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Having a ball: Golf memories take a swing at dementia

Sharing stories of sporting greats is helping in the battle against memory loss.

Over the years Carnoustie has played host to some of the most memorable moments in the history of golf.

Household names such as Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Padraig Harrington and Scotland's own Paul Lawrie have all lifted the famous Claret jug at Angus Links since it hosted the first of its seven Open Championships 77 years ago.

Those famous memories are now being used to help people living with dementia.

Members of Carnoustie's Golf Memories group have been reminiscing about the rich history of the event and swapping golfing stories.

As well as chatting about golf, they are also encouraged to take to the fairway and perfect their swing on a simulator.

Lead volunteer Lorraine Young said: "We are making it possible that they are now able to go back into the golf clubs, be part of the golf links and go back out onto the golf course as much as they are physically able to.

"To actually physically witness people beginning to play golf again, to hold a club in their hand and hit a ball much further than I could ever hope to is quite amazing.

"To see people go back about 40 years in front of your eyes is wonderful."

At the meetings the group talk about past golfing events, reminisce with old photos from famous tournaments and the stars who played there.

Participants also get the chance to hold the replica Claret Jug, which will be up for grabs once again later this summer.

Group member Bernie Mortimor said: "It gets you looking through your memory banks and remembering things and it does work."

Another member can recall away back to 1953 when he was lucky enough to get the autograph of that year's winner, Hogan.

Willie Ramsay said: "The first one I remember was here in 53 when Ben Hogan was here and, of course, he got the biggest of the galleries and so on.

"He didn't give out many autographs and I was one of the few lucky enough to get one, but unfortunately I can't find the diary it was in."

Part of the wider Golf Memories Project, the Carnoustie group is one of a number springing up at clubs across the country, to help those living with memory-loss conditions.

Organisers say the group is about evoking memories in the mind as well as helping people physically reconnect with golf in the fight against dementia.

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