Kevin Harmison, 47 from Bedlington, Northumberland, is one of the UK’s leading disabled golfers with a 2 handicap, who amongst many accolades, has recently won the Scottish Disability Golf Partnership (SDGP) Open Championships and is now planning further success thanks to his new and unique fairway-friendly TGA mobility scooter.
Following in a family tradition, Kevin has been a talented sportsman from a very early age and before playing golf full-time, he was a successful part-time cricketer who played for the North of England and an accomplished semi-professional footballer. For 18 years he played for teams such as Bedlington Terriers FC and regularly took on the role of Captain whilst playing at Centre-half. Kevin would always ‘lead from the front’ and thoroughly enjoyed the game before his industrial accident on 15 July 2004, which tragically resulted in him losing a leg. He was working a night shift at an aluminum foundry when during a smelting procedure he accidentally slipped into a melting pot, which resulted in extensive burns to his leg and subsequent amputation. He spent over two months in hospital and a further two years experiencing medical complications and undergoing rehabilitation following this horrific ordeal – a highly draining period in Kevin’s life. However he pulled through and began playing golf more regularly, which through his natural sporting prowess, resulted in his handicap dropping to near Scratch despite his disability. A near perfect golf swing was now not an issue, however Kevin’s mobility in and away from the course was becoming a challenge until he saw a new type of mobility scooter at the Scottish Disability Open Championships in Kinross.
Kevin explains: “I am proud of my achievements to date on the golf course with tournament wins in the UK and across Europe, notable against 70 entrants during a competition in Valencia and at the Disabled British Open, however I am always looking to improve my game. Straightforward accessibility around the course is crucial for this and so I was really excited to see this new type of Breeze Golf mobility scooter when playing in Kinross. TGA Mobility the manufacturer were supporting the Scottish Open and brought along one of the models to the course. Some of the competitors recognised it immediately from its appearance on BBC Top Gear and I really liked the idea of the Breeze not only being fairway-friendly with wider wheels similar to a golf buggy, but also being road legal and having a 30-mile range. The fact that you could just load up your clubs on the special attachment and go appealed to me, plus my everyday would be so much easier away from the course.”
Kevin continues: “Considering I am looking to enter more Pro-Am competitions next year and have a sponsorship deal undergoing development, increased mobility during these events will be essential for me which this TGA Breeze will now deliver. If I am to compete on the elite tour of disabled golf against the likes of the world famous one-legged Manual de los Santos, I need to spend even more time on the course and training, which I can now do. I am also keen to get involved with pushing for Paralympic golf to be a recognised event by 2016 as the sport will be played at the Olympics for the first time in Rio. Qualification to be a member of Team GB needs to be taking place very soon in my opinion and I would be delighted to have the opportunity to represent my country. My game keeps improving and I think I would have a great chance of bringing home a medal.”
The 12km/h (8mph) Breeze S4 Golf is a 4-wheel mobility scooter that is part of the renowned Breeze family from TGA. It has an established and respected reputation for providing exceptional reliability, comfort and build quality and the Golf version is adapted with wider wheels and an optional golf bag attachment. The wider tyres provide softer contact with fairways so that good traction is maintained without damaging the playing surface. It has a range of up to 48km (30 miles) that is ample range for 18 holes and the Breeze can safely climb a 9.5 degree slope – perfect for manoeuvring around bunkers and out of bounds if needed.
Kevin summarises: “My golf club at Newbiggin has been so supportive of me and welcomes the use of my new Breeze Golf. It has helped to increase my time on the course actually hitting a ball instead of walking which has made a big difference to my training regime. Now I have complete access to the course and local area, I feel sure I could achieve even more in 2013 if I can find additional sponsors to fund my tour plans. As I grew up in a hard working Geordie family with very little money, I am no stranger to a challenge and now my accident is far behind me, I am ready for anything.”
Daniel Stone, TGA’s Managing Director concludes: “We are delighted to hear that our new Breeze Golf is making such a difference to Kevin and his prospects for further tournament wins in the future. TGA are always committed to supporting individuals, groups and societies wanting to improve independence, inclusion and enjoyment – we believe the TGA Breeze S4 Golf mobility scooter does just that.”