Brendan Lawlor: Irishman Who Enjoys Opportunity to Raise the Profile of Golf with Disabilities

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Lawlor has a rare condition called Ellis-van Creveld syndrome a hereditary bone growth disorder

"I feel very happy and privileged to be it. We create these opportunities for people with different types of disabilities."

Brendan Lawlor says he'll never stop fighting ".

He's been doing it from the moment he was born with a hole in his heart and with the rare limb-limiting condition Ellis-van Creveld syndrome, meaning 23-year-old syndrome Old grandstand at 120 cm

The Dundalk man became the First disabled golfer to compete in the European Tour when he competed in the UK Championship at the Belfry last August.

Rounds of 84 and 82 gave Lawlor feeling that he had not done himself justice on the playing front, but the experience still represented a week that "changed my life".

"I had to get the hole in my heart repaired when I was six weeks old," Lawlor told BBC Radio Ulster's Sportsound.

"It was supposed to be three months old, but I wouldn't have survived it if they hadn't had surgery that day.

"The doctors said it took me six months to recover, but I was out of the hospital in 10 days, so that was an indication of my fighter's attitude."

Lawlors love for golf, cherished by grandfather

His zeal for golf was nurtured by his beloved grandfather, who decided to teach young Lawlor the game despite his handicap.

& # 39; He had a kind of fantasy of one of his grandchildren picking up golf clubs and getting on with them, ”said Lawlor.

"I spent many, many days in the garden while he practiced and sharpened my short game. And that's certainly where the passion came from."

By his teens, Lawlor was one of the best youth players at Dundalk Golf Club and then represented it in Emerald Isle's premier club competition, the Irish Senior Cup.

Opponents who took on Lawlor at the time often woke up rude.

"You would go to events and people would say it would be an easy match because I looked different.

" Then they would be shocked if I beat them on the 14th or 15th [hole]. From there it kind of took off. I was always a confident man and believed in my own ability.

Lawlor signed a professional deal in 2019 with Niall Horan & # 39; s Modest Golf management agency

& # 39; They treat me like Tyrrell Hatton & # 39; # 39;

It was only four years that Lawlor realized there were potential avenues in golf for the disabled that have since changed his life.

the day he spoke to BBC Radio Ulster, Lawlor was one of the main speakers at a press conference to announce details of this year's World Invitational mixed men and women event, which will take place in Northern Ireland in July.

Other speakers included Keith Pelley, CEO of European Tour, and pop star and golf fanatic Niall Horan, who signed Lawlor to his management agency Modest Golf in 2019. Clients include Tyrrell Hatton , the number five of the world ld, and Irish LPGA player Leona Maguire.

"I am now part of the stable two years after signing for them as a professional. They & # 39; I never treated me differently. They treated me like Tyrrell Hatton and Leona Maguire… just like a normal person, ”Lawlor said.

"I really enjoyed the trip. It's like a small family we have."

Signed deal with club manufacturer

Lawlor & # 39; s link with Modest has also recently seen him sign a deal with one of the leading manufacturers. Adjustments have been made to the specifications of his club, which he believes will further improve his game.

"I just got a whole new knowledge of where to go with my clubs. I still use standard length clubs because I don't want to give away distance, but I have them three degrees bent so that my face is perpendicular to the target, ”he said.

"Signing with those guys this year was a huge bonus and I improved my game a lot. I never really enjoyed that side."

As it stands, Lawlor is the fourth in the world with a handicap golf rankings and his big dream is to help establish a professional circuit for disabled players.

"I want to get more people into the game and there is also talk of a European Tour Disabled Golf Association in addition to the European Tour, which allows disabled golfers to make a living from the game," added Lawlor, who hopes the sport will be at the Paralympic Games by the time the 2028 Games take place in Los Angeles.

"I'm trying to create a path for everyone to have those opportunities.

" It has to start with someone. I feel very happy and privileged to be it. We create these opportunities for people with different types of disabilities. "

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