From the Executive Director: All Things Are Possible

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.

On July 26th was the 26th 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 26th Anniversary, we would hope that each of us takes 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 useful toolkits for owners and operators as well as those interested in getting started with golf and links to other resources that will help make this game inclusive.

Recently, referred to us by Alliance Board member Ron Tristano, we made contact with a young lady named Anna Earl and her father Michael from Parkersburg, WV.  As her father explained, in 2005 his wife and he were blessed with a daughter, Anna Earl.  Anna spent the first 6 weeks of her life in NICU.  At 8 months, Anna was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and since 6 years old, Anna has been playing golf.

This 11 year-old just qualified for the sub-regionals of the Drive, Chip and Putt event.  Anna also plays golf on the US Kids Golf tour.

Back in the Spring of 2016, we had an initial contact with them when Anna was refused use of a golf car during the US Kids Golf events in West Virginia and Ohio.  After we contacted US Kids, a nationwide policy was issued to all of their tournament coordinators to allow youth with disabilities to use a golf car if needed.

My conversation with Anna was truly amazing.  This young lady is grown up in her outlook on life.  Her closing comments to me was that she wants everyone with a disability to know that “all things are possible” especially in golf.

More to come next month so stay tune for the September blog.  Thank you all for reading this blog monthly, and for making sure that golf is inclusive for everyone!

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

 

Inclusion in Action: Create an Accessible Golf Program Using Community Networks Associated With Special Populations

Guest Blogger: Donna H. White, LPGA/ PGA

2016 winter session 2

Donna with two participants (Bob and Dave) at the winter progressive clinic session.

As a concessionaire for three municipal facilities in Palm Beach County, Florida for over 20 years, making golf accessible to all populations is a focal point of my company and career.   We host Special Olympics Golf for the intellectually challenged, the HOPE Patriot program for our veterans and “Progressive Clinics” for persons with a physical challenge. Instructors from our staff also participate in our local PGA section’s partnership with a local Children’s Hospital introducing golf to in-patient kids, a distraction away from their pain and suffering. These programs are examples how the game of golf can be used to connect to those many might consider uninterested in the sport. Participation not only enriches the lives of the students, but their families, friends, and instructors. The intent of this blog is to give you some steps how to start a program targeting golfers who may require special accommodations or needs. I will use our “Progressive Clinics for the Physically Challenged” as an example.

The most essential denominator in developing any program directed for persons with an intellectual or physical challenge is building a relationship with a third or fourth party within your community already associated with these populations. Our “Progressive Clinics” for the physically challenged are 4- week programs conducted two times a year. They consist of student-centered, one-hour sessions introducing the golfer to swing fundamentals, the golf course, and conclude with an application of skills in a competitive 4 – 5 person scramble event. The program is promoted through our local Parks and Recreation Therapeutic Department with support from a local hospital or stand-alone physical therapy center. Steps to success include:

Step 1: Contact the therapeutic recreation department (TR) within your parks system.  Parks and Recreation departments are always looking for ways to provide and enhance opportunities for persons with special needs within their community.  For me, this was a relationship I had developed even before becoming a concessionaire with the County, as a result of my work with Special Olympics.

Step 2:  When developing programs like this, always remember you are the golf professional or the volunteer coach, not a recreation or physical therapist; therefore, develop relationships with a local physical therapy (PT) group or hospital. For our program, I was able network with a Director of Physical Therapy at one of our local hospitals whose sister was an LPGA member…homerun!

Step 3:  Educate yourself in adaptive sport training. You will find teaching persons requiring any accommodation is really no different than teaching a capable student.  Effective teaching requires an individual approach, creativity, adaptation, realistic goal setting, and patience; however, these settings may require a bit more time and repetition for the student to learn. Sound familiar? You do all these things on the lesson tee each and every day regardless of the student or skill level.

Step 4: Curriculum:  no panic! Use the same progressive education curriculum you might have developed for your new golfer or junior program.  If you haven’t created your own program, research curriculums or certified instructors familiar with Get Golf Ready, First Swing, First Tee, or US Kids programs. Another great resource for education and curriculum development is www.specialolympics.org.

Step 5: Once you have established relations with those third and fourth party therapists, consult and include them in the curriculum adaptation and instruction. For example, during our Progressive clinics we have a representative from the Therapeutic Recreation Department on hand to assist, as well as a physical therapist from the hospital or another PT agency. Having their professional expertise not only adds credibility to the program buts enables you to stay focused on the golf instruction goals. As team, you work to adapt the golf instruction on an individual basis.

