Link December 2018 Volume 27 Issue 6 - Page 25

J ames Gribble was working as an investment banker in London and had a low single- digit handicap playing golf around the world, when in 2008, he became a quadriplegic. “In the first couple of days after I broke my neck in Africa, I started plotting my way back to my biggest passions,” he said. “Lying there in hospital with no movement from my head down, the thought of being able to stand and swing a golf club drove me almost daily to fight for recovery. Even those Empower Golf founder James Gribble on the golf course, and Ben Tullipan from the Gold Coast hub (opposite page). first nights, as silly as it might sound, I used to play rounds of golf in my head … shot by shot, hole by hole. “The physical exertion is one thing, but the most powerful is the psychological side. Any time I feel a “We hope Empower Golf can provide that initial spark for someone to realise they can pursue a passion they thought they had lost, or try an activity for the first time.” little bit stale I find a way to the golf course and within two shots my mind a resort for people with spinal injury furniture importer. The first person is clear, energised and super positive on Sydney’s northern beaches. airlifted back to Australia, Ben now again. I can’t imagine life without it.” As well as New South Wales, walks again thanks to two prosthetic legs and his never give up attitude. The psychological, physical Empower Golf has hubs in Victoria, and social benefits associated with Western Australia and Queensland. golf inspired James to establish A new hub recently opened in of rehabilitation and recreation and, Empower Golf, with its mission to Tasmania, and there are plans to after running a series of disability make golf accessible to Australians open in South Australia within a year. golf clinics in Queensland, Ben met of all abilities. James has combined “We should have 16 hubs Ben took up golf in 2007 as a form James. They realised they shared his passion for golf with the skills of established by the end of 2018 and a common journey and common his corporate background to help are hoping for 40 by the end of 2020,” goals and since then, Ben has change people’s lives. James said. run Empower Golf for his home “Golf allows people of all abilities All hubs are run by people to access the great outdoors, meet sharing James’ passion for golf and new people, try a new challenge, feel promoting the sport for Australians a sense of achievement, and tune out of all abilities. for a couple of hours from the fast- paced world we all live in,” he said. James is based in Sydney, where In Queensland, Ben Tullipan runs state, arranging disability golf clinics and growing the game. “We hope Empower Golf can provide that initial spark for someone to realise they can pursue a passion an Empower Golf hub on the Gold they thought they had lost, or try an Coast. Ben was the worst injured activity for the first time,” James said. he works closely with the Royal survivor from the Bali bombings Rehabilitation Hospital, and is an in October 2002. Ben had been in uses a ParaGolfer, an all-terrain ambassador for Sargood on Collaroy, Bali on a buying trip as a successful wheelchair that raises the user into linkonline.com.au On the golf course, James people 25