Bionic glove could help golfing prodigy, 10, go professional despite only having ONE HAND


A 10-year-old boy born with one hand is being tipped to become a professional golfer after having a special bionic glove made for him.

Leo Millar has already learnt to master the game using just one hand after the birth defect left him without fingers on his right hand.

The schoolboy, who only started playing the game seven weeks ago, can already expertly chip and putt a golf ball.

But now the youngster is being tipped for golfing success after the silicone prosthetic was made for him by a leading orthopaedic clinic.

The flexible glove attaches to his right wrist and has a handle on the end of it that grips any golf club, allowing Leo to swing with two hands for the first time.

As a result the youngster is now able to hit balls 200 yards – a distance amateur adults would be happy with. He has also been told he has a text book perfect golf swing.

Leo’s handicap is rapidly coming down and his aim is to one day play in the Open championship alongside hero Rory McIlroy.

His bespoke glove has been given the all-clear by the the game’s governing body the Royal and Agent.

His proud father Ian, a 45-year-old company director, said: ‘Leo has always been very determined because of his disability and he seems to have a natural sporting ability.

‘He only picked up a golf club for the first time two months ago and he just seemed to be a natural at it.

‘He was swinging away left handed but despite only using one hand he could hit the ball really well.

‘I took him up the practice ground at my local golf club and when the professionals saw him and realised he had only been playing for two days they offered him free lessons.

‘He has been told that his has a perfect golf swing – it is text book.

‘Now with the new prosthetic limb on he is using both hands and arms for the first time and can hit the ball 200 yards.

‘There is no holding him back now.’

Leo, from Poole, Dorset, was born with the hand deformity but it hasn’t let the sports-mad youngster hold him back.

He is already an expert skateboarder and is just two belts away from becoming a Karate black belt but is now focusing on golf.

Leo, who lives with mother Sara, 42, and sister Kirra, 13, said: ‘I went into our garage a few weeks ago and picked up one of dad’s golf clubs and started hitting a ball on the green outside our house.

‘I did have my right wrist on the top of the club but it wasn’t much use. I hit the ball about 100 yards using just my left hand.

‘Now I have my new hand I can hit it nearly 200 yards. It is great and now I hope to become a professional golfer and earn a lot of money.’

The silicone glove has been developed free of charge by the renowned Dorset Orthopaedic in Ringwood, Hampshire.

Bob Watts, of Dorset Orthopaedic, said: ‘The prosthetic is made out of silicone and a cuff goes around his wrist and up his forearm and he tightens it up with a velcro strap.

‘There is a handle holder on the end of it that fits all golf club grips.

‘The silicone allows the prosthetic to rotate through 90 degrees as Leo swings the club and allows him to rotate his hand.’

Barry Mutter, the assistant professional golfer at Ian’s local club in Poole, said Leo had a natural action for golf and tipped him for a glittering career.

He said: ‘His swing is phenomenal for someone who has been playing golf for just a couple of months.

‘There is natural talent there for sure. His enthusiasm blows you away.

‘He could be as good as he wants to be no reason why he couldn’t be a professional.

‘Most people his age don’t have a natural swing like his. Because he has got such a good swing all he needs to do is hit the ball in the right direction.’

A spokesman for governing body the R&A said in principle they had no problem with Leo’s glove and it was covered by a rule on artificial medical devices.

He said: ‘While we cannot give a definitive ruling on any piece of equipment without seeing it, if there are no particularly unusual features of the prosthetic hand I’m sure it would be absolutely fine.’

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