Step 6: Seek, recruit, and train volunteers or interns. Take advantage of the Parks and Recreation volunteer/intern database. Determine how you might work with the volunteer/intern coordinators to recruit volunteers/interns. Train them, and use them!

Step 7: Pricing:  Programs like this can be profitable; however, costs depend on the mission of the club or facility you work. My situation is unique. I am a contracted vendor for Palm Beach County and contractually obligated to provide such programs. It is a team effort. I volunteer my time to teach and the TR Department  promotes, handles the registration, recruitment of PT’s and interns, provides instruction support, charging a nominal  student  fee to cover a goodie bag and rules books. Range balls and any on-course fees are complimentary as well. Not only do these types of programs build a stronger alliance with the County and community, but supports our mission to provide instructional and competitive opportunities for persons of all ages and ability.

To offset costs and make your programs more profitable, seek grants and sponsorships.  Palm Beach County did use grant dollars to purchase adaptive golf cars for three of their facilities. These golf cars are not only available for our programs, but for the public to rent when playing on their own. Currently, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf offers grant opportunities for inclusive programs! Go for it!

Step 8: Student Recruitment:  Piggyback off of all those third/fourth parties you networked with. Ask if they will promote your program through their databases to recruit students. Of course, use your own database or referral list as well. The TR and PT communities are tightly linked. They work closely with extended support groups and associations dedicated to helping those recovering from a stroke, traumatic brain injury, amputation, vision impaired, rehabilitation centers, and even other local physical therapy centers.

Step 9: Once you have determined an interest. Set dates, train staff, and conduct the program.

Step 10: Feedback.  Feedback from students, instructors, RTs and PTs is important. Learn from others to make the next program session even better.

Step 11:  After reading this blog, it’s now time to Get Started. Pick up your phone and begin networking to create your program TODAY! Feel free to contact me at donna@golfproservices.org.

 

Donna H. White, LPGA/ PGA, is the Owner Director of Golf Professional Services, Inc., for Okeeheelee Golf Course, Park Ridge Golf Course and the John Prince Golf Learning Center in Palm Beach, FL. She is the Co-founder, Junior Golf Foundation of America and a Professor, Keiser University College of Golf. Donna is the winner of 3 LPGA Tour Titles and has been named one of the Top 50 best women Instructors by Golf Digest and is a Top 50 LPGA T and CP Instructor.She has been honored an LPGA Teaching and Club Professional, Hall of Fame Member. She is involved with the Special Olympics International as Golf Manager and Golf Committee Member. 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Executive Director: Inclusive Resources and Programs

It’s July and half the year has gone by. Hope everyone is having a great year, especially to those engaged in making sure the game of golf is inclusive of individuals with disabilities. July 26th is the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Signed into law in 1990 by President George H. Bush, the ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities. As we celebrate the 26th Anniversary, I would hope that each of us takes 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. To that end, the Alliance has created two toolkits that are designed to help both individuals with disabilities get involved in the game of golf but also a resource for golf course operators, owners, managers, golf professionals, golf course superintendents, etc. On our website, you will find these two toolkits under Resources. On our website under Resources you will find not only the toolkits mentioned above, but also links to other resources that will help make this game inclusive. Check it out!

YvettePutting

Ms. Yvette Pegues at City Club of Marietta Golf Course.

Recently, the Alliance was involved with a program in the Atlanta, GA, area that used the Get Golf Ready program to engage individuals with disabilities. Ms. Wheelchair International Yvette Pegues and PGA Professional Tim Wilkes were instrumental in coordinating this program. The results were tremendous and the goal is to expand this nationwide. The Atlanta program was featured on Headline News (HLN) and has receive nationwide coverage. Get Golf Ready has been very successful in growing the game and, by now being inclusive of individuals with disabilities, we have the potential to further expand the reach of golf. For more information about the Get Golf Ready Program, go to www.pga.com/play-golf-america/get-golf-ready.

Finally, we continue to expand our program search engine at www.accessgolf.org. You can find facilities/programs that have adaptive instruction and are accessible. If you have a program or facility offering adaptive instruction and access, please submit your information to add your program.

Thank you all for reading this blog monthly, and for making sure that golf is inclusive for everyone!

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

Profile: Doring Scores Big With Marathon Golf

Imagine playing 100 holes of golf in one day…

Jonathan Doring, a Special Olympics Athlete of Palm Beach County, FL, did just that. And he recorded his first ever birdie that day. As Alliance Board Member Mitch Stump and fellow Marathon Golfer himself shared “He is putting some of us to shame daily.”

