Tough Love and Second Chances - EDGA artwork

Tough Love and Second Chances - EDGA

85 episodes - English - Latest episode: 11 days ago -

The tough love and second chances podcast, reveals remarkable stories of those who refuse to be defined by their disability. The power of the human spirit shines through with examples of how hope, courage and the opportunity to express oneself through the game of golf, makes for a combination that can improve, and even save lives. Written and hosted by Tony Bennett for EDGA.

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March 09, 2023 09:23 - 14 minutes - 20.6 MB

There is a golf ball that sits in a glass cabinet in the museum of the United States Golf Association at Liberty Corner in New Jersey, donated by Jeremy Bittner. This ball could be seen as an emblem of a remarkable year for Bittner in 2022, the amputee golfer used it to record the first hole-in-one in the inaugural US Adaptive Open, made at Pinehurst Number 6. This was just one shot in a blaze of fine shots. The man from Pittsburgh climbed from 170th place in the World Ranking for Golfers w...


February 22, 2023 17:35 - 9 minutes - 12.4 MB

In this episode we catch up with Alessandra Donati, whose love of golf has helped her deal much better with her condition Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a progressive neuropathy disease. Every year life can become more challenging but at this time her passion for golf only increases, the sport helping her physically and mentally. Rather than her own game, Alessandra, or Ale (pronounced “Aleee”) is keen instead to talk about helping more people with a disability to try golf; to enjoy the nature,...


February 10, 2023 13:24 - 13 minutes - 18.1 MB

In 2017, Dylan Baines was involved in a car accident in south Wales which could easily have killed him. He would wake up in hospital with a broken neck, paralysed, to be told by a doctor it was unlikely he would walk again. He was 22 at the time. The rehabilitation has been slow but also careful. Just under five years later it was remarkable to be talking to Dylan in the sunshine of Portugal for the last EDGA Tour golf event of 2022; with Welshman Dylan Baines the popular winner in the Net ...


January 25, 2023 19:48 - 13 minutes - 12.8 MB

Nick Carroll, from Western Australia, loves golf. A player who really cares about their sport tends to have certain qualities. Simply feeling respect for the game is an important one; striving to improve and be the best golfer you can be – well that’s worth playing the game for in itself. Similarly, a genuine desire to help others to enjoy golf should also earn you a lucky bounce or two on the fairways. Nick Carroll certainly makes the cut in all of the above. He lives with the condition of...

Nick Carroll

January 25, 2023 19:48 - 13 minutes - 12.8 MB

Nick Carroll, from Western Australia, loves golf. A player who really cares about their sport tends to have certain qualities. Simply feeling respect for the game is an important one; striving to improve and be the best golfer you can be – well that’s worth playing the game for in itself. Similarly, a genuine desire to help others to enjoy golf should also earn you a lucky bounce or two on the fairways. Nick Carroll certainly makes the cut in all of the above. He lives with the condition of...

The TROND LIA story

January 11, 2023 13:46 - 12 minutes - 28.1 MB

This EDGA Profile is a little different as though it features one of our golfers, Rasmus Lia, we are delighted to talk with his father, Trond Lia, who is a very proud Dad and for a good reason. It was an exciting trip when Trond travelled with his son Rasmus from their home in Sweden to Dubai, in November 2022. 21-year-old Rasmus had qualified for the season-ending G4D Tour Series Finale @ DP World Tour Championship. This was a dream for Rasmus very much hard-earned. The young man had reco...


December 20, 2022 11:18 - 14 minutes - 33.5 MB

Darren Grey’s passion in learning the technique of the golf swing has led to him not only becoming a very good player in his own right but, all being well, he is soon to fully qualify as a PGA Professional and therefore able to share his joy of coaching the game with others. Born without a lower left arm, this genial 37-year-old from Darlington in the North East of England always loves talking technique, and loves seeing the faces of those he coaches light up with pleasure when they hit a g...


November 25, 2022 11:43 - 15 minutes - 36.1 MB

Acquired wisdom shows us that we can earn a “bagful of things” to improve life, and for some, golf can play a leading role. You would be forgiven for thinking that the hand condition Fabrizio Gardiol was born with could be a major problem for him growing up in the 1960s, perhaps creating a lack of confidence during his school days, but in fact it might be one of the reasons behind his personal achievements over the years. The condition seems to have influenced how Fabrizio grew into his li...


