From the Executive Director: Accessibility & Inclusion in our Sport

Hope everyone is having a great summer and are on the links playing our great sport, a sport that anyone can play, young or old, no matter what one’s ability level is.  It may be that one only can engage with golf on the putting green, on the range or only play 1 or 2 holes.  But they are involved in golf.  It is a sport that allows one to get out of the house, into an open-air environment with friends and family.  It can be a healthy sport from a physical, mental as well as social perspective.  So, get out and play.

I would like to take a moment and speak about accessibility and inclusion in our sport for individuals with disabilities.  I get calls off and on about golf courses or organizations that are not providing access to the game for individuals with disabilities.  I hope that those cases are few and far between.  Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), golf courses and programs must provide reasonable access to the game.  That includes your facilities infrastructure such as clubhouse, bathrooms, etc. but it also includes access on the golf course. That may mean access to a tee, to a fairway, or to a putting green.

If you are conducting a golf program for individuals with disabilities, you need to ensure that those individuals have access.  For programs and access, we mean that policies, procedures and other factors like making tee times, material in accessible format, warning systems for those that have a hearing disability, allowing someone with a visual disability to use a guide at no cost provided the guide is not playing.

On the equipment side, while the Department of Justice has not ruled that courses must have adaptive mobility devices such as a ParaGolfer or a SoloRider to mention a few, you must allow someone with such a device to use it to play golf.  You might consider partnering with other golf courses in your area in the purchase of one and pool usage between the various courses based on tee time reservation requests.  One key to having such equipment is how do you market the fact that you have it and it is available for individuals with disabilities.  Reach out to organizations in your community that serve those individuals and develop a golf program for the organizations’ clients, patients or participants.  Those organizations may have never thought about using golf as part of their program.  And finally, there are the Modified Rules of Golf for Individuals with Disabilities (go to our Resource page on our website).

If you are an individual with disability looking for a golf facility and or program that is accessible, has instruction programs and/or has adaptive golf equipment, then check out our search engine on www.accessgolf.org.  You can search by zip code as well as specific instruction programs and find a course nearby.  Keep in mind that we are still building our database and each day adding new facilities. Also, if you operate a golf facility or program, we would love to have you on this search engine.  At the bottom of the search screen, there is a link to provide facility or program information.

Finally, again check out our new website at www.accessgolf.org.  There you will find articles, videos, best practices, and resources such as our Tool kits (one for Golfers with Disabilities and one for Golf Course Operators).

So, until next month, have a great summer on the Links!! And remember “Choose to Include”.  If you have a friend or family member that happens to have a disability, invite them out to the golf course.  Maybe just to ride along, maybe to just putt on the green, or maybe to just have fun with family or friends!!

Stephen Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

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From the Executive Director: A New Website and Grant Update

New WebsiteWe are excited to debut our newly redesigned website this month. If you haven’t checked it out, visit www.accessgolf.org.  We hope you will find the new website easier to use and we will be adding items as we progress through the rest of this year.

We are currently in discussions with the United States Golf Association (USGA) about making changes to the our Grant Program.  The grant program is on hold until we finalize those discussions.

One of the important factors and success of the grant program has been the support provided to grassroots programs serving individuals with disabilities.  Many of those programs need outside support to be able to provide equipment, instruction and access to the game for their participants.  While the numbers of participants don’t reflect large numbers per program, the impact that our game and involvement of these individuals to what ever level their ability allows is critical and does make a positive impact on the live of those served.

Since 2010, when the National Alliance took over administration of the grant program (funded by the USGA), we have provided more than $900,000 in grants to these programs.  Programs ranging from The First Tee of Greater Charleston to Golf for All to Pomeroy Recreation and Rehab (to mention a few), all have seen remarkable progress and impact on the individuals served.

We remain committed to serving these grassroots programs and creating opportunities for all. You can support our efforts by donating whatever level of support you can.  Visit www.accessgolf.org to donate online. Thank you in advance for your support.

Until next month, “Choose to Include”!