This athlete with intellectual disabilities participated in the Seminole Region of Florida CMAA’s Marathon Golf in April. Marathon Golf recruits entrants to tee off at several area courses with pledges made for every hole of golf played. Doring joined 58 marathoners, who participated in the day’s event on 17 teams. All funds raised benefit South Florida charities include Toys for Tots, The Special Olympics, SOS Children’s Villages, The George Snow Scholarship Fund, The Unicorn Children’s Foundation, Florence Fuller Child Development Centers and The First Tee of the Palm Beaches.

 MG 100 holes photo JD and RF 2016

Doring was named the Special Olympics 2015 Florida Athlete of the Year. In his 26 years as a Special Olympics athlete, Jonathan Doring has filled almost every role possible within Special Olympics. Competing in bowling, swimming, tennis, softball and golf, Doring not only won countless medals but also discovered confidence and determination. In his journey through Special Olympics, Doring’s passion for tennis prompted him to undertake a 6-year training that resulted in becoming a provisional Chair Umpire with the United States Tennis Association.  As a result of his determination, he has attended local, area, and state competitions, including attending the Special Olympics World Games twice; once in 2011 as an athlete competing in tennis, and later in 2015 as a tennis official (a distinction owned by fewer than 20 athletes).

As an Athlete Leader for 16 years, Doring not only speaks on behalf of Special Olympics but also helps to shape the Special Olympics experience for others by serving on his local Athlete Input Council and as a representative at Athlete Congress.  In addition to his active lifestyle, Doring has also worked as a Publix Associate since 1998, is a graduate of Santaluces High School in Palm Beach County and also received an Associate of Science Degree in Computer Technology from Palm Beach State College.

One of Doring’s proudest accomplishments occurred in 2015 when after 3 years he earned the Presidential Champions Platinum Award for his outstanding commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle by increasing physical activity and challenging public perceptions about people with intellectual disabilities. In his journey as a Special Olympics athlete Doring has said that “Special Olympics has taught me to set realistic goals and to work hard to attain them.”

From the Executive Director: Vision & Mission

2016 National Golf DayOn May 18, the Alliance attended the golf industry’s annual National Golf Day in Washington, DC.  It is an annual gathering on Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress on issues that are facing our industry.  It was also a great opportunity to share the impact that golf can have on people, especially those individuals with disabilities.  During our time on Capitol Hill, we had a display in the Rayburn Foyer where members of Congress and staffers could stop by and learn more about what we do.  Joining us in the foyer were two programs and past grantees in the Washington, DC area that serves our Wounded Warriors and Veterans with disabilities – the Salute Military Golf Association and Links to Freedom Foundation.  Participants in both programs were on hand to share their stories about how golf has helped them overcome some of the physical as well as mental challenges in their lives.

The following day, on May 19, the Alliance conducted its Spring Board of Director meeting in Alexandria, VA.  A good portion of that day was spent on redefining the vision and mission of the Alliance and setting some goals to achieve over the next year and next five years.  What came out of the session was a more focused vision and mission:

Vision: “The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is the leader in inclusion — working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals with disabilities to play the game of golf.

Mission: “To increase participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf.  Through golf, individuals with disabilities become actively engaged in the social fabric of a community, and derive health benefits that improve the quality of life.”

A good portion of the discussion on May 19 centered on awareness and promotion.  To this end, June 20 to 27 is our annual Alliance Awareness Week.  The Alliance was formed in 2001 and is represented by all of the major organizations in golf, recreation and therapeutic organizations and others who advocate for inclusion.  If you are on social media, help us promote the Alliance by tagging @accessgolf or using the hashtag #inclusion during the week. Here’s a sample message to get you started:

DYK? The National Alliance for Accessible Golf supports inclusion, training and funding, & works to ensure the opportunity for all individuals with disabilities to play the game of golf.  www.accessgolf.org #inclusion.

Check out the Alliance at www.accessgolf.org for more information.

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

 

Inclusion in Action: Ms. Wheechair International Yvette Pegues

Ms. Wheelchair International Yvette Pegues Learns to Play Golf through Get Golf Ready

KENNESAW, Ga. – Ms. Wheelchair International 2016, Yvette Pegues, is expanding her sports resume by learning to play golf through the Get Golf Ready program.  PGA Professional Tim Wilkes, an adaptive golf specialist, leads the introductory group program for women of all abilities at the PGA TOUR Superstore (Kennesaw, Ga.)  The six-week class began Thursday (May 19).

Pegues was born with a congenital defect at the lower portion of the back of the brain called Arnold-Chiari Malformation, which went undetected for years.  She was diagnosed in 2011 and after undergoing surgery in 2012, her condition worsened and she lost use of her legs.

