From the Executive Director: Including All When Returning to Golf

richard-balog-H9GZgI6jU7Y-unsplashWell, here we are a month later from our last conversation via this blog.  We are still having challenges because of COVID-19 and these challenges are unlikely to abate for some time.  We pray for those front line responders fighting the virus and extend our thoughts and prayers to the families who have lost loved ones.

While businesses like golf courses are reopening around the country, we all need to still take preventive measures.  That includes individuals with disabilities.

Over the last month, I have heard from several individuals and golf courses about the accommodation of individuals with disabilities.  Many states initially imposed walking-only restrictions on golf courses.  What the states failed to consider was how someone with a disability could still have the opportunity to play and experience the game of golf like those without disabilities.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the same level of access for individuals with disabilities as those without.  Thankfully most states have since amended their orders to allow the use of golf cars by individuals with disabilities after hearing from the allied association of golf, course owners/operators, and golfers with disabilities.

If you are a person with disability or know of someone moving beyond the challenges of today to engage in golf, please send their story my way at info@accessgolf.org.

Finally, again maintain the preventative measures, and be safe and well, and remember that We will get through these challenges.

And as we return to playing the game of golf, remember “CHOOSE TO INCLUDE.”

Steve Jubb, PGA

From the Executive Director: Stay Healthy and in Golf Shape

We are all experiencing challenging times right now.  Life has changed temporarily.  Social distancing has become the norm.  Golf courses have closed in some areas.  But if we dwell on the negative, it will not be good for our physical and mental health or the game of golf.

Instead, let’s look forward to the day when we can all hit the links again.  In the meantime, do what you can to stay healthy and in golf shape.  For those with disabilities, it is even more important.  Look for opportunities such as what Matthew Drumwright, Special Olympics Athlete in Tennessee, has done.  Daily he has posted a Facebook Video highlighting how he is staying healthy physically and mentally.  https://www.facebook.com/specialolympicstn/videos/205444217454660/

Great stuff and keep posting, Matthew.  If you are a person with disability or know of someone moving beyond the challenges of today, please send their story my way at info@accessgolf.org.

As we progress this year, we are pleased to have an opportunity in October to share with the National Recreation and Parks Association and its members about accessibility and inclusion.  And we are starting plans for our 4th annual education conference on Inclusion next January during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL.  Aside from those opportunities to share the message, information and resources, we are always on the look for other opportunities to educate organizations and programs on the benefits of inclusion in the game of golf.

Finally, if you have a program, do instruction or have a facility that is accessible for individuals with disabilities, we have a search engine on our website at www.accessgolf.org.  Go there and enter your information so we can share that with individuals that are looking for access to our game.

Finally, be safe and well, and remember – CHOOSE TO INCLUDE

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

From the Executive Director: Open the Doors to the Business of Golf

GolfDay.121I often talk with people around the country about golf and individuals with disabilities.  Some of the stats I share are that there are now 61 million adults in the US that have some form of disability (according to the CDC).  That is 26 percent of the total US adult population.  For children with disabilities, 1 in 5 children have some form of disability (according to the Health and Human Services agency).

When the golf industry talks about growing the business and game of golf, let’s all consider individuals with disabilities.  Given the numbers quoted above, getting more individuals with disabilities into the game will definitely help move the needle.  At the same time, let’s take a look at the business side of the game.  In 2018, only 29,893 people with disabilities entered the workforce.  That’s a ten-fold decrease compared to 343,000 two years prior.

As the golf industry, let’s take a look at the jobs we have available and make a conscious effort to reach out in our communities to agencies and organizations that serve individuals with disabilities, and consider someone with a disability for a position at the golf club or within a golf organization.  That could be a position in golf operations (pro shop, outside operations, or even course maintenance).  Take the example of other industries such as the grocery industry who in many cases have done a great job of employing individuals with disabilities.  In my back yard, Publix grocery stores have excelled at employment of individuals with disabilities.

Most organizations in golf and individuals I speak with agree that golf needs to be inclusive of everyone.  But one thing that some people have wrong is that they feel that individuals with disabilities are different.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  We all have different abilities.  Anyone with a disability is just an individual seeking to enjoy the game and to be involved in their community like everyone else.

So, my closing comment is to those engaged in golf whether it is operating a golf facility, golf organizations whose mission is to grow the game or the general public, let’s open the doors and welcome everyone into the game and business of golf.

