Alun Smith

Alun Smith

Nationality
wal Wales
Current Team
Wales – Sport Parkinson’s Four Nations Golf 2021

I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease at 44 years of age in 2009, having had symptoms since as far back as 2005. In my working life, I’m a  Chartered Civil Engineer, Fellow of the Institutes of Highways and Transportation and Civil Engineers, and Contracts Director for a large Civil engineering contractor based in  Abergavenny. As my employer for the last 23 years, they have provided me with every possible facility to allow me to keep working , although now in a reduced capacity due to the illness, and I cannot thank them enough.

Out of work my main passion was rugby, playing over 350 senior games spanning a 14 year career. Cycling replaced the rugby for many years, the highlight being the London to Paris ride in 2011, until the Disease forced me to stop riding endurance events in 2018. Needing something to fill the gap, I was persuaded by friends to give golf a try so I took a  membership at the Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club just outside Porthcawl, a links course that is a challenge for the best of golfers, let alone a complete novice with a movement disorder.

Three years on and the game of golf continues to help keep the Disease at bay, helping to maintain my hand eye coordination, balance,  fitness,  flexibility and mental health. Despite being asked to take on the Captaincy, I am  definitely the golfing novice in the Welsh team. My  handicap is currently 16.

Thank you to Charlie Appleyard and the Sport Parkinson’s team, not only for inviting me to play in this fantastic event, but for opening my eyes to what is possible with an idea, a belief, and a determination to succeed against the odds. Truly inspiring.