Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Vision impairment no handicap for golfer

World No. 7 blind golfer Glenn Niciejewski will tee off in Shepparton Central Rotary Club’s Annual Golf Day today.

PATRICK O'MEARA March 1, 2013 4:34am

World-class blind golfer Glenn Niciejewski lives by a simple motto: ‘‘Even though I have lost my sight, I will never lose my vision’’.

The world No.7 will tee off in Shepparton Central Rotary Club’s Annual Golf Day as its special guest at Shepparton Golf Club today.

Niciejewski has been a lifelong golfer.

Before losing his sight, the Queenslander would hit the Logan City Golf Course and was off a single-digit handicap.

That ritual ended in 1999 at the age of 22 when a car accident left him with extensive head injuries that resulted in the loss of his sight.

Golf became his outlet.

In 2008 he linked with the Sporting Wheelies — Queensland’s peak body for sport, recreation and fitness for people with a physical disability or vision impairment — with immediate success.

A year later he joined the Australian Blind Golf circuit and has claimed a swag of titles.

He is Queensland’s No.1-ranked blind golfer and Australia’s No.4.

Last year he competed at the world championships and finished seventh.

Niciejewski said he was looking forward to hitting the Shepparton course today.

‘‘I can’t wait,’’ Niciejewski said.

‘‘It is always great getting out there and playing with different golfers and trying to raise some awareness of visually-impaired golfers.’’

The Shepparton event comes just before a busy schedule for Niciejewski, which starts with the Victorian Open this month and will be highlighted by the British Open later in the year.

Niciejewski said he simply loved the sport of golf.

‘‘I could play golf every day,’’ he said.

‘‘I could just hit golf ball after golf ball after golf ball.’’

He said retaking up the sport as a blind man had been difficult at first, but he had been supported by his wife Jodie from day one.

‘‘It was very tough at the start,’’ he said.

‘‘Trying to work out the distance, what club to use, knowing what is around you, where the bunkers are, the pin, where is the front edge and so on.

‘‘But my wife, Jodie, who caddies for me, has been great.

‘‘She doesn’t tell me what is around, because I don’t need to know, all I need to know is the distance.

‘‘She has been there since day dot and she is just fantastic.’’

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