Boy, 10, with limb difference ‘excited’ to play golf with grandfather thanks to tool

Freddie, 10, was selected o test out a prosthetic arm during a special coaching session at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes (PA)
Freddie, 10, was selected o test out a prosthetic arm during a special coaching session at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes (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, 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.”

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.

“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.

“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.”

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