“I have always been very active and thought that following my surgery, participating in sports would be impossible for me,” Pegues said.  After learning how to play sled hockey and trying horseback riding and snow skiing, I’m looking forward to giving golf a try.  Golf is a sport that allows people of all abilities to learn and play together and I want to inspire others to #LiveForward because life doesn’t end at the point of disability.”

Get Golf Ready is a series of five group golf lessons that concentrate on basic skills, instruction and information on the Rules of Golf, etiquette and values. Participants learn techniques regarding chipping and putting, full swing and bunker play, as well as the fundamental guidelines of use and maintenance of golf equipment, keeping score and navigating the course. Many facilities offer the program starting at $99, although price varies by facility.

“We’ve got a great group of women of all abilities participating in Get Golf Ready, who are able to learn the game together in a fun, nurturing and encouraging environment,” Wilkes said. “One of the greatest things about golf is that it’s a game that can be tailored and adapted to an individual’s abilities. This adaptive Get Golf Ready program is a charge to fellow PGA Professionals that with the right training, they can teach and share their love of the sport to men, women and children of all abilities.”

PGA Professionals nationwide teach students with physical, emotional and developmental disabilities. Accessible golf programs can be found at AccessGolf.org.

Weekly classes began Thursday, May 19 • 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

  • Class 2 – May 26, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Class 3 – June 2, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Class 4 – June 9, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Class 5 – June 16, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Class 6 – On-course experience (Date and Location TBD)

Visit Yvette Pegues’ blog – http://www.yourinvisibledisability.com/archives/2001 – to learn more about her Get Golf Ready experience.

From the Executive Director: National Golf Day

Well, another month has gone by and it is time to do another blog for the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.  Amazing how time flies when you are doing something you love – serving the Alliance and advocating for individuals with disabilities in the game of golf.

Did you know that there are 57 million people in the US that have some form of disability?  That is 19 percent of the total US population or 1 in 5 US residents have a disability.  According to a study conducted by the National Center on Accessibility at Indiana University in cooperation with Clemson University, 10 percent play golf currently.  Also 22 percent played before their disability but are not currently playing and 35 percent are currently not playing golf but are interested. As I have mentioned before in these blogs, a great way to grow the business and game of golf!!  Getting more individuals with disabilities into the game will definitely help move the needle of growing the number of golfers.

Coming up on May 18, the Alliance will have the pleasure of being involved with National Golf Day in Washington, DC.  The golf industry will be meeting with Senators and members of Congress to discuss the important issues facing out industry and sharing with the legislature this major role that golf plays in not only the economy but also in the charitable giving annually as well as the benefits that the game has both physically, mentally and socially.  In conjunction with the meetings, the Alliance will have a display in the Rayburn House Building Foyer where members of Congress can stop by and learn more about why and how golf can be inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities.

Joining us that day will be representatives of 2 local organizations that serve military and veterans with disabilities, the Links to Freedom Foundation and Salute Military Golf Association.  Each of these programs is making a positive impact in the lives of those who currently or have served our country and both engage the families of the participants as well.  It is amazing to see families bond together through golf.  Next month we will update you on what happened during our visit to DC which will also include the Alliance Board of Directors Spring Board meeting where we will be laying our strategic plans for the next year and next 5 years.

The key to expanding the number of golfers with disabilities in our sport is education and awareness. The Alliance has tools and programs at www.accessgolf.org to assist individuals and facilities and help everyone enjoy playing golf.  Please contact us to assist you in any way.

 

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

From the Executive Director: Spring Is Here

Well, it is April and Spring has arrived.  At least in most places.  That means that golfers in the snow belt especially are ready to get out of the house and hit the links.  2016 looks like it will be a great year for golf and for the golf business.

If you are a golf course operator, golf course management company, golf professional, golf program coordinator or even a golf association, I am sure you are or have started your planning for the golf season.  You have looked at “how can we attract new golfers to our facilities” or “what new programs can we add to bring more people to the game.”

Well, have you ever considered reaching out in your community to organizations that serve individuals with disabilities, such as Special Olympics, Autism, VA Medical Centers, rehabilitation facilities or even senior citizen organizations?  These organizations may never have thought about including golf as part of their programming.  But golf has proven to be a great activity not only from a physical perspective, but also from a mental and social perspective as well.

And if you have never instructed or included people with disabilities at your facilities or program, don’t be scared or uncertain about engaging with this population.  They are just individuals that may want to try our sport, a game for a lifetime.  After all, they just want to be included and if you are an instructor, keep in mind that you are just teaching golf as you would to anyone else.  You just need to understand the ability level of the individual just as you would with anyone coming to the lesson tee.

