Thomas Hall

PhD Researcher
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Psychology and Sport Science

[email protected]

Thesis title:

Developing a sport-specific, evidence-based classification system for golfers with a visual impairment.

Supervisory team

Dr Ash Willmott
Prof Peter Allen
Dr Niall Hynes – External at University of Huddersfield

Research group

Thomas is a member of our Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences (CCSES): Inclusivity and Safety in Sport, Physical Activity and Occupational Settings. And also the Vision and Hearing Sciences Research Centre.

Summary of research

Sports must have a sport-specific, evidence-based classification system to be considered for Paralympic eligibility. The current classification system used in visually impaired golf falls short of this requirement so through a joint effort between the European Disabled Golf Associated (EDGA) and ARU, we will be developing a new classification system to meet Paralympic criteria and improve the competitiveness of existing tournaments.

The present visual standard used to grade athletes with vision impairment relies on visual acuity (VA) and doesn't consider other visual functions, such as visual field (VF). It is accepted that a better standard of grading may include factors in addition to VA and this will require an evidence base to determine the precise detail. This information is essential in order to make classification robust and to increase inclusion and participation in golf for athletes and individuals with vision impairment (VI).

Therefore, the aim of this PhD project is to design a golf-specific classification system for golfers with a vision impairment and will be undertaken in collaboration with the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA).

Recent presentations and conferences

Hall, T. E. D. and Birtles, D. (2022) ‘From the boardroom to the clubhouse: using a novel qualitative data collection method to inform interviews exploring the role of golf club membership in the retirement transition process’, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 14(3), pp. 382–396. doi: 10.1080/2159676X.2021.1912164.