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Visually impaired golfers swing into new season in Saskatoon

WATCH ABOVE: Visually impaired golfers were warming up their swings at the Saskatoon Golf Dome.

It’s time for the annual shake off the rust for a group of visually impaired golfers in Saskatoon as they get ready for the upcoming golf season.

That’s according to the executive director for the Saskatchewan Blind Sports Association.

“It gives them a bit of practice before the actual season starts,” Nikhil Khanna said. “After that, there are provincials and then nationals. Judy [Ursulan] won a gold medal in nationals last year in Nova Scotia. We have a pretty competitive golf team in Saskatchewan.”

The association has been around since 1950.

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Khanna said there has recently been a lull in terms of popularity with its sports and the public, but that has started to change.

“I feel the people are getting away from it, but it is surging up again,” Khanna said. “I feel millennials are really helpful these days.”

The association also consists of curling, bowling, paddling, and goalball.

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Judy Ursulan, 68, has been playing blind golf for over 30 years, but said it’s an activity she didn’t want to participate in at first.

“I had a good friend [who] I grew up within the same community [in Regina],” Ursulan said. “He got on my pace and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. And he just wouldn’t let it go. I finally decided to buy clubs and start swinging and continued from there.”

She said there is always room for more blind golfers and everybody has a chance to play in westerns, provincials, and nationals.

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She added it’s important to have to a good coach somebody you know well.

And anybody who is thinking of joining will get a pep talk of sorts from Ursulan herself, she said.

“I will talk to them about what it pertains, and how to get involved and what we do to get people going,” she said. “If they are interested in golfing, once you get into it and get a year or two under your belt, you’re hooked.”

Now, the three-time national medalist is preparing for westerns and provincials which takes place in southern B.C. in July.