Stephen Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf Redesigned Website Increases Tools for Participation

Hobe Sound, FL – The National Alliance for Accessible Golf (Alliance) announces the launch of its redesigned website. Created in cooperation with Potomac Digitek, based in Gaithersburg, MD, the new site provides improved access to its many resources including:New Website.PNG

  • Best Practices for Courses and Programs
  • Toolkit for Golfers
  • Toolkit for Golf Course Owners & Operators
  • Search Engine for Accessible Facilities
  • Speakers Bureau

President Mike Tinkey shares, “The Alliance has been blessed since the inception with a board of passionate, committed, and experienced individuals who have continued to increase awareness and participation while eliminating barriers for people with disabilities to be included and fostering inclusion in all of golf and society. Our new website reflects our continued focus on awareness, training, education, and technical resources, including places to play and learn for new and existing golfers and the associations and businesses that serve them. We bring together therapeutic, recreation, and rehabilitation industries, golf teaching professionals, club and golf associations and allied industries to provide resources for training individuals to better assist persons with disabilities through inclusion in all aspects of the game from recreational play to competitive play.”

Visit the new website at https://www.accessgolf.org/.

About the Alliance

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, please visit accessgolf.org.

Alliance Connects with Congressional and Industry Leaders at National Golf Day

Alliance Connects with Congressional and Industry Leaders at National Golf Day

Hobe Sound, FL – On May 1, 2019, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf and members of our Board of Directors joined the Golf Industry on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress on issues facing the Golf Industry such as environmental, labor and health and wellness issues. More than 300 industry representatives participated in approximately 244 Congressional visits and meetings. Other participants under the We Are Golf umbrella included the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Golf Course Builders Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, National Alliance for Accessible Golf, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, U.S. Golf Manufacturers Council, and the World Golf Foundation.

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President Mike Tinkey and Board Member and incoming ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan

Aside from members of the Board of Directors including President Mike Tinkey, Vice President Melissa Low, Secretary Jan Bel Jan, Justin Apel, Chava McKeel, Ronnie Miles, Henry Wallmeyer, and Executive Director Steve Jubb, the Alliance was represented by Tom Houston, a member of the Alliance Advisory Board, and Susan Deis, both accessibility advocates.

One of the topics for discussion during the Hill meetings is the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act. The PHIT Act promotes physical health by allowing the use of pre-tax medical funds – like Health Savings Accounts – to pay for qualified fitness and sports expenses. In the case of individuals with disabilities, it would provide those the opportunity to set up an account and use some of the funds towards golf-related activities. The Golf Industry is rallying around this legislation to help families overcome financial barriers to healthy lifestyles.

About the Alliance: 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, please visit accessgolf.org.

 

 

From the Executive Director: 2019 National Golf Day

FL Meeting

National Golf Day delegates visit with the office of Representative Brian Mast (FL).

On May 1, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf had the pleasure of participating in this year’s National Golf Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  The National Alliance was part of a golf presentation in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer along with participating in meetings with various member of Congress on issues facing the golf industry such as environmental, labor and health and wellness.  We had good traffic in the Rayburn Foyer from Members of Congress along with Congressional Staff and others that were visiting the Capitol.  We were pleased to be joined on Capitol Hill by members of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board from the National Alliance, especially Tom Houston and Susan Deis, both advocates for accessibility and inclusion.

On May 2, the National Alliance conducted its Spring Board Meeting at Club Management Association of America (CMAA) offices in Alexandria, VA.  The discussion centered around opportunities over the next year for the National Alliance to educate the golf industry on accessibility and inclusion, as well as discussions on strategic direction for the next few years.  The meeting included some great input from the Board and Advisory and we look forward to formalizing the direction over the next year to achieve our mission of increasing participation in the game of golf by individuals with disabilities and ensuring that those individuals have the opportunity to experience the game at whatever level their abilities allow.

Remember that our website at www.accessgolf.org has some excellent resources not only for golfers with disabilities but facilities and programs as well. Note that the website is being reconstructed as we speak and we expect to have a new look shortly.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: What an Experience!