November 01, 2022 12:00 - 16 minutes - 37 MB

Inclusive golf? “Let’s spread the waves, let’s move those barriers,” says Ireland’s Tom Doherty. Talking with Tom, it is clear he understands that the camaraderie and togetherness that can be found at an inclusive golf event can create a great sense of community for those taking part. This man from Killarney ­­– which is a fine tourist town in beautiful Kerry in Ireland’s south, where the locals are much more likely to say, ‘how are you?’ than ‘who are you?’ – is passionate about community...


October 05, 2022 05:17 - 17 minutes - 40.6 MB

“Life is 10 per cent what happens to you, and 90 per cent what you make it.” This is the mindset of Australian Ben Tullipan, who adds: “If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.” Late in the evening of the 12th October 2002, a then 27-year-old Ben Tullipan was a young businessman importing furniture from Bali, Indonesia, for his homewares shop on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.  Ben had always seen himself as a ‘people person’. He liked to get to know the folk around him...


October 05, 2022 05:12 - 19 minutes - 45 MB

Jeroen Coumou is a Dutchman living in Rotterdam. When we interviewed him to ask what golf means to him, his warm and approachable personality was immediately apparent, as was a thoughtfulness and calm authority. Clearly, at ease in being honest and open with strangers, he will at the same time fix you in the eye as he speaks and listens, learning a little about you in return. He has the characteristics which you would hope for among the best in his profession. He is a teacher. Jeroen tells ...

The Juan Postigo Arce Story Continued

September 06, 2022 04:47 - 4 minutes - 11.2 MB

Juan Postigo Arce has become one of the most recognisable faces among golfers with a disability anywhere in the world, and is much admired for the way he plays the game and the positive message he conveys: that golf can be for everyone. The low-scoring Spaniard certainly deserves the acclaim in which he is held. At the time of writing, he stands at number 3 in the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD), where after being one of the stand-out EDGA players of recent years, he came ...


August 24, 2022 19:21 - 15 minutes - 35.9 MB

Bradley Smith says, "golf, for me, is just happiness”.   There is no sense of naivety on the part of the 27-year-old father of two from Norfolk when he tells us this, and he has every reason for taking all the joy he can from the game. He will also look across the table and fix you with a firm gaze. “Any golf day is a good one,” he reasons, “because you’re still on this side of the ground”.    The line could be from a Hemingway novel, and Bradley, or Brad to his friends, looks every inch a...

The Brad Smith Story

August 24, 2022 19:21 - 15 minutes - 35.9 MB

Bradley Smith says, "golf, for me, is just happiness”.   There is no sense of naivety on the part of the 27-year-old father of two from Norfolk when he tells us this, and he has every reason for taking all the joy he can from the game. He will also look across the table and fix you with a firm gaze. “Any golf day is a good one,” he reasons, “because you’re still on this side of the ground”.    The line could be from a Hemingway novel, and Bradley, or Brad to his friends, looks every inch a...


August 09, 2022 20:13 - 15 minutes - 36.2 MB

Normally a relaxed, chatty character, Oliver Hirst-Greenham appeared distinctly nervous as he entered the clubhouse at Thonock Park Golf Club, Lincolnshire, for his first EDGA tournament back in June.   The PING Open for Golfers with a Disability was certainly all new territory for him. Oliver’s disability isn’t that noticeable, and he had been worrying about this: would he look like he was an intruder? Was there anyone else like him in the tournament? Would he fit in with the other players?...

Jennifer Sräga at the 150th Open Championship

July 27, 2022 06:11 - 5 minutes - 11.7 MB

It was St Andrews – the ‘home of golf’ – and surely the most eagerly awaited Open Championship for decades. Staged against a backdrop of 290,000 spectators from all over the world, millions more golfers and non golfers were experiencing The 150th Open on their screens and phones. On the Monday practice day, The R&A hosted the ‘Celebration of Champions’, a unique four-hole team match now established during Open Championship week whenever the event is played at this historic golf venue; the f...

