The purpose of this post is to share the experience and knowledge I have gained in my role as a PGA Professional and more specifically my work with disability groups during my time as County Disabilty Coach with a view to promoting disability golf and raising awareness. I will also provide information and links to groups and organizations who are involved in disability golf.
I thoroughly enjoy my disability golf sessions and find them to be hugely rewarding and they always seem to be very well received by the people who take part in them. Alongside my work within golf I also worked for British Blind Sport who provide sporting opportunities for visually impaired youngsters aged 14-25 and also Sense who support deafblind children and adults. My role’s with British Blind Sport and Sense required me to arrange and assist in all manner of sporting and leisure activities such as horse riding, trampolining, boccia, indoor skydiving, rock climbing, goalball, gym sessions, footgolf and of course golf.
During this time I realised that there must be thousands and thousands of people with disabilities who would love to have a go at golf but may feel it’s not something that they could do or may not know how to go about starting. I know for a fact that I have introduced 100’s of people to golf who would never have even considered playing and I intend to continue doing this but in addition I hope this post will perhaps reach a wider audience.
Is Golf Accessible To All
When people think of playing golf they think of playing 18 holes around a full length golf course and this is traditionally what you would refer to as a round of golf but as I have mentioned in previous posts ‘playing golf’ doesn’t have to be restricted to that alone.
Certain impairments or disabilities may make playing around a typical golf course either very difficult or impossible but that doesn’t necessarily mean playing golf is out of the question. Having said that I went to watch the Disabled British Golf Open and there were competitors with a huge range of impairments using a vast array of adapted equipment so really anything is possible.
Examples of the impairments groups competing in this tournament were Amputee’s, Autism, Asperger’s, Spinal Injuries, MS, Parkinson’s, Golfers in wheelchairs, Golfers with Visual Impairments, Golfers affected by Thalidomide, Frederick’s Ataxia and Golfers with Dwarfism.
The golfers competing in this tournament were playing to a very high standard and I would imagine most had been playing for many years, you can aspire to compete at this level if you wish or play completely for fun and enjoyment without any intention to compete at any level, that’s the beauty of golf you can play at whatever level you choose.
If playing around a full length course doesn’t appeal to you then maybe consider playing golf around a shortened course, sometimes referred to as a par 3 course or a pitch and putt course, or a driving range or maybe on a putting green.
There is a huge appetite for a shortened version of golf and whilst I don’t envision or in fact hope for a time when people no longer play 18 holes in a round of golf there are steps being made for speed golf or types of target golf where you can score points hitting shots from one point.
Golf is becoming more and more accessible if you have a disability but improvements can always be made where this is concerned, if you have any comments on your experiences on this subject either positive or negative I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment.
Organizations For Golfers With Disabilities
There are a growing number of groups and organizations providing help and information for golfers with disabilities. Please find below some links to various websites and if you know of anymore please send them to me and I will share them on my website.
The most common adaption of the golf equipment in my experience has been either shortening or lengthening the clubs and this can easily be done by a Club Professional or can be ordered this way directly from the company usually at no extra cost. Having said that some golfers may need their equipment adapted specifically for them, if you are having any problems in this area please feel free to contact me and I will try to help if I can, if I can’t I will try and find somebody who can help you.
Promoting Disability Golf
This post is purely aimed at promoting golf and it’s opportunities to people with disabilities whether they have never played golf before, already play regularly or are returning to golf after injury or illness. This area of golf is very dear to my heart and am passionate about introducing the sport to people who perhaps had not considered it before.
If you have any information or experiences you would like to share or feel would benefit fellow golfers with disabilities please send me a message or leave a comment below.
Many thanks for taking the time to read this post.
All the best