Choose to Include,

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: INCLUSIVE Golf Conference Recap

Hope everyone is having a great start to 2020.  Wow, another start of a new decade.  This marks the 20th year of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.  Great things have been accomplished since 2001 when the National Alliance was formed but work still needs to be done to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not left on the sidelines in golf.

To that end, back in January, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf continued our efforts to educate the golf industry about Inclusion.  At the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, aside from several on-on-one meetings with various organizations and individuals in the golf industry to discuss Inclusion in the golf of individuals with disabilities, (including attending the We Are Golf Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce meeting), the biggest event was hosting the National Alliance Inclusive Golf Conference with a gathering of more than 35 organizations and/or individuals who are focused on Inclusion at the national and grassroots level.  The event kicked off with guest speaker, Patti Valero, golf coach for individuals with disabilities, fire fighter/paramedic, #1 female in the World Golf Rankings for Golfers with Disabilities, 2019 Canadian Amputee and Disabled National Champion.  Following a very moving opening, Steve Mona of We Are Golf shared the state of the golf industry especially as it relates to inclusion. The rest of the conference was focused on sharing and networking from organizations to individuals with disabilities sharing their stories of how golf made a positive impact the lives of individuals.  In the end, attendees walked away with best practices and contacts to make their local efforts successful in ensuring that individuals with disabilities can experience the game of golf at whatever their ability level is.

Valero and Bel Jan

Patti Valero & Jan Bel Jan

According to the Census Brief of 2019, 20% of the US population have one or more diagnosed psychological or physical disability.  That’s one in five people in our country.

So, as we continue our journey into 2020, let’s all strive to ensure that the game of golf is truly INCLUSIVE.  In all we do, let’s remember the words spoken by Tim Shriver of Special Olympics International, “Choose to Include.”

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

From the Executive Director: New Decade, Same Goals

2020 conference - no save the date - 200x150Happy New Year to everyone. As we turn the year into 2020 and I am in a reflective mood, I would like to look back to excerpts of a blog I wrote back in January 2016.  Those comments are still applicable

 “When we talk in the golf industry about growing the game and the business of golf, we generally focus on youth, women and other minority populations, or those who have left the game or decreased their rounds.  This is great as we need to strive to ensure that golf is available to everyone.  After all, it is a game you can play whether you are 8 or 88.  But often we don’t consider a segment of our population that is willing and ready to consider our sport.  There are 1 in 5 people in the United States who have some form of disability.” 

“So now you are asking, how do I connect with individuals with disabilities and get them involved in golf to whatever level their abilities allow.  Well, I am sure that near your community there are hospitals or rehab facilities that are looking for options in therapeutic recreation.  There may be a VA hospital in your area.  Also, there are Special Olympics chapters all over the country that would love to connect with instructors for the Special Olympics Athletes.  Individuals with disabilities are out there and would love to connect with you and the game of golf.  They just need that knock on the door and encouragement that they can engage or re-engage with golf at whatever level they can.”

And now to look forward to our third annual Inclusive Golf Conference scheduled for January 23 during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL. Registration is open at www.accessgolf.org. If you are going to the PGA Show, make sure you register for this conference. It is going to feature guest speakers and round-table discussions on best practices in areas such as engaging individuals with different abilities.  Registration spots are limited so sign up  today (before January 15th) at www.accessgolf.org.

Together, let’s make 2020 and the decade to become inclusive in golf!

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

From the Executive Director: Words Still Matter

Before I begin the blog this month, I wanted to remind you all to mark your calendars for Thursday, January 23 during the PGA Merchandise Show. The National Alliance for Accessible Golf will be conducting its third annual education conference on accessibility and inclusion. Beginning at 8:30 a.m. and running until 1:00 p.m., we will have guest speakers but more importantly round-table discussions on the topic of inclusion in the game of golf for individuals with disabilities. It will be held in room W-103 of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.  Registration is open online at www.accessgolf.org. Sign up today!!

Now on to my comments for December.  I am going to retro back a few years to a previous blog.  How many times have you heard people refer to an individual with a disability as “a handicapped person”? Or used the “R” word to describe an individual with intellectual disability?  Or refer to someone as a “dwarf or midget”?  These are some of the descriptions we need to change.  Three years after I wrote my blog about this, I still hear people use the wrong and demeaning terminology.  A disability description is just a medical diagnosis.  In communications with people, we need to focus on the individual first.  Use phrases such as a “Person with a disability”, a “Person with intellectual disability”, or a “Person short in stature”.  Always put the Person first in your communication.  A Person with a disability is a person just like those without disability.   They just happen to have a medical diagnosis.  Better yet, just refer to them as a Person!! 

