Boy with limb difference ‘excited’ to play golf with grandfather thanks to tool

Boy with limb difference ‘excited’ to play golf with grandfather thanks to tool
Freddie Tarr tested out a new prosthetic arm at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes (Nick Tarr/PA)

A 10-year-old golf fan who has a congenital limb difference has said it will be “really nice to spend more time” with his grandfather on the golf course thanks to a new prosthetic tool.

Freddie Tarr, who lives with his family in Bournemouth, was part of a group of primary-aged children with congenital limb differences who were invited to test out a “world-first” prosthetic arm during a special coaching session at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes in May.

The tool has been engineered by upper limb prosthetics company Koalaa in collaboration with EDGA, formerly the European Disabled Golf Association, with the aim of enhancing the ability of players with upper limb differences to effectively use a golf club.

While the process is still in its early stages, the session at Woburn was the first time that younger players had been invited to test out the prototype device.

Freddie Tarr holding a golf clubFreddie Tarr said it was ‘really fun’ to test out the golf prosthetic arm (Nick Tarr/PA)

Freddie, whose arm did not develop fully at birth, told the PA news agency on Sunday: “It was really fun to play golf, it’s really hard but it was different with the golf arm.”

He said it would be “really nice” to “spend more time” with his grandfather, an avid golfer, thanks to the prosthetic.

Freddie’s father, Nick Tarr, 38, told PA: “The thing that was so exciting about it was he finished up the day asking when him and my dad could go out to the driving range and start playing a bit of golf.

“(My dad) was a very, very good quality scratch player and it’s his main pastime.”

Freddie Tarr on a mountain bike while using a Koalaa tool to hold the handlebarsFreddie Tarr also uses a Koalaa tool to help him hold the handlebars while mountain biking (Nick Tarr/PA)

Mr Tarr said his son was “inspired” from the day at Woburn after seeing older players with limb differences take to the course.

“We watched a player on the driving range – he didn’t have a Koalaa arm, he had something a little bit bigger, but we watched him and we watched another player who had an above-knee amputation.

“The thing that (Freddie) said at the end was watching them allowed him to know he can do anything.”

Mr Tarr added that Koalaa has been a “game-changer” for his son, who uses the company’s prosthetics to help with sports such as mountain biking and surf lifesaving.

“As a parent – and I get quite emotional talking about Koalaa – but for us they have been an absolute game-changer in the way they’ve delivered prosthetics and the personalised experienced we get is just incredible,” he said.

Koalaa prosthetics are available for those with below-elbow and partial hand limb differences, helping with sports and other hobbies such as yoga, tennis, surfing and guitar playing.

Ten-year-old Joanie Melady, from South Oxfordshire, who has the Koalaa tennis tool named after her, also tested out the golf prosthetic at Woburn Golf Club.

Joanie Melady testing out the golfing toolTen-year-old Joanie Melady also tested out the new golfing arm, saying she ‘got a hole in two’ (Alan Melady/PA)

“It was interesting, it was fun. I got a hole in two, which was a lucky go,” she told PA.

She added that being around other children with limb differences “makes me feel like I belong”.

Joanie’s father, Alan Melady, 43, said: “After we finished at Woburn, Joanie said to me ‘Can we go and play golf this weekend?’

“She loves sport and she always makes you proud when you’re seeing her doing something that she hasn’t been able to do before.

“You could see there was a lot more control in her swing and you could see from the get-go that she has a really nice swing.

Joanie Melady holding a golf clubJoanie Melady playing golf at Woburn Golf Club (Alan Melady/PA)

“Who knows what we might do in the future, and if she wants to play golf when she’s a bit older, she’s got that option.”

Golf coach Mark Taylor said it was “brilliant” to welcome the children to the golf club.

“Tools, like the one we’re developing with Koalaa, are so important for aiding inclusivity and making golf accessible for all,” he said.

“We want everyone, no matter what age, ability or experience level, to know that golf is for them.”

Nate Macabuag, founder of Koalaa, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with the team at EDGA on this development project.

“Together, we hope to inspire people with limb differences of all ages to pick up a club and hit the golf course.”

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