Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Blind golfer hits hole-in-one and insists it’s all thanks to his loyal wife and guide

Blind golfer Gerry Kelly and his wife, caddie and guide Mary Kelly play some holes at Troon Welbeck Golf Club (James Chapelard / SWNS)
Blind golfer Gerry Kelly and his wife, caddie and guide Mary Kelly play some holes at Troon Welbeck Golf Club (James Chapelard / SWNS)

WHEN father-of-four Gerry Kelly went blind at the age of 40, he feared his life was over.

A high-flying laboratory manager with petrochemicals giant ICI, he had his future mapped out and didn’t for one minute think he would lose his sight.

But rather than let his blindness overcome him, Gerry decided to throw himself into golf – even though he’d never played before.

And now aged 75, after 36 years of trying, Gerry has notched up a hole in one.

It’s an achievement for which the odds are an estimated 12,500 to one even for a fully-sighted golfer – so for a blind man, it’s quite staggering.

Yet modest Gerry, who achieved the feat on the 12th hole at Montrose Links in Angus with a six iron, shrugs off praise and insists it’s his loyal wife Mary who should take the credit.

For it’s Mary, 70, who takes him to play, directs his aim on each shot, and spots where each ball lands on the course.

Gerry, from Troon, Ayrshire, explained: “We walk on to the tee and I have the club across my chest. Mary takes hold of the club and then directs me where to hit the ball.

“She then puts the club behind the ball and gives me a rough idea of the distance of the shot I’m attempting.

“Once I hit the shot, Mary spots where it lands. If I’m in a bunker, her help is really valuable as obviously I can’t tell where I’m aiming.

“When we get on to the green, Mary will tell me the rough distance to the hole and will judge the line I should putt. She then places my putter behind the ball again and I take the shot. Then we just repeat this process for all 18 holes.”

Gerry, a member of the Troon Welbeck club, finally realised his hole-in-one dream while playing in the Grampian Blind Golf Classic at Montrose course on August 2.

He teed off on the 12th – a par three of around 150 yards.

“I could feel the ball compress so knew it was a great shot.

“Looking back on it, obviously I’m very happy with the hole in one, but it was just a bonus to what was a great shot. You don’t often hit a shot like that.

“When I finished my round, I got a standing ovation in the clubhouse.”

Gerry’s blindness is caused by Stargards disease – a progressive disease of the retina – which was diagnosed in 1971.

After being registered blind in 1980, he had to medically retire from his job.

“I am not completely blind but I only have a little peripheral vision,” he said.

“I rely heavily on Mary. She is my eyes and without her I would be helpless.”

It was shortly after being registered blind and retiring from his job that Gerry found golf.

He was inspired by an article he’d read about American blind golfer Pat Browne Jr.

Pat, who lost his sight in a car accident, is the most successful blind golfer ever and was the first to record a hole in one.

Gerry said: “Pat ended up being my inspiration.”

And Mary?

She says she couldn’t be more proud of Gerry.

She said: “I have been guiding him for around 30 years and I am very proud of him, so are our four children and six grandchildren.

“Very few people know how difficult it was for Gerry.

“Golf gave Gerry something to put his heart into and it has been an amazing journey for him – and me as well.

“To see him get a hole in one after all these years…well, I have to say, that was a little bit special.”


Record-breaking golfer is still hitting the fairways aged 102

Watch: Giant alligator stuns golfers as it walks across the fairway