The RICH WHITE story

July 11, 2022 05:29 - 18 minutes - 41.9 MB

After nearly 10 years of struggle with a debilitating neck and spine injury in 2012, Rich White explains that through golf he has rediscovered an absorbing sport from his childhood: that has boosted, significantly, his body and soul. Physically it has given him a way back, made him stronger, while the mental tonic has been “exceptional” for him. With three EDGA events under his belt by July, Rich says he feels like he has found a place to ‘belong’ again for the first time in many years. Afte...


June 30, 2022 15:32 - 17 minutes - 40.6 MB

Dealing with corners, free kicks, penalties, one-on-ones with strikers, the football goalkeeper can be the most cruelly exposed of all players. They must find a way, any way, of getting through the rough and tumble of the pressure moments. This is a lonely job. David Reaney would rediscover his own inner resilience years after hanging up his goalkeeping gloves and No:1 jersey that he had worn in England’s Southern leagues. This time though, he faced bigger challenges, including acute depres...


June 16, 2022 04:31 - 12 minutes - 28.7 MB

Hayato Yoshida’s thoughts on golf can be readily applied to most of life. He took up golf only at the age of 30 after his early years had taken twists and turns. But he is a golfer today (a PGA Professional in fact) and a philosophical one at that. He will tell you that “golf is life” and that “golf is a dialogue with yourself”.    Hayato survived a horrific injury as a young man, an accident that could have damaged his life irreparably. Indeed, it wrecked his boyhood dream of playing profe...


May 31, 2022 03:16 - 16 minutes - 37.1 MB

Steve Crocker had loved sport in his younger days, and he had been highly active as an engineer on ships in the UK’s Merchant Navy. Ever since being a kid, he had been kicking, catching, and running on the sports field, or sailing, swimming and canoeing in the sea off the coast of his native Cornwall. His fitness and strength as an adult masked a growing degeneration of his spine, and by the age of 39 mysteriously he was scuffing his shoes walking to work, tripping on kerbs, and struggling ...


May 19, 2022 05:50 - 11 minutes - 26.4 MB

In late April 2022, Norwegian Fredrik Fjaeraa was lying seventh in the ‘Gross’ division of the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) after a run of successful tournaments. This consistency on the fairways and greens earned him the best possible reward: Fredrik qualified to play in the prestigious G4D @ Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett in early May. Staged at The Belfry – in England’s West Midlands and home to four Ryder Cups – suddenly Fredrik could not have had a...


May 04, 2022 12:14 - 14 minutes - 19.7 MB

George Blackshaw swings his driver with his one arm and watches another drive land in the centre of the fairway.  As with many young, single-figure golf handicap players, it is nevertheless a pleasure to watch how 23 year-old George Blackshaw can plot his way around even the most difficult golf course. George is one of a growing number of high-standard, low handicap competitive golfers out there, who also happen to have a disability. The way he goes about his golf, with maximum focus but a...

The Benedicte Finnema Story

April 20, 2022 15:33 - 21 minutes - 29.1 MB

Benedicte Finnema was 53 years-old and like many Norwegians she loved her sport; enjoyed everything about keeping fit and being an athlete. Then came a ski accident in 2016 that would have a huge impact on her life. As she lay in hospital and then in the long hours of rehab before later finally deciding to have her leg amputated, Benedicte was able to first cope, and then take a positive view for the future, by focusing on three things: her golf, her love of kayaking at sea and a treasured f...

The Johnny Reay Story

April 05, 2022 18:17 - 12 minutes - 11.4 MB

Johnny Reay started to show a growing interest in golf and the family business when he was but a boy. He began helping out at Stoneleigh Deer Park GC aged 14 and now 15 years later he is general manager, involved in decision-making throughout the business with a specialism on the food and beverage side of Hogan’s bar. Looking out of the club window at the golf course, Johnny says he is passionate that his club should be a welcoming place for visitors. Golf should be a game where every perso...

The Manon Eggermont Story

March 08, 2022 18:23 - 16 minutes - 30.7 MB

Manon Eggermont is the Director of Tournaments for EDGA. When overseeing a championship, she meets the competitors as they sign in before the event and is constantly impressed with how these golfers, with a range of disabilities, prepare to take on the course and push themselves to the maximum.  Some of the players first get to know her on competition day when they hand in their scorecards after aiming to break 70, 80 or 90, whatever their goal is on the day. Back in 2012, when a doctor to...

