Lachlan Wood is part of a growing legion of All-Abilities players making their way.
In his third year of the Membership Pathway Program to become a full vocational member of the PGA of Australia, Lachlan Wood has made an impressive start to 2023. First he claimed victory in the Victorian Inclusive Championship at 13th Beach Golf Links, before following it up with another win at the All-Abilities Players Series in the Hunter Valley [pictured].
The 31-year-old always set out to be a professional golfer, managing to get his handicap down to 3 at the age of 15, before he was a passenger in a single-car accident that changed his life.
“I had a lot of complications following my injury,” he recalls. “It took me a bit more than two years to get back to playing golf, but by that time, a lot of my friends were going to college or on the verge of turning professional themselves. I had to start from scratch; re-learning how to walk and struggling to put weight on my foot.”
Although his passion for the game remained, things started to look a bit different for Wood in the wake of his injury. He managed to get his handicap back down to 1, but found that he was in a lot of pain the day after a round, and golf in the harsh Victorian winter was often a bridge too far.
A move to Queensland ensued, where the warmer temperature and humidity made golf a more realistic possibility, while the chance to pursue a career as a PGA professional gave him renewed optimism in the sport.
“I enrolled in the Membership Pathway Program in 2020, and having the chance to do that has re-ignited my spark for golf,” he smiles. “It has been such a long road back to golf for me; I play for the love of the game, but to have the chance to stay in the system in this way is amazing.”
Based at Hervey Bay Golf & Country Club, three-and-a-half hours north of Brisbane, Wood has found nice rhythm there and a sense of purpose as he tees up his career in golf.
“I’ve got a great base there, good support and flexibility,” Wood explains.
Now responsible for a range of junior and school programs at the club, Wood is enjoying the challenge of balancing his work commitments with studying and continuing to thrive on the golf course.
No small thing, it is his unwavering determination that sees him through.
“I’m easily doing 30,000 kilometres per year in the car between working, getting to events and the rest of it,” he says. “It’s a lot, and driving for prolonged periods can be quite hard on my body considering my mobility and flexibility. It can be a challenge, but I get such great support from my partner and the club.”
Wood is aware that the challenges are going to keep coming, as he faces an increased workload this year, combined with the chance to play more All-Abilities events after such a successful start to
“Now that this door to playing more has opened up, that balancing act is going to be magnified with work, assignments and maintaining my playing standard,” he explains. “But to have all of these various opportunities to play and work in the sport for people with a disability is awesome.”
Optimistic about the future, Wood is buoyed by the exponential growth in the game at Hervey Bay during the past four years. The club has doubled in size in that time and is now flush with members. There is a real appetite for the game throughout the town, and it is one that Wood hopes to play a role in fostering.
“There is no doubt my perspective has shifted over the years,” he says. “I want to help make golf accessible for everyone in Hervey Bay. There’s clearly an appetite for it, and I want to help everyone enjoy the game, no matter their ability.
“I also want to see where this All-Abilities golf can go and find out just how far I can take it.”
Based on his recent form and unflappable resolve, it shapes as a truly exciting proposition.
• To find your nearest PGA professional, use the PGA’s updated find a PGA pro feature at pga.org.au/find-a-pga-pro/