The setting, individuals he met and stories he heard particularly resonated with John, who only has one good leg following childhood polio. John empathised with those he spoke to, and understood their desire to regain a sense of camaraderie and play competitively in a welcoming, social environment, hearing many of their stories and concerns about returning to civilian life.
John began to realise that there were opportunities that golf – both in the game itself, and in the industry – could provide for the wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and veterans, that other sports could not offer.
Many patients were enthused by the opportunity to participate, compete and work in such a sport. The handicap system offered them the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, as well as a reason to socialise with other Service personnel in similar positions to themselves.
An initial pilot golf skills scheme took place in September 2009, run in collaboration with the staff at Headley Court. The success of this event spurred the genesis of On Course Foundation. John’s aim was to create a charity to offer injured Servicemen, women and veterans the opportunity to participate in golf on a level playing field with everyone else, either as a player or through employment in the golf industry. On Course Foundation was officially launched on 2 July 2010 at the Royal Household Golf Club at Windsor Castle.
Since then, the charity has grown, both in terms of the number of beneficiaries, and in how the Foundation can help them. As On Course Foundation celebrates its fifth anniversary, it’s clear that golf has the ability to aid recovery, both physically and mentally, and On Course Foundation provides the perfect setting for competition, camaraderie and confidence.