability golf Open events around
the world and becoming secretary and founder of the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership.Gales plays with Alan Robertson acting as
his guide to line him up and describe the hole before each shot and will chalk up his 100th disabled golf event during 2017.
Restricted to just light perception, he relies on the information from his guide - even though he admits he sometimes ignores the
advice. Gales, whose sense of humour continues to shine through, said: "It probably helps to not be able to see the trouble off the
tee sometimes. Mind you, it doesn't stop me lifting my head up on my swing. "Alan says: 'Why lift your head up? It's not as if you're
going to see where it goes'. He's got a point!"
Based in Scotland, Gales has been regular visitor to the Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort, near Glasgow, as he became increasingly
involved with disabled golf. He said: "We've done a lot of stuff with The Westerwood. We've held three World Cups there in recent
years for players of all disabilities and various other events."They have made massive improvements to the course over the past 10
years and they have been very supportive from day one back in 2001. "You step out of the hotel and you are straight on the golf
course, which is obviously a huge benefit to us and is a bit of a rarity in Scotland."It's a challenging golf course but if you are playing
well, you know you can post a decent score." Gales, who has a best scratch score of 95, once hit a hole-in-one during a practice round
for the Scottish Pan-Disability Open. His work for disability golf was recognised when he was awarded an MBE in 2002 and his
trademark colourful trousers will be seen strutting the fairways of St Andrews, Ohio and Texas this year.