The Ian Jones Story

February 23, 2022 18:30 - 13 minutes - 32 MB

Tackling difficult equations in the science laboratory, or tackling, crossing the ball and scoring goals, it was always a tough decision for Ian Jones. Ian travelled up to Newcastle University from his home in the south in 1985, with his football boots in his bag, along with school Advanced Level certificates in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. It was hugely exciting to prepare to study Chemical Engineering in this northern English city famous for its love of football. Today, he concedes he s...

The Nael Ogden-Smith story

February 09, 2022 13:36 - 23 minutes - 21.2 MB

Nael Ogden-Smith is something of a key player in the Paralympic movement: one of the reasons he’s an asset to the cause is because he genuinely loves sport and understands its value to people. It can make your day, save your day, and sometimes much more. As a young boy raised in Lebanon, Nael and his friends were always so keen to play together, even as civil war gripped the country; life carried on. This positive outlook shaped him and his family around him. When he was in his early twent...

The Damien Thomlinson Story

January 25, 2022 15:59 - 22 minutes - 42 MB

Standing in front of an audience, Damien Thomlinson cuts an impressive figure with a steely gaze. He is built out of battle, and his philosophy is worth listening to. The former soldier served in Australia’s 2nd Commando Regiment – Special Forces – and he can tell his audience about how some of the most intense, pressurised military training in the world prepared him and his comrades to survive in deeply hostile enemy environments. Two constant loves today are from quieter areas of life, h...

The Per-Christian Nygren story

January 11, 2022 19:24 - 13 minutes - 30.8 MB

Per-Christian Nygren says that when he was a teenager, the sport of motocross was like a drug. While it gave him undoubted ‘highs’ which he remembers fondly, it would also come at a cost in the form of a major crash when he was aged 16; in which he received multiple injuries including a permanently paralysed left arm. Having experienced this trauma, his courage, the ‘never wanting to give up’, conflicted with the more safety conscious of his thoughts. For a man who had to deal with life-cha...

The Graeme Mazur story

December 14, 2021 19:52 - 18 minutes - 34 MB

The ready, twinkling smile is there on the face of Graeme Mazur. He might have to search harder for the right word on occasion, but he finds it. Because of what happened to him as a boy his dreams of becoming a world-beating professional golfer stalled. On Tuesday, January 18, 2000, Graeme set off for his morning paper round at 6.30am on his mountain bike in High Holdern, near Ashford. At around 7.00am, a car hit him full on at a junction, Graeme flying across the bonnet, his head smashing ...

The Heather and Martine Gilks Story

December 01, 2021 06:22 - 16 minutes - 30 MB

Few people could be better advocates for the inclusive, welcoming and fulfilling aspects of golf than Martine and Heather Gilks. Mother Martine and daughter Heather are enthusiastic, and their recent experiences in the sport demonstrate why golf can be so good for the mental and physical health of all who take part in it. From playing across the generations, enjoying the social side of golf, competing and seeking personal improvement to reach their potential, to simply enjoying fresh air a...

The EDGA Dubai Finale 2021

November 16, 2021 18:50 - 20 minutes - 47.1 MB

This weeks Tough Love and Second Chances Podcast is a little different with a preview of the eight players competing in the EDGA Dubai Finale being played alongside the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf. These eight players have made it to the finale, but not by invitation. These players filled the top positions in the World Ranking for Golfers with a Disability. Each of the top 16 available players competed in two of four events alongside European Tour events on the UK swing in J...

The Kipp Popert Story

November 02, 2021 06:41 - 16 minutes - 38.7 MB

Kipp Popert has had a golf club in his hands since he was a tiny kid. The game is part of his psyche, and the way he plays his golf helps him to 'press on', and meet life's challenges eye-to-eye. Kipp clearly relishes the physical and mental struggle that is seeing him be the best he can possibly be. Kipp was born with Cerebral Palsy, a form called Spastic diplegia, which impairs the muscular movement in his legs. "There's beauty in the struggle I guess… The tip I would give is never let a...