It’s already April.  Spring is here around the country and programs and organizations are in the midst of getting their summer programs up and running. But golf doesn’t stop and start just during the summer.  Around the country, there is a lot of activity year round whether outdoors or indoors.

Alliance Blog Pic

In March, I had the honor of being the lead course official at Yas Links golf Club in Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games.  What an incredible experience!  Almost 200 Special Olympics Athletes competed for the Gold over a great links style golf course.  Weather was challenging but not for many of the competitors.

Casper Christensen of Denmark didn’t have a problem in the first 2 rounds when the winds and weather made the links course tough.  Casper shot 69/69 the first two round followed by 77/77 the last two rounds to win the Gold edging his nearest competitor (Jasper Gutke of Sweden) by 8 shots. As I have mentioned before, it is such a thrill to be involved with Special Olympics and the Athletes.  Their attitude about the game is so refreshing.  If you want an experience of a lifetime, get involved with your local chapter of Special Olympics.  You will come away saying that it is the best time of your life in golf. And remember, “Choose to Include.”

Next month, we will be on Capitol Hill for National Golf Day where the golf industry meets with members of Congress on issues facing the game and business of golf.  And in the meantime, please contact us at info@accessgolf.org to assist you in any way with programming for individuals with disabilities or go to our website at www.accessgolf.org for information on resources, grants, best practices, etc.

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

From the Executive Director: Open to All

AllianceWe are just back from the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando and the Golf Industry Show and National Golf Course Owners Association Business of Golf Conference in San Diego.  We connected with a lot of individuals and organizations, those we already have a relationship with as well as others seeking information, resources and funding of their grassroots programs.  At these events we were able to share about why the game of golf, golf facilities and the society in general should be open and available to everyone, especially those with disabilities.

Aside from the various speakers and panelists at these events, I had the pleasure of meeting in San Diego Jeremy Poincenot, inspirational speaker, coach and World Blind Golf Champion.  He was the keynote speaker at the NGCOA Business of Golf Conference and agreed to join Jan Bel Jan, Cathy Harbin and myself to share why the game of golf needs to be accessible and at the same time inclusive.  He added a great perspective from someone with a visual disability.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Jeremy speak, you will walk away motivated and inspired.

The more we engage and educate these organizations and individuals in the golf industry, the more our game will reflect the face of America.  There are over 57 million people with disabilities in our country.  Wouldn’t it be great to see a group going down a fairway, one person of ethnic diversity, one of gender diversity, and one with disability? Then maybe our game will truly reflect the face of our country.

Please contact us at info@accessgolf.org to assist you in any way or go to our website at www.accessgolf.org for resources, information about the USGA/National Alliance Grant Program, or our search engine for programs and facilities that are welcoming.  If you have a program or facility that serves and welcome individuals with disabilities, we would love to have you add your information to our search engine.  If your organization has events that include individuals with disabilities, let us know so we can add the event to our events calendar.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is here to help make this a game for all.  Remember always “To Choose To Include.”

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Resolve to Make a Difference in 2019

Well, Happy New Year to everyone.  It is New Year’s resolution time.  Many of us will resolve to eat better, lose that 15 or 20 pounds, take out a fitness center membership, and smile a lot throughout 2019.  Will we keep those resolutions?  Only time will tell.  But let me propose some different resolutions, especially if you are a PGA Section, LPGA Chapter, golf professional, course manager or owner, course superintendent, or someone in the community that wants to make a difference in someone’s life through golf.

When we talk in the industry about growing the game and also the business of golf, we generally focus on youth, women and other minority populations.  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 times, 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, or as I prefer, individuals with “unique abilities.”  But then we all have unique abilities.  Those with unique abilities just want to play the game and life at whatever level their ability allows.

So now you are asking, how do I connect with individuals with “unique abilities?”  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.  There may be a senior citizen community near you.  Individuals with “unique abilities” are out there and would love to connect with you and the game of golf.  It may just require a knock on the door by you to start the process.  And who knows, you may have someone at your golf facility right now that may have incurred a stroke or other injury.  They just need that knock on the door and encouragement that they can engage or re-engage with golf at whatever level they can.

