From the Executive Director: Stay Safe On the Course This Summer

iGood morning (at least it is morning where I am).  We are moving into summer here in Florida.  It is hot.  Which reminds me that everyone out on the golf course this summer needs to make sure they are hydrated.  Speaking from experience, you do not want to have heat stroke.  Also at the same time, make sure you wear sunblock.  Skin cancer is nothing to fool around with.  I visit my dermatologist at least twice a year.

In May, the National Alliance attended the American Society of Golf Course Architects Annual Conference in Jupiter, Florida.  Jan Bel Jan, National Alliance Executive Committee member and member of the Executive Committee of the ASGCA, presented on Accessibility in Design.  Well done, Jan.  Very informative session.  We are working on uploading the PowerPoint to our Resource tab on www.accessgolf.org.

Also in May at our monthly Board of Directors conference call, we had the privilege of Kevin Corn join us and share with us his program in conjunction with Ranken Jordan Pediatric Hospital in Missouri.  The work that Kevin and the hospital are doing, using the game of golf for rehab and smiles for the children who are patients, is improving lives through the game.  Check out the following videos about the program, or visit the blog at http://rankenjordangolf.blogspot.com:

“May Reynoso – Ranken Jordan Golf Program”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nopYTCy4WGE

“Cooper Burks – Ranken Jordan Golf”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg-aywNC2SE

Last month, I focused this blog on some of the resources that the National Alliance for Accessible has for individuals with disabilities and access to our sport, golf.  Hope you all had a chance to visit our website and check out the resources we have there.  If not, go to www.accessgolf.org and see what is available.

Whether you are an individual or an organization, you can help make this game of golf more inclusive.  And in the end, that is what golf should be – a game for everyone!!

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: National Golf Day

NGD

On April 26, 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 Links to Freedom Golf Foundation and Salute Military Golf Association.  We had good traffic through the foyer from Congress Members along with Congressional Staff and others that were visiting the Capitol.  While that was going on all day, there were various meetings with Members of Congress on issues affecting golf.  Mike Tinkey, President of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, represented us well along with the other members of our Board of Directors who were in attendance.  Unfortunately, we were not able to conduct a golf demo/clinic on The Mall in DC the day before for the public due to weather and logistical issues.  However, the Golf Industry did a beautification project on The Mall which was well received by the public along with the Park Service.

Moving on, in May the National Alliance will be represented at the American Society of Golf Course Architects annual conference in Jupiter, Florida.  Jan Bel Jan, National Alliance Executive Committee member and member of the Executive Committee of the ASGCA, will be presenting on Accessibility in Design.  I will also be in attendance as well.

This month I would like to focus this blog on some of the resources that the National Alliance for Accessible has for individuals with disabilities and access to our sport, golf.

First of all, if you go to our website at www.accessgolf.org and click on Resources, you will find a number of links and contacts to help with engaging in golf.  We have 2 toolkits:  one for golf course operators and one for individuals with disabilities.  There are also other links for other organizations serving individuals with disabilities through golf.

On our home page of www.accessgolf.org, you will also find a search engine that can help locate organizations and facilities around the country that have accessible golf programs.  We are still seeking additional information from other programs and facilities out there to constantly build up that database.  If you know of a program in your community, encourage them to go to our homepage and click on the link to add their program information.

Resources are out there to help make this game of golf more inclusive.  And in the end, that is what golf should be – a game for everyone!!

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Working Together

You have seen me promote in this blog many times over the last few years the USGA/National Alliance for Accessible Golf Grant Program.  The National Alliance and the United States Golf Association (USGA) believe that golf should be open to everyone and supports a wide variety of programs that create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in the sport. The Alliance and the USGA formed a grant-making partnership back in 2010 to advance opportunities for individuals with disabilities through the game of golf.  This partnership is a component of the USGA’s initiatives which have contributed more than $5 million since 1997 as well as promotion of programs that serve individuals with disabilities. Most recently, the USGA announced that they will be developing events at a national level for individuals with disabilities.  While that initiative is in the early stages, this along with the proliferation of programs around the country making golf accessible is a great sign that golf is moving towards inclusion.