The Miroslav Halmo Story

October 19, 2021 14:01 - 15 minutes - 14.1 MB

Imagine never having tried golf and then just 18 months later playing in the final of a European matchplay tournament, teeing off with highly experienced players in front of an assembled crowd, filmed by professional cameramen for the golfing media. Miroslav Halmo faced this pressure situation just recently in the EDGA-RSM European Playoff Series in England. He said later it was like something in a dream, but in his exalted state, he still talked as much about helping other people with disab...

The Vincent Helly Story

October 05, 2021 16:00 - 11 minutes - 15.6 MB

Until Vincent Helly was six years old, he didn’t speak at all. In his early years he lived in silence. His family faced severe anxiety with the pessimistic diagnoses of doctors at the time. Put him in a psychiatric clinic was the view. If autism is often misunderstood today, there was far greater ignorance of the condition even 20 years ago. This summer, at the age of 25, Vincent has been representing his friends and family and his home venue of Golf de Moliets in the South of France, as h...

The Tero Tapani Peltola Story

September 21, 2021 17:00 - 13 minutes - 18.7 MB

In 1992 I visited Finland to play in a representative match between British Club Professionals and Finnish Club Professionals at Kurk Golf Club just north of Helsinki. It was my first time in the land of clean air, the northern lights and Santa Claus. Tero Peltola is connected with nature and uses the long summer days to play before work on his own and afterwards with his family. Tero was speaking during a two-week stint at European Tour events in Scotland and England, where eight golfers wi...

The Kurtis Barkley Story

September 07, 2021 21:57 - 16 minutes - 22.5 MB

Few people will have a clearer focus on the ups and downs of golf, and the ups and downs of life, than Kurtis. Kurtis was born with scoliosis, which is a deformity of the spine. His spine curves three different ways, and the greatest of these curves is around 50 degrees. Kurtis grew up south of Ottawa, out in the countryside, and it was here that golf started on an old driving range when he was just three years old. Kurtis ended going to the course when he was about seven years old and has ...

The Petri Takkunen Story

August 24, 2021 16:00 - 13 minutes - 17.9 MB

It seems that Petri Takkunen goes about his business quietly. Petri enjoys and is good at three different sports, Shooting, Archery and Golf. These are not the sports that he had once played, but after losing his left arm in a car accident 25 years ago, and when the doctors told him that he couldn't go to work anymore, he decided that 24 hours per day without work or a hobby was just too much. I caught up with Petri ahead of the first of two EDGA-European Tour events that he was due to play...

The Felix Norrman Story

July 27, 2021 21:13 - 15 minutes - 20.8 MB

For the last week I have had the pleasure of being in the company of Felix Norrman along with seven other players as they competed in the EDGA - European Tour Cazoo Open at the 2010 Ryder Cup course in Celtic Manor. These few days have allowed me to get to know Felix a little more and to understand what makes him tick. The 24 year old Swedish player finished 3rd in Wales and when I recorded this podcast on the Ferry from Liverpool to Belfast, I knew that I was speaking about a determined, c...

The Duncan Hamilton-Martin Story

July 13, 2021 16:00 - 19 minutes - 27.2 MB

One of the first golfers with a disability I saw play was Duncan Hamilton-Martin. Duncan was playing in Swindon, and I was there to observe the event. My objective was to get a feel for what golf for the disabled was all about. Duncan was on the tee, and if I remember rightly, he ripped a tee shot down the middle. Off he went down the fairway as if it was the most natural thing in the world. For Duncan, it was, as you will hear in this story of accepting what you have and simply getting on w...

The Barry McCluskey Story

June 29, 2021 15:09 - 20 minutes - 28.4 MB

Losing sight in one eye to a genetic condition is bad enough, but when the same disease strikes in the other eye, some 17 years later, well, that is a whole different story. Barry McCluskey is registered blind, yet since losing his sight in both eyes, he has improved golf due to better focus. More focus on practising the right way and developing an appreciation for the game of golf has to offer has made all the difference. Please enjoy the story of Barry McCluskey.

