Andy Sellars (left) and Martyn WrightAndy and Martyn
2016 Runner Up Primary Club Blind English Matchplay Championship
2016 1st Jack Kerfoot Cup (Defending Champion)
2016 2nd Chairman’s Cup
2015 1st Jack Kerfoot Cup
2015 Played in the Successful Rest of the World Team against USA and Canada in the Blind Ryder Cup
2015 3rd English Blind Strokeplay
2012 3rd Cowdry Shield
2014 5th B2 World Blind Golf Championship
2012 5th B2 World Blind Golf Championship
2012 Olympic Torch Bearer
2012 Disabled British Open Category 2 Champion (First Visually Impaired Golfer to win)
2011 Winner Disabled Performance of the Year Wakefield and District
2011 3rd Lew Vizzard Plate
2010 B2 World Blind Golf Champion
2010 3rd Lew Vizzard Plate
2009 NPOWER Disabled Sportsman of the Year - Yorkshire & Humberside
2009 Winner English Blind Order of Merit
2009 Winner English Blind Stroke play Championship (36 hole medal)
2009 Lowest Gross round in tournament play in the world in the year by a blind golfer 75
2009 2nd Northern Cup
2008 3rd World Blind Golf Championship Gross B2 (Belfast)
2008 2nd Chairmans Cup
2008 3rd Cowdry Shield
2007 Winner Blind British Open Gross B2
2007 2nd Northern Cup
2007 2nd Chairmans Cup
2007 3rd Order of Merit
2006 NPOWER Disabled Sportsman of the Year - Yorkshire & Humberside
2006 Winner English Matchplay
2006 Winner English Order of Merit
2006 Winner Cowdry Shield
2006 3rd World Blind Golf Championship Gross B2 (Tokyo)
2006 2nd English Strokeplay
2006 2nd Northern Cup
2006 3rd Blind British Masters
I was aware that the club had a blind golfer, but didn’t really know much more about Andy or his achievements. I was reminded of the fact when one of my golfing partners recently related this story. After a particularly bad round, he was consoling himself in the 19th and when someone asked “How did you play today?”, he responded “30 points, a blind person could have done better” . Another voice replied “I did!” Whilst my mate didn’t know him, or that he was blind, Andy was sat in the same room. As well as being successful in his business and golfing life, Andy also sports a quick wit!
Within the club, Andy is a bit of unsung hero, yet someone we should be very proud of, so I asked him if I could put a short question and answer session on the web site so that we could learn a little more about Andy and his achievements.
|How long have you had your eyesight problems?
|It started when I was 17, I have a rare genetic condition (Stargadts Macular Dystrophy), and it deteriorated very quickly.
|A quick look at your record shows that you have not let your disability hold you back, can you describe to what extent you can or can’t discern features on the course? E.g. the ball, flag etc?
|I have around 5% of normal vision (whatever normal is!!). No central vision and blurred peripheral vision. If I look at the Golf Ball I cannot see it but if I look a few feet away I catch something white and fluffy (the Ball) in my peripheral vision so I can get the club head behind the ball. I use Binoculars to help me in the right direction at Normanton and can make out large trees as well as Jack Fox helping me out finding the ball!! Watch out for the sniper with binoculars behind the trees its probably me!!When I am in Blind events I cannot use visual aids and so my work colleague Martyn Wright acts as my guide pointing me in the right direction
|I find it hard enough to hit decent shots with normal eyesight, so how do you go about playing a round? What method do you use.
|In Blind golf events Martyn stands behind me and I hold the club in front of me and he shows me the left, middle and right of the fairway along with distances and any hazard information I then hit it. On the greens I pace to the flag for distance and get a feel for the contours. Martyn will then tell me to open or close the putter face and I hit it. Obviously I hit all the great shots and Martyn the Bad ones!!!! Only kidding!!
|Is golf handicapping based on the standard system, and what is yours?
|My Club Handicap is 20 but I intend to improve this once more. My Blind Handicap is 15 which is calculated by taking a rolling two years of my Blind competition scores, choosing the best 50% of rounds and then averaging. EG if I have played 20 rounds then my best 10 cards are chosen. All competitions are off Yellow Tees. Blind golf has 3 categories. B1 no vision maximum handicap 56. B2 (me) up to 5% vision with maximum handicap 45. B3 up to about 10% vision maximum handicap 36.
