Spectacular day of golf for Invictus Games competitors

The first sporting event of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover teed off on Friday at the NSW Golf Club, with competitors and family and friends enjoying a social day of competition.

The Golf Open presented by ISPS Handa showcased how participating in accessible sport can help wounded, injured and ill veteran and active service personnel overcome visible and invisible wounds.

The day gave teams a unique chance to play 18 holes on the spectacular course overlooking Botany Bay in the eastern suburb of La Perouse.

A father and daughter, mother and daughter and a husband and wife joined other competitors from eight nations. Canadian, Randy Little, an infantry veteran was particularly taken with the breathtaking views of the Sydney coastline.

“What a stunningly beautiful place and I consider myself very fortunate to be here,” said Little.

“This is my first Invictus Games and a truly life-altering experience for me. Before being accepted for the Games I was literally unable to leave the house and now I am here in Australia playing golf on this stunningly beautiful course.

“My wife Karen is with me and my two sons, Patrick and Robert, they just flew in today, so it’s wonderful meeting here in Australia.  It’s an amazing venue and it’s fantastic.”

The unique course proved challenging to other visitors and with many balls disappearing in the sand traps they were grateful for the comraderie which was evident throughout the day.

“What a happy bunch of people,” laughed Gail Robb “they are so helpful when some of us less confident players need help with our balls in the sand traps. These are not ordinary sand traps. These are deep holes. You almost need a scuba diving suit, they’re so deep.”

Robb, also from Canada is supporting her daughter, Joanna a serving Air Force soldier who is recovering from cancer. “There are some deep holes here, but this is so much fun and we appreciate all the support we have been given,” Joanna added.

“It’s phenomenal. This is the best scenery and the best view you could ever hope to have,” she said.

As well as providing a fantastic experience for participants, the Golf Open presented by ISPS Handa offered an opportuntiy to showcase adaptive golf with the encouragement of family and friends.

ISPS Handa has been supporting the Invictus Games since the first Games were held in London in 2014.

The golf competition at Invictus Games Sydney 2018 was not a medal sport. The first medals will be awarded at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge on Saturday ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

Lila Murgatroyd
Invictus Games 2018