So you think you have some pressing issues with your driver, irons and putter when shanks, skulls or slices creep into your game on the golf course.

The chances are your golfing concerns will rapidly pale in comparison when you find out what it was like for Guy Harrison when he first picked up a club.

"I used to just miss a lot of shots," says Harrison who has cerebral palsy and plays with a T35 physical disability (the smaller the numeral the higher the degree of disability).

"It was a very difficult sport when I started but I'm all right now with all the time I've put into practising," says the Napier Boys' High School pupil who had his first swing when he was 5 and lost count of the number of air shots soon after.


To put his issues in perspective with able-bodied players, it pays to know Harrison had grappled with his balance and co-ordination to the extent where it must have felt like lining up a shot on the deck of a ferry crossing the Cook Strait in rough weather.

"It was a good sport for me because I needed something where I could just walk around and try to get my limbs moving," says the battler, an 11 handicapper who is among a full field which will tee off to an 11am shotgun start at the Napier Golf Club in the annual charity tourney today to help raise money for the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation.

An accomplished para-athlete, who has dreams of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, the 16-year-old finds the Eagles Golfing Society of Hawke's Bay-hosted tourney is close to his heart because the proceeds go towards the Halberg Junior Disability Games.

The games are a national, three-day sport competition for physically disabled and visually impaired 8 to 21-year-olds to be staged at King's College in Auckland from Friday, October 6, to Sunday, October 8.

Sir Brian Lochore, a Halberg Foundation member and honorary HB Eagles member, is again a player and chief guest speaker at Napier club.

Bay Eagles Society secretary/treasurer Jamie MacLeod says a full field will enjoy listening to the former All Black player, coach and selector from Wairarapa.

"For the first time we have had the pub charity come on board so that's been very helpful in enabling us to have $6000 in prizes," says MacLeod after the society donated $14,000 to the Halberg Sport Disability Trust last year.

Harrison says over the years he adopted his own style while emulating his father, Keith, a NBHS maths teacher, although nowadays the teenager offers his 28-handicapper dad some tips.


"He used to beat me but now I often beat him."

That "style" of Harrison's entails holding the club in baseball fashion.

"My play is normal but my grip is different," says the Hawke's Bay Pathway to Podium Programme member of a grip that departs from the golfing instruction manuals.

He started entering amateur age-group competitions in the Bay when he turned 8 before winning his first age-group competition three years later.

But, more importantly, the right-hander saw a remarkable improvement in his balance and co-ordination.

The Napier club member, who started with a 36 handicap, had whittled it down to 18 when he was 11. Last year he was down to an 11 handicap.

While he has been swotting throughout weekends for his exams, the year 11 pupil is delighted that he can tee up at his home club for the second time.

"I'm going to try to win something," he says with a laugh, simply enjoying the competitive nature of a code where you can try to blame someone or something for your failures but lap up the kudos when the stars align with the sun and moon.

He is averse to playing bad but never beats himself for it. Thankfully, the days of losing too many balls are gone.

Napier club professional Andrew Henare has honed his skills over the years.

The former Tamatea Intermediate pupil was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 3 following a "febrile convulsion", which resulted in him losing balance, mobility and speech and cheating death a few times.

Intense therapy followed and he has shown tremendous determination and courage to make incremental gains to attain goals in athletics, triathlon, rowing and swimming.

"With the Halberg games coming up it is pretty big for me to play in a Halberg-sponsored competition," he says, hoping golf will one day be included in the Paralympics as well.

"We're very proud of Guy especially because he is one of those the Halberg Disability Trust supports," says MacLeod.

The Eagle Society also will announce the HB Golfer of the Year for the first time today.