|At the risk of showing me up, what’s your best score around Normanton?
|Not very good hence the recent handicap change but probably 90ish. My best round ever was in the English Blind Strokeplay in 2009. I shot 75 at Wharton Park Par and SS 71 (with a penalty drop and 1 three putt)
|What do you see as your greatest golfing achievement so far?
|It has to be winning the World Championship at Whittlebury Park in 2010 on the first hole of a sudden death play off with the defending champion
|To become so accomplished must require a lot of hard work on your part, how often do you play?
|I do not want to look big headed but my only practice is playing Normanton every other week and my Blind golf events.
|What clubs do you use, and what is your favourite club?
|Driver Nike SQ back in the bag after I fell out with my Ping K15. Ping G15 3 wood, Rescue clubs back to Nike CPR 18 and 22 degree. Irons all Ping G15 and traditional Ping Putter. All supplied by Gary. Favourite club at the moment my rescue clubs but like all golfers that changes often!!
|Have you met any of the stars of golf? Who are your favourites?
Gmac Andy and Westy. Well I met Gmac and Lee Westwood at the 2010 Sports personality of the Year show.’ Lee said "I hear you want to take me on?" , "That would be great" I replied. "How many shots will you give me?" asked Lee. Thinking quickly I replied "You can have 4 but we Tee off at midnight!!!!" Lee has a link on his web site to my web site (http://andysellars.webs.com/ ). As for favourite golfers, they are Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Tiger Woods.
|So, have you played with any of the big names?
|I was lucky enough in 2006 to be invited by my employer Barclays to play in the Pro Am of the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond in a 4 ball with Sandy Lyle, it was strokeplay best single score to count on each hole from the 4 man team. On the first hole the other two guests went OB (nerves), Sandy put his 3 wood (off the Black Tees) down the middle. I then hit Driver (from the Blue Tees ) 20 yards past him. He put his ball to 12 feet. I put mine over the green then chipped to 25 feet and then sunk the big swinging putt for 4 nett 3 telling Sandy “You can pick that up now!!” He replied “Do you mind if I have a practice for tomorrow" (the Barclays Scottish Open first Round proper) to which I confirmed “of course” laughing
|What’s the funniest thing to happen on a golf course
|My wife guided for me one year and I was hitting Driver and halfway on my down swing when she cried “STOP” which you all know at that point is impossible. I smashed the ball and ground and tee before turning to ask what Amanda had done that for, not feeling very happy, when I was met with. Your ball just fell off its tee. Luckily I had drop kicked the ball 100 yards. Thank goodness for 460cc Driver heads!!
|Your recognitions includes winner of the Wakefield and District 2011 Disabled Performance of the Year but I also read in the Express that you have been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch. That’s fantastic, how did you feel when you found out and where and when will it happen?
|It was Amanda my wife who nominated me and I was actually told in January but had to keep it quiet until March. It was amazing to be chosen. I am doing a leg on Monday 25th June 2012 at around lunchtime at Ackworth Moor Top
|What about Andy the person and life away from the golf course?
|I have a great family with my wife Amanda, Daughter Grace aged 5 (mad keen to have more golf lessons with Gary) and my son Isaac is 3 and cannot wait to be old enough to play Golf. I am a Business Support Director for Barclays whom I have worked for since leaving school in 1989 with great support of technology to undertake my role as well as support from great colleagues.
|It seems to me that you never rest on your laurels, so what’s coming up in the next 6 months on your schedule
|I have a Golf Day at Normanton 13th June for 87 local business professionals taking me on to raise money for Blind Golf (see here for results and photos) . 23rd/24th June is the English Blind Strokeplay then off to Halifax Nova Scotia with Martyn on the 10th July for the Blind Canadian Open and World Championships (check out http://www.nsga.ns.ca/ for results during the match). My last event of the year is then the Disabled British Open on the August Bank Holiday weekend at East Sussex National against all disabilities.
|Thanks for your time Andy, good luck with the upcoming competitions, and when I hit a fat shot and blame everything but myself, I might think twice in the future!