A final reminder that as we approach the end of the year, we ask that you consider supporting the National Alliance for Accessible Golf in your year-end charitable giving.  We thank those who support us annually as we are very reliant on individual donations to promote and advocate for golf to be inclusive, and to provide education/training programs such as on January 23rd.  It is easy to make a year-end donation to the National Alliance.  Go to www.accessgolf.org and click on the “DONATE” button on the homepage.  Thank you in advance for considering the National Alliance for Accessible Golf in your year-end giving.

Look forward to 2020 as we all strive for Inclusion!

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

 

From the Executive Director: Announcing our 2020 Education Conference

save the dateHello and hope that you are well and enjoying this great game called golf.  For individuals with disabilities, getting out of the house, rehab facility or hospital to a green grass environment and learning and enjoying our sport can make a positive impact on their lives.

If you are reading this blog and are an individual with disability, check out our search engine on www.accessgolf.org to help locate a facility, program or instructor that can help you engage with golf.  We are constantly adding new data to this search engine, so if you don’t see a facility, program or instructor in your area, check back with us or email us at info@accessgolf.org.

If you operate a golf facility, run a program or are a golf instructor that serves individuals with disabilities, please enter your information into the database.  The link to provide that information is also on our website at www.accessgolf.org.

As a facility operator, program coordinator or instructor, would you like to learn more about accessibility and inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the game of golf?  Mark on your calendar our annual conference during the PGA Merchandise Show on January 23, 2020, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.  We will be conducting our conference in Room W103 and it is scheduled to commence at 8:30 a.m.  We are in the process of finalizing the agenda, topics, speakers and registration process.  Once finalized, the information and registration will be on www.accessgolf.org.  The last two conferences were sold out and packed with valuable information and topics that will help you ensure that this game is for everyone.  Hope to see you in Orlando in January.

Finally, while you are on our website at www.accessgolf.org, check out the Resource area for information and links about accessibility and inclusion.

And as mentioned above, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at info@accessgolf.org.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Our Most FAQ

AllianceWell, summer is almost over, children are back to school and now we are entering my most favorite time of the year – Fall.  Hope everyone had a great summer of golf.

“Who is the National Alliance for Accessible Golf?”

During the summer, several people have contacted our office asking, “Who is the National Alliance for Accessible Golf?”  While most of the national golf associations in the United States know of the National Alliance because they are represented on our Board of Directors along with other recreation and therapeutic organizations and advocates, many grassroots programs serving individuals with disabilities as well as the general public may have not heard of the National Alliance and what we do.  So, I thought I would take this opportunity to share again with you all briefly who the National Alliance for Accessible Golf is and what we do.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf was formed in 2001 as a national alliance of the golf industry working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals with disabilities to play the game of golf.  About 61 million adults in the United States have some form of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  That is nearly 1 in 4 people in the USA.

The mission of the Alliance is to not only provide opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the game of golf, but also create and promote awareness of the benefits of accessible golf.  Through golf, individuals with disabilities can become actively engaged in the social fabric of a community and derive health benefits that improve the quality of life.

The Alliance accomplishes this mission through several means:  Education and training resources for golfers and golf facilities; promotion to the golf industry and the general public that golf is for everyone; provide resources for both individuals with disabilities plus those who serve them such as golf facilities; and finally, serving as an advocate for accessible and inclusive golf.  While our grant program is currently being reviewed for restructuring, we are proud to say that we have provided more $900,000 since 2010 to grassroots programs across the country.  For more information about the National Alliance, check out our website at www.accessgolf.org.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: The Accessibility Resources You Need

Resources

Another hot summer in Florida, but hopefully everyone has been able to hit the links, wherever you are.  Whether it is a round with family or friends or playing in one of the many competitions being conducted around the country, it is still a better day on the golf course than not.

Friday, July 26th was the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Signed into law in 1990 by President George H. Bush, ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities.  As we celebrate the 29th Anniversary, we would hope that each of us would take a look at our facilities, golf courses, and programs to ensure that we are providing access to the game of golf for everyone, especially individuals with disabilities.  On our website, under Resources you will find not only toolkits for facilities and players, but also links to other resources that will help make this game inclusive. Also, check out our recent blog from Advisory Board Member Rich O’Brien on the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC, a private club that is providing hope to veterans with disabilities.

Another of our resources is our search engine to help individuals with disabilities to find facilities, programs or instructors.  We are constantly adding to this database.  But if you have a facility that is accessible, a program serving individuals with disabilities or you are an instructor that teaches individuals with disabilities, please go to our website at www.accessgolf.org and on the homepage you will find an area about the search engine.  Click on the link to add your information.

