Special golfers have special coach

Paul Chapman gets a quick tip from Beacher Jason March, who has volunteered his time to help young people with disabilities play golf. PHOTO: Phil Lameira/Beach Metro News

A group of Special Olympics golf athletes have been quite busy improving their game over the summer. And what started in a gym has ended in a top notch indoor golfing facility with a professional coach, Jason March, a Beacher – not because they hit the lottery, but because of generosity and goodwill.

Joanna Verweel, a District Developer for Special Olympics Toronto Region, told us that finding a space and a coach for the program was a big challenge, and after a year they were put in touch with Lakeshore Links and its owner Brian Rattray, who did not hesitate in donating the space.

Lakeshore Links, located at 750 Lakeshore Blvd. (northeast corner of Lake Shore and Logan), has various rooms with golf simulators, and caters to all sorts of golf.

“It’s just a great thing to be involved in. Anytime that people can be active in sport to improve their skills,” said Rattray.

Both Verweel and Rattray were quick to give the bigger credit to March, who volunteers his time every Saturday morning.

“We’re very lucky to have Jason March, our head teaching pro,” said Rattray adding that the facilities don’t usually open until 9 a.m. on Saturdays, but March is there at 7 a.m. to open the doors and run the practices.

March, who has been golfing since he was eight years old, says he does it because it’s a great cause and “the group would otherwise not have the opportunity.”

A former student at Malvern Collegiate, March says that he has received nothing but great feedback from the parents and from his students.

Paul Chapman, one of the athletes, looks forward to spending Saturday mornings with his fellow golfers and March.

“Jason [March] is a good coach, I can’t say enough about the guy,” Paul told us. “This is a very nice program.”

Chapman said he has also been spending more time with his dad on the course because of the lessons, adding that “it’s a father and son thing, and I now get to play with my dad.”

Another athlete, Matthew Fields, said that “it’s a lot of fun and you get to learn a skill. Jason is a really good instructor.”

Robert Zandona says his son, Tino, really enjoys coming out every Saturday. He is planning on picking up the game himself.

“It’s just a bunch of really, really nice people, and that’s what’s it’s all about,” said March. He believes they have the right group of people involved and that’s why the program will continue to be a success.

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