Tee time for Joe and the boys

Taonga and Marino Te Moni with their dad Joe Flavell on the Te Awamutu Golf course on Monday. Photo: Jeremy Smith.

That’s golf I suppose.”

Rotorua’s Joe Flavell had a rather honest assessment of the changing nature of his round of golf as he was on the back nine during the first day of the 2023 Disability Golf New Zealand Open in Te Awamutu on Monday.

As The News visited, he was excited though because his two sons, Marino and Taonga, had come from Auckland to join him.

“They have been to some of the other tournaments I have played in to watch before, but this is the first time we have all played together,” he said.

Te Awamutu’s Tony Lewis, left, David Latham and David Livingstone playing in the open. Photo: Jeremy Smith.

The trio were among a field of about 40 disability golfers at the two-day tournament this week at Te Awamutu Golf Club.

It’s the first time the open has been held in town – largely thanks to the drive of Mick Henderson – the Te Awamutu club’s sole “official” disability golfer.

Henderson was diagnosed with a hereditary blood circulation problem in his 40s shortly after running his sixth marathon, and both his legs were amputated below the knee in an 18-month timeframe when he was in his sixties.

About 120 competitors from all over the North Island took the course over two-day open which was also open to able-bodied golfers.

Alongside the tournament, Henderson is helping raise $50,000 so Disability Golf New Zealand can purchase a paragolfer cart.

It is designed to help golfers living with a disability play and has the user strapped in the cart’s seat which can be adjusted from a seated position to suit various playing stances.

Welsford’s Roger Dunning heads off to the next hole. Photo: Jeremy Smith.

Disability Golf New Zealand secretary Cathryn Bristow said Te Awamutu was proving a fantastic venue.

“Part of our goal is to not only provide people with the opportunity to play golf but also to bring the open to different parts of the country.

“On both fronts, this has been a fantastic success.”

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