In addition, we have an events area on our website.  If you have a tournament or conference that should be added, please send your information to us at info@accessgolf.org.

More to come next month including an announcement on our 2020 Accessibility Conference so stay tuned for the September blog.  Thank you all for reading this blog monthly, and for making sure that golf is inclusive for everyone!  Choose to Include!

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

 

Daniel Island Club Provides HOPE to Veterans with Disabilities and Others

By Rich O’Brien, member of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf Advisory Board

The South Carolina Lowcountry has become of one of the model communities for accessible golf.  In Charleston, the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program has grown to well over 200 veterans participating at five locations throughout the city.  A wide variety of golf courses have joined our important mission to help the veterans including a municipal course (Wescott Golf Club), a semi-private course (Links at Stono Ferry), a military base course (Joint Base Charleston), a resort course (Kiawah Island Resort), and a private club (the Daniel Island Club).

The Daniel Island Club, a private club located in the Daniel Island community, was the second course in the Charleston area to volunteer to host the veterans and has been an integral part of the program for the past four years. Ron Cerrudo is the club’s Director of Instruction and in early 2016 when he heard that PGA HOPE was looking for a host course in the Mt. Pleasant area, he immediately volunteered to help.  Within a few days, he had enlisted the help of Chris Edwards, the Director of Golf and Greg Keating, CCM, PGA, the General Manager, at the time to this important mission.  Keating added, “We are proud to be a host location for the PGA HOPE program.  The sacrifices that veterans and their families make to protect our well-being is almost hard to comprehend.  If we can be just a little part of giving back to this brave community, we are humbled by the opportunity to do so.”

Ron Cerrudo played the PGA Tour from 1967-1979 during which time he was a two-time PGA Tour winner and often roomed with Tom Watson.  A ruptured disc in his back cut his competitive career short but he shifted gears and for the past 40 years he has been one of the top-rated teaching professionals in South Carolina. While at Shipyard Golf Club, he worked alongside Mike Tinkey, the President of the National Alliance of Accessible Golf.  Cerrudo became the Director of Golf Instruction at the Daniel Island Club in 2002.

The PGA HOPE program has been near and dear to Ron’s heart.  He adds, “I just think anybody that can get involved with PGA HOPE should, and it’s spreading all over the United States. All you have to do is get involved one time and you’re stuck in a good way. You love the guys and the camaraderie. Just to see the looks on their faces, especially with fellas that have PTSD, is so gratifying. I’ve read that 22 vets a day commit suicide. That’s just unbelievable and when you can see something like this that can change their perspective, it’s fantastic.”

The Daniel Island Club has embraced veterans by hosting a seven-week clinic series during the fall and spring on Monday afternoons from 4-6 pm.  The club donates the use of the facility and their teaching professionals donate their time for this important initiative.  As a result, PGA HOPE Charleston has been able to regularly host 25-30 veterans at the club during the fall and spring sessions. The club’s generosity has also helped the program expand to other sections of Charleston so the veterans do not have to get frustrated driving in heavy traffic to attend the sessions.

Recently, the club has hired a pair of graduates of PGA HOPE to work at the course.  For one of the veterans, a submariner who served during the Vietnam War era, the extra income helps supplement his retirement.  Meanwhile, for a 31-year-old Marine Corps veteran battling PTSD, the job is an important step that is helping him reintegrate back into society.

Cerrudo also noted another important reason why private clubs should be involved in accessible golf programs, “As the members of the club get older, they often face health challenges that can limit how often they can play or even threaten to take them out of the game entirely.  The special training that our instructors have received allows us to help more members stay in the game despite these health challenges.”

As you can see, the Daniel Island Club is taking the lead in helping to provide HOPE to veterans and others with injuries, illnesses, or challenges here in the Lowcountry.  The program provides those who served our nation a hand up to improve the quality of their lives through the game of golf.  We would encourage other private clubs to become actively involved in accessible golf programs.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is a charitable organization working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals to play the game of golf. The Alliance is represented by major golf organizations in the United States, organizations that provide services for people with disabilities and other advocates. Through GAIN™ (Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks) and other programs, the Alliance promotes inclusion and awareness to the golf industry, golf instructors, and the public. For more information about Alliance programs and resources including Best Practices for Courses and Programs and the Toolkit for Golf Course Owners & Operators, please visit accessgolf.org. For inquiries, contact info@accessgolf.org.