If you have a moment in keeping your New Year’s resolutions, take a look at our Resource tab on our website (www.accessgolf.org) for more information.  If you start a golf program and need some help with funding, check out the USGA/Alliance Grant Program on our site.  If you feel you need some training, contact us and we can connect you with someone in your area that is knowledgeable.  Or if you are at the PGA Merchandise Show in January, why not register for the National Alliance Education Conference on January 23rd.  Go to www.accessgolf.org to register.

Together, let’s make 2019 a great and inclusive year in golf!  “Choose to Include!”

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

From the Executive Director: Turning the Page on 2018

Oh my.  It’s December and another year is turning the page.  Hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Great New Year.

Coming off “Giving Tuesday,” I wanted to end this year with a big thank you to all the organizations and individuals that have supported the work of the National Alliance in 2018.  Your support helps make a difference in us achieving our Vision of ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to experience and engage with the game of golf and life.  And it is not too late to make a donation to the National Alliance. Go to www.accessgolf.org and click on the Donate button at the top right of the homepage.

As you may or may not be aware, the Alliance was formed back in 2001 and is represented by the major golf associations, recreation and therapeutic organizations and individuals who advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities into the game and society.

Through everyone’s support, the United States Golf Association and the Alliance since 2010 has awarded more than $900,000 in grants to grassroots programs that are providing accessible and inclusive golf to individuals with disabilities.  If you are a facility operator or program coordinator, check out the grant program online at www.accessgolf.org and click on the Grant tab.

In addition in 2018, we conducted our first annual education conference on accessibility and inclusion during the PGA Merchandise Show.  We have just opened registration for our second annual conference, again during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando on January 23rd.  You can register by going to www.accessgolf.org and click on the link on our homepage.  Hope to see you in Orlando in January.

In addition, we are presenting an education session on making you facility accessible and programs that are inclusive during the National Golf Course Owners Association Business of Golf Conference in San Diego in February which is also during the Golf Industry Show there.  Go to www.ngcoa.org for more information about the conference.

All in all, 2018 has been a great year.  But we are now looking towards 2019 and how the Alliance can expand its reach and mission to increase the awareness and participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Add Us to Your January Calendar

I’m just back from a road trip north from Florida, and in some areas the leaves have changed and in other areas it hasn’t. Fall always signals for me that another year is closing. But also it becomes time to look ahead and the opportunities that we have to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access and are included in the game of golf.

Some of those opportunities include education and training. The  Alliance will be at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL, in January. We are currently finalizing our plans and should have the details uploaded to www.accessgolf.org shortly with registration information. If you are attending the PGA Show, make sure you sign up for the National Alliance for Accessible Golf Education Conference on January 23, 2019.  It will be a half-day session with topics such as accessibility and inclusion at your golf facility or program, best practices for programs serving individuals with disabilities, and best practices to ensure sustainability of your program. Continuing Education hours/credits will be available for registrants who require them for their organization membership.

In addition, the Alliance will be at the Golf Industry Show and National Golf Course Owners of America (NGCOA) Conference in February in San Diego, CA.

While education and training is one of our organization’s strategic pillars, we also want to remind you that the Alliance has a grant program funded by the United States Golf Association. The grants that are awarded are for programs that are developing individuals with disabilities through the game of golf. For more information, visit www.accessgolf.org and click on the “Grants” tab for criteria, grant application process, etc.

Finally, Tuesday, November 27 is #GivingTuesday. As we approach the end of the year, many of us look at ways we can support various non-profits with a charitable gift. While the National Alliance does receive support from the major allied associations of golf, we are reliant on support from individuals as well so we can ensure our mission to increase awareness and participation in the game of golf by individuals with disabilities.  Consider the Alliance in your charitable giving this year. You can make a donation by going to our website at www.accessgolf.org and click on the “Donate” button in the top right of our homepage.  Your support will make a difference.

Until next month, “Choose to Include.”

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director