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Golf Today > Amateur Golf > 2009 > News, Features & Events

A guide dog owner has made history, by becoming the first blind person to captain a sighted golf team.

Malcolm Elrick, 55, leads the rabbits section at Horsforth Golf Club in Yorkshire.

Malcolm Elrick

He won the English Blind Golf Order of Merit, last year, and is set to defend his title again this year.

Malcolm, a retired communications analyst for Bradford and Bingley Building Society, says: "It is a huge honour for me to be asked by the club to captain the team.

"My guide dog, Ember, has played a big part in my golfing success. I couldn't have done it without him.

"He has taken me on planes and trains all over the country, competing at various tournaments.

"And it's just as well he is such a devoted companion because I use one hand to hold his harness and the other to carry my golf bags."

Malcolm, of Crossflatts, Bingley, plays with a sighted companion under blind rules, and has a golf handicap of 24.

His election as team captain coincides with taking ownership of a new guide dog, Lola, a spinone, after eight years of faithful service from Ember, a Labrador / retriever.

Malcolm's wife, Lesley, 51, who is secretary at the club, says: "Ember has transformed Malcolm's life and given him back his independence.

"Malcolm had become housebound, withdrawn, and dependent on others to go out.

"Now Malcolm is independent. He can do what he wants when he wants. He comes and goes around the clubhouse. And people are always interested in his dog."

Paul Metcalf, district team manager for Guide Dogs in Leeds, says: "Guide dogs provide freedom and confidence to their blind and partially sighted owners, allowing them to live their dreams.

"Thanks to Ember, Malcolm's sight loss has proved no barrier to competing as a talented golfer at the highest level."



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