A PGA Professional described as an ‘exceptional coach’ by one of golf’s leading figures has played a key role in Leamington and County Golf Club winning a national award.
The Golf Foundation’s Burroughs Award has been awarded to Leamington for creating opportunities for those with special needs to play the game.
The project has been driven by Paul Aitken, a PGA pro who is the first British Sign Language (BSL) qualified golf coach in the country.
It involved setting up an inclusive golf academy and inviting teachers from special schools to an open day.
Initially four schools signed up for the project and now Aitken coaches 70 children with disabilities or limitations a week.
The coaching is free and the club raised money to fund it as well as provide adapted equipment suitable for children with differing needs.
Aitken attributes the ease with which he coaches children with special needs to a cousin who is blind.
“I had some spare time while studying for my Advanced Golf Management Studies degree at Birmingham University so I learned sign language,” he explained.
“I’m very proud to accept the award on behalf of the club and thanks must go to its staff, members, parents and teachers.
“And a big thanks must go to the students. It’s nice to teach them as they enjoy it so much a make this a pretty cool job.”
Aitken was presented with award by former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher at Wentworth on the eve of the BMW PGA Championship.