Brendan Lawlor, a proud Irishman born with Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, a bone growth disorder that leads to shorter limbs, is putting disability golf firmly in the limelight. A five-time European Disabled Golf Association winner and current No. 4-ranked golfer in the World Rankings for Golfers with a Disability, Brendan has broken down every barrier put in his way to reach the top of his sport. Here’s how he’s inspiring others to do the same.
To be the best in the world at something, you’re going to have to overcome adversity in some shape or form. For me, I’ve gone from having heart surgery at just eight weeks old to stepping onto the first tee of a European Tour event. I’ve always tackled adversity head-on and refused to let anything – even a rare disease – hold me back. To be honest, confronting a challenge is all part of the fun. You must be willing to stand up to anything in your way.
Historically, golf has been an elitist sport with many boundaries, but in the modern world that’s changing. For me it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, black or white, able bodied or disabled, you’re an athlete and you have every right to compete and play how you wish. My goal is to bring more people to golf and show them nothing can hold you back from playing this great game. I receive messages on Instagram every day from all walks of life asking me how to get into golf. It fills me with pride that I might be inspiring the next generation.
My mission is to bring more awareness to disability golf at all levels of the game. I’m working with the European Tour on a professional disability tour for 2022. That’d bring such huge opportunity for disability golfers around the world to fulfil a dream. After the successful addition of golf in the Olympics, I’d love nothing more than to tee it up at the Paralympics. That’s another dream of mine, and one I’m going to keep working on to make it a reality.