Harrington tees up for deaf
PÁDRAIG Harrington has
become the face of a new initiative to help deaf
people learn the rules of golf.
The two-times major winner has fronted a film that
has been signed in British Sign Language (BSL) to
help deaf golfers learn the rules in relation to
water hazards, lost balls, bunker debris and other
Harrington made the original video at his home club
of Dun Laoghaire on behalf of golf's governing body,
the Royal & Ancient (R&A). Harrington is the R&A
'Working for Golf Ambassador'. The R&A subsequently
teamed up with BSL experts Signworld on a signed
version to assist golfers who rely on sign language
The ten-minute 'Quick
Guide to the Rules of Golf' is signed by deaf
interpreter Nicholas Padden who enjoyed the
"challenge" of trying to match Harrington's
personality and style.
”It’s been a real privilege to interpret for such a
great champion golfer as Padraig Harrington. I
understand he has a quick delivery in an Irish
brogue!" he said.
Mr Padden was assisted in his interpretation of
Harrington's instructions by Signworld director and
keen golfer Linda Day.
“Information in written English isn’t always clear
to deaf people. I’d now expect to see fewer
arguments between deaf golfers about what they think
the rules mean," added Ms Day.
According to the last Census, there are
approximately 3,500 users of Irish Sign Language
here. While the language is very different to BSL,
users should be able to follow Harrington's signed
"British Sign Language is very different to Irish
Sign Language but many Irish deaf people have some
degree of receptive proficiency for BSL given its
widespread use on British TV, unlike in Ireland
where ISL has very little airtime," said Professor
Lorraine Leeson, director of the Centre for Deaf
Studies at Trinity College Dublin.
Meanwhile, a team of deaf Irish golfers and their
manager hopes to compete in the 10th World Deaf Golf
Championship in Michigan, US, this July.