The Jigs Denby Story

June 15, 2021 16:00 - 19 minutes - 27.3 MB

Sometimes a person’s courage and positive attitude leave a clear imprint on those they meet. This is one of those times. When he was born in Tasmania, southeast Australia, his father and uncles continued a family tradition and gave him a nickname. In Aussie lingo, he was a bit of a “big jiggler” and so we now find ourselves talking to ‘Jigs' Denby and boy does he have a powerful story to tell. Please enjoy the story of Jigs Denby.

The Gavin Burden Story

June 01, 2021 16:00 - 14 minutes - 19.9 MB

According to the UK National Health Service, almost 2 million people are living with sight loss. This is the story of just one. Gavin Burden from Salisbury in Wiltshire. Gavin tells us about how a brain tumour, which possibly had been growing since he was a youngster, manifested itself first with migraines and finally with vision problems. In this story Gavin talks about work, family and the tough times he has endured over the last couple of decades and how he has used golf to give him both...

The Mark Smith Story

May 19, 2021 16:00 - 19 minutes - 26.2 MB

Mark Smith has been a stalwart of golf for the disabled for the entire period since EDGA was formed. That doesn’t mean to say that he is old, far from it. His first forays into international competition took place while he was still but a youngster, and he has gathered a wealth of experience and a catalogue of great stories.  With an impressive category one handicap, a game built on accuracy and a good short game, Mark is a formidable competitor. Mark talks about the friends he has made thr...

The Mariano Tubio Story

May 04, 2021 16:00 - 21 minutes - 29.2 MB

This is the story of Mariano Tubio. The golf course in Ranelagh had been like a second home for Mariano who as youngster was inspired to reach 1 handicap by spending time with and watching the 1967 champion golfer of the year, the legendary Argentinian golfer Roberto de Vicenzo who played at the club. An accident at 28 years of age turned that one handicap player into a fifteen handicap player, but never dampened his enthusiasm to play the game. Please enjoy the story of Mario Tubio.

The Andy Stevenson Story

April 20, 2021 16:00 - 28 minutes - 39.7 MB

This is the story of Andy Stevenson from England. Broadcaster and TV producer Andy Stevenson describes himself on his Twitter profile as being born “without a full complement of limbs”. What Andy modestly omits from this profile is his ‘full complement’ of career highs so far. Just as he was inspired by great figures in UK broadcasting as a boy, we hope his unique story here can inspire a few youngsters to consider not only giving golf a try, but serious journalism too. Andy’s story is just...

The Kirsty Wilkinson Story

April 06, 2021 16:32 - 18 minutes - 25 MB

This is the story of Kirsty Wilkinson from Australia. Kirsty says that when life is a real struggle, sometimes, somehow, you have to “just get out there”, and let the rest look after itself. Kirsty Wilkinson did just that, with a golf club in her hands, and it put a smile back on her face again. Two car accidents, diagnosis of a condition called Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a brother who suffered a brain tumour and years of pain management all led to depression. Kirsty found that gol...

The Tommaso Perrino Story

March 23, 2021 17:00 - 19 minutes - 26.7 MB

This is the story of Tommaso Perrino from Itlay. Tommaso was on the path to a life on the European Tour before a motorcycle accident at just 17 years of age, which led to years of rehabilitation and cost him a career as a professional player.  His passion for the game was never in doubt, and today, he coaches, helping others to get the maxim from their games and living life in the world of golf which gives him great joy. Please enjoy the story of Tommaso Perrino. 

The Manuel de los Santos Story

March 09, 2021 17:00 - 23 minutes - 54.7 MB

This is the story of Manuel de los Santos from The Dominican Republic. I have had the privilege to get to know Manuel and his wife Elena over the last ten years or so. In this interview we reached into areas that Manuel has never before discussed in public.  I thank both Manuel and Elena for trusting me with the details of an early life that brings context to the man who has earned the respect and love of many in the world of golf.

The Masato Koyamada Story

February 23, 2021 18:00 - 13 minutes - 19 MB

Masato Koyamada is living proof that despite life's inevitable ups and downs, the years we are given are to be embraced, used to the very best of our ability and above all to be enjoyed.  I must confess that I do not speak Japanese and also reveal that Masato doesn't speak English, although I suspect his understanding of my first language is better than mine of his. Masato and I communicated through text and translators, but his story's power is such that it simply has to be told.  This is...