A moving documentary about blind and visually impaired golfers created by Honours year students from the University of Stirling has been nominated for a prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS) Student Award.
‘A Bunch of Gentlemen’, made by Louise Begbie, Milla Harju, Fatima Heldu, Claudia Lorenz, Nadin Mai and Amanda Jayne Naughton, as part of their dissertation, features a selection of interviews with members of the Scottish Blind Golf Society.
During the short film the men discuss their love of the game, their experiences of losing their sight and how they adapted their lives to carry on enjoying the sport for which they hold such a passion.
Amanda Jayne Naughton (22), from Glasgow, said: “We are all really excited to be nominated for such an important award. We think the success of the film lies not only in the unique subject we explored, but also because of the characters of the men featured.
“Their stories were really intriguing and they are very inspiring people. Their sight problems are part of them but it’s not their defining feature. When they are on a golf course they are no different to any other golfer and their passion for the game is just as strong.
“To hear about them overcoming the challenges to go back to something they love was very moving. We take many things for granted and our sight is one of them.”
One man who encapsulates the determination and love for the game is 94 year-old Jim Watt from Edinburgh, who first picked up a set of clubs age 14.
The sprightly pensioner refuses to be driven round the course in a golf buggy and is described in the film by a fellow player as “quite amazing – just magic”.
Jim, who lost his sight in his 60s, comments in the film: “I think I am getting very close to mastering blind golf.
“I look forward to many more years of playing this game. The day I need to use a golf buggy to get around the course is the day I stop playing.”
Scottish Blind Golf Society Secretary, Robin Clayden, who also features in the film, said: “This is a positive message to all budding golfers who might have thought the game was no longer possible for them because of sight problems. These girls deserve the highest praise – what a great bunch of ladies!
“Everyone from the society was very impressed by the professionalism of the students and how well they worked together. They had a natural ability to understand visually impaired golfers and took on board what we said about our lives, the game and the etiquette on the course.
“We are proud of them and the fantastic image they portrayed of us.”
The RTS Awards will be held on February 7 at BBC Scotland HQ, Pacific Quay, Glasgow.
Notes for editors:
The Stirling film makers (who all graduated in November 2011) and golfers who worked on the film are listed below with their current place of residence:
Louise Begbie, Luxembourg
Milla Harju, Edinburgh
Fatima Heldu, Glasgow
Claudia Lorenz, Germany
Nadin Mai, From Dundee, studying in St Andrews
Amanda Jayne Naughton, Glasgow
Robin Clayden, Dunfermline
Ian Moncrieff, St Fillans, Perthshire
Stuart Wilkie, Auchterarder
Jim Watt, Edinburgh
To speak to any of the golfers involved in the film please contact the Scottish Blind Golf Society on 01383 737 717.