Liliane Cambré

Liliane Cambré – women golfers who refuse to be defined by their disability

Liliane Cambré sits on the terrace at the golf course at Vila Sol, in the Algarve, leisurely drinking a coffee before making her final preparations for her first round in the EDGA Algarve Open (late November 2023), a ‘G4D’ (golf for the disabled) event.

This bright and friendly woman who lives in Lille, Belgium, smiles and chats with her fellow players. Liliane has risen early as is her normal routine because, six years after her accident, she needs a little time to prepare her body for the rigours of tournament day. Work is needed on her left leg to “get going”, including lots of stretches before the actual practice on her long and short game so that she is ready to play well.

At these EDGA G4D events, she says she loves meeting fellow players and is always impressed by their will to play well on the course but also have a great time together after the round. “The spirit here, it gives you energy,” says Liliane. “Meeting up in something we all love.”

Liliane Cambré

Her home club is GolfClub Witbos (White Woods) in Noorderwijk.

Liliane was already a golfer before the accident. This happened in 2017 when she and her husband were on holiday in Iceland. Walking along a street near the docks, she was hit on one side by an on-coming truck and knocked under one of the wheels, severely crushing her left leg as the driver hit the brakes.

Surgeons saved her leg before Liliane spent three months in hospital back home in Leuven, and then two months in a rehab clinic in Turnhout. It was a tough few months, 30 times she had to go under general anaesthetic for surgery to rebuild her leg. “But I had my leg,” says Liliane, grateful for all the support she received.

Liliane invented her own addition to therapy. “I was in the rehab unit and asked for my putter and three balls. I balanced myself against the bed so that I wouldn’t fall, and I was putting in the room. When I putted the three balls, I had to take the steps to get them back. So that was my exercise and it worked!”

Liliane Cambré

Liliane’s current golf handicap is around 24. Having been pleased with her golfing progress before the accident, her leg injury has limited her freedom of movement in the swing, particularly through impact where previously she would have driven harder against the left leg and into her follow-through. “About 50 metres less” is her summation about her shorter driving distance, hence all her work to improve her skill and accuracy on the practice range.

Liliane has won EDGA supported tournaments in Portugal and Bavaria, and she was in the Belgium team which won the Nations Cup as part of the EGA’s European Team Championship in 2022. She has been Belgium’s women’s national champion in two successive years.

The second round at Vila Sol was underway and, four hours or so later, this writer checked the leaderboard to see the name ‘Liliane Cambré’ at the top as the winner of the Stableford division.

There could not have been a more popular winner, and she was cheered when she picked up her prize.