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'PLAYING GOLF SAVED MY LIFE'.

Byline: By MARK STEAD South Wales Echo

Golf professional Robert Evans is lucky to be alive - or at least still walking - after a horrific swimming pool accident. Doctors feared he would not survive after fracturing three vertebrae in his neck when he plunged into the water at a friend's wedding and smashed his head against the floor of the pool.

But now the 44-year-old is on par for recovery and puts that down to his love of golf - although he admits: 'I'll have to change my golf swing!'

Robert, the club pro at Pyle & Kenfig Golf Club for the last 22 years, was at his former assistant James Townsend's marriage to Lisa in Church Stretton, Shropshire, earlier this month when the accident happened.

'Somebody started swimming in the hotel pool, and as I had my trunks in my bag I joined in,' said the 44-year-old, who lives in Bridgend.

'I jumped in and smashed my head on the bottom of the pool - the doctors thought it would be the sort of injury which would either kill me or leave me a paraplegic.

'I reckon it was the years of golf which helped survive the impact, otherwise my neck would have snapped like a twig. I did have a remarkable escape.'

Robert underwent a four- and-a-half-hour operation at the nearby Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, where he says: 'I spent four days lying on my back' after bone was removed from his hip and fused into his neck. He will have to wear a surgical collar for seven weeks, but is already back at the club taking some of his duties back on.

'Hopefully, I will develop a new swing - it will have to be less like Tiger Woods and more like Nick Faldo!' he said.

'But everyone at the club has been outstanding, especially my assistant Anthony Williams, who has been looking after the shop.

'I realise how serious it could have been, but I've always looked on the bright side of life - when somebody says you might have died, anything else has got to be good news.'
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 27, 2004
Words:351
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