To help you along with this, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf has some great resources on our website (www.accessgolf.org) that can help.  Ranging from understanding ADA to People First Language, our Golf Course Owner Toolkit under the Resource tab can help.  We also have various other links that may assist.  We also have a search engine on the website.  If you have a facility or program that is open to individuals with disabilities, sign up your facility or program today. Great way to expand the reach of your programs.  There is a link on our homepage to both the search engine and a link to add your facility or program.  Finally, take a look at the USGA/Alliance Grant Program under “Program Funding.”  The grant program may help you with some of the adaptive golf program costs.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is here to help make this a game for all.  Please contact us to assist you in any way.

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director – National Alliance for Accessible Golf

Our Work Is Never Done

It’s time for another blog from yours truly.  Seems that the month just slips by quickly as we work to make golf inclusive.

In February, I had the opportunity to attend the National Golf Course Owners Association Conference and the Golf Industry Show in San Diego.  During the NGCOA Conference, they conducted a “Day at the Golf Course” at Maderas Golf Club north of San Diego.  The Alliance demonstrated adaptive golf with the assistance of PGA Professional and Alliance Advisory Board member John Klein, Anthony Netto of Stand Up and Play Foundation and two of John’s students.  Anthony brought his Paramobile which allows someone with limited or no mobility in their legs to stand up and play the game.  Several of the golf course owners came by and inquired about accessibility at their course back home along with how to start an adaptive and inclusive golf program at their facility.

During the Golf Industry Show, we were able to get additional exposure for the Alliance and inclusive golf to other segments of the industry, exposing to the golf course owners, golf course superintendents, and others to the impact golf can have on individuals with disabilities as well as the positive impact it can have on the golf business.

During both the NGCOA Conference and the Golf Industry Show, the Alliance was also able to promote the USGA/Alliance Grant Program.  Funded by the USGA and administered by the Alliance, this grant program helps to provide funding to grassroots programs that are engaging individuals with disabilities into the game of golf and achieving inclusion.  Whether you have a Wounded Warrior/Veterans with Disabilities program like PGA HOPE, a Special Olympics instructional program, a golf developmental program for individuals within the Autism Spectrum such as Els for Autism, or other programs, check out the grant program on our website (www.accessgolf.org) and click on “Program Funding”.  There you will find the grant criteria, application, etc.  And if you have any questions, please contact us at info@accessgolf.org or the Alliance Grant Consultant (Gary Robb) at accessolutions@gmail.com.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is here to help make this a game for all.  Please contact us to assist you in any way.

 

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

Sharing Our Mission

Just back from the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL.  We connected with a lot of individuals, those we already have a relationship with as well as other individuals seeking information, resources and funding of their grassroots programs.  For the first time, the Alliance had an exhibit space for the Show which ended up giving us more exposure for our mission to the golf industry.

Before the Show, I had the opportunity to speak before the attendees at the PGA Youth and Family Summit.  The topic presented was engaging youth with disabilities into the game of golf.  Joining me on stage were Justin Snyder and Ken Williams of the Little Linksters GOALS Program in Central Florida (which develops youth with disabilities into the game).  We shared that the game can be a positive activity for youth with disabilities.  To highlight that, we had on stage two participants in the GOALS program, Marcus Cruz and Nathan Freid along with their mothers.  Each family shared the impact that the game has had on their family and why professionals and courses should consider youth with disabilities in their player development programs.  This was highlighted with a video about Marcus and his mother which made a heartfelt impact on the audience. Several attendees came up afterwards and also stopped by our booth to inquire about how they could start a program in their community. FB_IMG_1454269868434

Next week, we are off to San Diego for the Golf Industry Show, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Conference (GCSAA) along with the National Golf Course Owners Association Conference (NGCOA).  This will allow the Alliance additional exposure to other segments of the industry.  In addition to exhibit space, we will be conducting an adaptive golf clinic at Maderas Golf Club during the NGCOA Day at the Golf Course exposing to the golf course owners the impact golf can have on individuals with disabilities as well as the positive impact it can have on their business.

The more we educate the industry on the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the game, the more our game will reflect the face of America.  There are 57 million people with disabilities in our country.  Wouldn’t it be great to see a foursome going down a fairway, one person of ethnic diversity, one of gender diversity, one with disability and one without disability?   Then we would reflect the face of our country.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is here to help make this a game for all.

Please contact us to assist you in any way.

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

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