Paul Ellison – every step he takes

Paul Ellison – every step he takes

The Resident will be publishing a series of excerpts from chapters of ‘Mulligan – tough love and second chances’. The book contains 18 personal accounts of players with a disability, competing in the game of golf.

Their inspiring stories are sure to be of interest to many readers and the book comes with a unique ‘Give and Gift’ feature which also plays a supportive role in hospitals and health centres. Here is the seventh in the series.

Golf is a wonderful sport that can help people with a range of disabilities to thrive. The health, social and competitive benefits can be remarkable, something Paul Ellison has discovered as golf has also helped him to make his living; at the Home of Golf no less, in St Andrews, Scotland.

Paul is one of 18 EDGA golfers who are featured in a 2019 book called ‘MULLIGAN – tough love and second chances’. The inspiring stories of these players are sure to be of interest to many readers (see end of article), while for each copy secured by donation, a hospital/clinic also benefits from receiving a free copy.

To set foot on the Old Course, St Andrews, is special for any golfer, but to walk the hallowed turf as a player and caddie more than 5,000 times is a rare privilege which Paul Ellison has both enjoyed, and endured. For when taking over 50 million steps on the course, much of the time each footstep has been painful for this friendly Scot.

Paul is an accomplished golfer, but for the last 30 years his life’s work has been helping players to enjoy their experience of the links. First as a caddie for two decades, with players such as actor Samuel L Jackson benefiting from his sage advice, while more recently – as his disability of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia has progressed – as one of the people who make sure that the players and caddies are all where they are supposed to be, in his working role for the St Andrews Links Trust.

Few people will know the local links as Paul does; he demonstrates an innate understanding of the course, the nuances of the terrain, the dangers and capricious greens; he also has a deep knowledge of the game itself and a keen interest in the psyche of golfers.

His HSP condition is progressive, and in its mildest form renders those it affects with stiffness and spasticity of the legs. By practising Pilates to lengthen the muscles and tendons, while keeping active, he hopes to slow any progression which would further reduce his mobility.

Golf has given Paul a gift and he believes the sport is missing an enormous opportunity as it is an ideal game for players of all abilities. Even having the chance to just hit a few balls at the local range can be therapeutic and a way into golf for many with a disability – a steppingstone into the sport.

In the last year, Paul has been able to help promote the work of EDGA, the international body that helps people with disability to thrive through the power of golf. Paul has represented EDGA at awareness events, including those held with leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM. RSM is supporting EDGA as together they work to encourage 500,000 new players to try the game.

Please visit www.edgagolf.com/book for details of the Give and Gift campaign, and the opportunity to donate and receive a complimentary copy of ‘MULLIGAN – tough love and second chances’ as a token of EDGA’s appreciation.