Alan Pryor, the outgoing Captain of Marlborough Golf Club, selected the On Course Foundation (OCF) as the charity to benefit from fund raising during his year’s captaincy. And on Friday (April 1) Brian Rollinson, an ambassador for OCF, was in Marlborough to accept the Captain’s cheque for £3,533.41.
The money was raised during the year through raffles, a race night, a skittles evening and, of course, golf competitions. Brian Rollinson: “I’d like to give a big thank you to Marlborough Golf Club – to Alan and all the members.”
The On Course Foundation supports the recovery of wounded, injured and sick service men and women and veterans through golf. The Foundation’s members who are helped by the Foundation include amputees, those with lasting injuries, mental problems or who become disabled or develop long-term illnesses while serving.
OCF’s mission is to build confidence and self-belief in their members through golf skills and employment events, and set them on the way to worthwhile employment opportunities within in the golf industry.
While Brian Rollinson was serving with the Green Jackets in Northern Ireland in 1983, he was wounded and still suffers from his injuries both physically and mentally. He and his family still have to cope with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its debilitating flash-backs.
He had been an active an active sportsman and had run competitively for Wales. Now he has taken up golf and plays off 18. He is training to be a counsellor and wants to find a job with a golf club.
The OCF believes that golf offers a unique way for players of all skills and backgrounds to compete healthily, improving not only their physical but mental strength too: “With many lacking self- belief, it’s our aim to help our members realise their potential and set them on a fulfilling career path.”
OCF was founded by John Simpson, who only has one good leg following childhood polio. He got the idea when he was being shown round the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.
John Simpson knew a great deal about sports from his work with IMG managing sportsmen such as Nick Faldo and Sebastian Coe. Seeing the work being done at Headley Court, he realised there were opportunities golf could provide for the wounded, injured and sick service men and women, that other sports could not offer.
They could benefit from the sport itself and could find jobs within the golf industry – whether as a green-keeper or with a club’s hospitality team. Launched in 2010, OCF now runs a large programme of work placements and advisors.
It has an active branch in the USA and the annual Simpson Cup is a Ryder Cup style tournament for teams of 13 injured servicemen and veterans from Britain and from the USA. Started in 2012, this year’s tournament is being held at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.