June 13, 2023
A new indoor golf clinic through the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital’s Adult Specialized Rehabilitation Outpatient Program allows patients like Randy Cameron have his swing assessed by golf pro Alan Gallyer in a virtual simulator. Photo by Evan Isbister.
Randy Cameron is hopeful the opportunity to practise golf indoors with the support of a recreation therapist and a golf pro will help him get his swing back for this summer’s season. Photo by Evan Isbister.
Story by Sharman Hnatiuk | Photos by Evan Isbister
EDMONTON — If you love the game of golf, Randy Cameron believes it doesn’t matter if you have a disability or not — you can still go out and play.
Since being fitted for a below-the-knee prosthetic in 2021, the avid golfer from Whitecourt hasn’t been happy with his score on the links. Cameron is hopeful a new indoor golf clinic through the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital’s Adult Specialized Rehabilitation Outpatient Program will help him get his swing back for this summer’s season.
“Strength and stamina aren’t the issue for me,” says Cameron. “If I can get some help with my swing, I’ll get my score back down to where it should be.”
While an outdoor golf clinic has been offered through the Glenrose for more than 20 years, recreation therapist Ryley Foster helped create a new indoor option — a partnership with an Edmonton golf simulator facility — to support patients who’ve experienced an injury or illness.
At the facility, outpatients can pay a fee to try out new modifications to their golf swing — with access to qualified instruction from a golf pro — to help them regain confidence in a safe and supported indoor environment.
“It’s open to patients who experienced strokes, amputation, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and geriatric patients. Anyone who’s getting back into golf is welcome,” says Foster.
“The indoor simulator space gives patients the opportunity to play in a setting where they aren’t worried about uneven surfaces or walking an extended period, and they can sit down or grab water when needed.”
As an instructor at Evolution Golf, Alan Gallyer says that having a private room to work out your swing can relieve some of the pressure and anxiety that some may feel at a driving range or on the course, with so many people around.
“The simulators give a lot of feedback, so we can identify quickly what’s happening in the golf swing,” adds Gallyer. “By seeing what the ball flight is doing, we get a lot of data about shot height, and can see improvement as we go.”
The combination of a golf pro and a rec therapist on hand seems to have hit the mark with patients.
“Together we can help patients feel comfortable and get the most of what their abilities are,” says Gallyer. “People hit one great shot and their eyes light up and they go, ‘I want to keep doing this’, and that’s special.”