Written for MG by lady editor Mandy Ambert following a chat at The Belfry in March.

Rarely do I meet people who have undergone a life changing situation, overcome physical and psychological hurdles and have gone on to channel their experiences into their passion for golf and helping others.

I had the pleasure of meeting 26-year-old PGA Professional Victoria Mallett to learn of her extraordinary journey in the face of adversity and how in the past seven years she has learnt to adapt and apply her experiences through her love of golf in her job.

Outwardly Victoria is a fit, athletic looking young lady whose playing career was abruptly stopped after a car accident in 2017. She sustained life-changing brain trauma and neck injuries leaving her in hospital for weeks, unable to see and with loss of movement. At this time, she was forced to pause her PGA training, but received great support from the PGA and in particular from Simon Hubbard who helped her to get back to complete it as soon as she could.

Arduous rehabilitation ensued, not without its own challenges to the present day. A terrifying time for Victoria and her family and their recount of the acute trauma is still incredibly raw and vivid.

Her perseverance resulted in the return of her sight and some left side function. She still has no sensation affecting everyday activities and needs to be vigilant with heightened awareness of where her body is in space. Something we take for granted.

Seven years on, Victoria is resigned to the fact that some of her own debilitation may be permanent, but she is still working with multidisciplinary teams of leading medical specialists, from Neurosurgeons to Psychologists, from the Midlands to London.

Victoria says:

“My personal story has given me a unique perspective on the impact that life changing experiences and living with a health-related condition have.”

“Digging in required deep mental strength to get through the trauma as best as I could. It led me to embrace a psychological dimension from my own recovery that I am able now to bring to my coaching as and when is needed.”

Her commitment to her own rehabilitation and ongoing care and her dedication to supporting others facing similar struggles is commendable. Due to Victoria’s own circumstances, she has developed a holistic approach to coaching. She integrates her personal experiences into her coaching, combining her unique perspective on the intersection of physical and mental health with her ability to emphathise with others.

As a result, she was approached to deliver golf coaching to those with severe and enduring mental and physical health difficulties. This involved participants attending weekly sessions that included people who had played golf before and total newcomers to the game. The sessions covered all aspects of golf in a relaxed, social environment that allowed everyone to learn at their own pace, meet new people and get out in the community.

Subsequently, in Jan 2023 Victoria was asked to join the R&A working group focusing on Golf on Prescription which looked at recent research into the benefits of golf in physical and mental health. Wales and Scotland offer prescriptive golf via GP practices for the public. She has now successfully delivered five golf and health programmes, with more planned for this summer.

Everybody’s rehabilitation journey is different, but the participants all say how they look forward to the weekly sessions because they enjoy learning something new and being part of the group.”

“The most rewarding thing for me is seeing participants improve their golf, confidence and make new friends with people who are in a similar situation to them. Golf really is a game for everyone and has so many health benefits too.”

Victoria’s work in the Midlands has earned her an accolade as a mental health champion for Sports Birmingham, which speaks volumes about her impact on the community and her ability to inspire others to prioritize their mental and physical well-being. Receiving backing from organizations like Sport Birmingham and most recently club manufacturer PING, as well as the backing of Great Barr and Boldmere Golf Clubs is very much appreciated.

I have an inkling into what Victoria has been through having worked in my former life in Spinal Units and major rehabilitation centres, and I truly hope that she finds peace and further satisfaction for herself.