The USGA/National Alliance for Accessible Golf Grant Program supports organizations which provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to learn and enjoy the game of golf and its inherent values. The Alliance and the USGA share the belief that the game of golf is exceptionally well-suited to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in a recreational or competitive activity with participants who have various types of disabilities as well as those who do not have disabilities. We encourage inclusive programming – opportunities that allow participants with disabilities and participants without disabilities to learn and play the game side by side.

The Alliance Grants Committee believes that the values of the game are best learned by playing the game. As such, the Alliance places great emphasis on providing opportunities for participants to experience golf to the fullest extent possible. Programs should offer affordable and accessible opportunities for participants to experience golf both during scheduled programming and after programming is concluded.

Funds are available so if you have a program that meets the criteria for the grants, apply today.  Go to www.accessgolf.org and click on Program Funding.

On another note, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf will be participating in this year’s National Golf Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on April 26th.  The morning before on April 25th in cooperation with the Middle Atlantic Section, PGA, there will be a golf demo/clinic on The Mall in DC between 3rd Street and 4th Street near Madison Avenue.  In addition, participants in National Golf Day will be doing a beautification project on The Mall in the same area.   If you are in the area, stop by and say hello.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

From the Executive Director: Saving Lives

Springtime is approaching for most of the country.  Yes, there will be the occasional snow storm or bad weather in the meantime but we know that good weather is around the corner.  All this means that programs for individuals with dis/Abilities will be starting up soon.  As we have mentioned before, if you have a grassroots program that develops individuals with dis/Abilities into the game of golf, check out our website at www.accessgolf.org for resources as well as an application for the USGA/Alliance Grant Program. You will find grant information under “Program Funding” tab.

On February 21st, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf conducted a monthly conference call with our Board of Directors and our Advisory Board.  Aside from our usual business agenda, we were blessed to have Renee Powell, PGA/LPGA Professional and Founder of Clearview HOPE, join the call and share the impact that golf has had on her program participants.  The focus of Clearview HOPE is Women Veterans who have served our country in the military.  Although golf is used as a central core to the program, there is a great deal of focus on the social, interpersonal relations of program participants and providing a support vehicle for the Women Veterans.  I have heard it said many times by the Veteran participants in the various PGA HOPE programs and other programs across the country that the program “saved their life.”  The suicide rate of Veterans is more than 20 a day.  That is 21 percent higher than civilian adults.  Engaging the Veterans in a program like Clearview HOPE can help save lives.  Below is a link about Clearview HOPE that speaks volumes about the program at Clearview Golf Course in East Canton, Ohio.  Hope you take time to view it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWa1Z0K9GxI&sns=em

If you need information about starting a program or just information about accessibility and inclusion, feel free to contact us at info@accessgolf.org or check out our website at www.accessgolf.org.

As we continue our journey into 2017, let’s all strive to ensure that the game of golf is truly “Inclusive” and see how we might expand or start a program that helps save lives.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

Executive Director: Sharing Our Message

Hope everyone is having a great start to 2017.  Back in January, the Alliance was 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 game of individuals with dis/Abilities.  The biggest event was hosting a gathering of more than 25 organizations and/or individuals who are focused on Inclusion at the grassroots level.  Each shared what their programs do to make a positive impact on lives along with sharing best practices with others in the room.  On the Saturday following the PGA Show, I was invited to share information about accessibility and working with individuals with dis/Abilities with Golf Professionals students of the Golf Academy of America (GAA) Orlando, and others.  David Windsor of Georgia State Golf Association Adaptive Golf and Adaptive Golf Association led the hands-on training in the learning center area of the campus.

In February, the Alliance attended the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Annual Business of Golf Conference along with the Golf Industry Show.  Like the meetings at the PGA Show, the Alliance shared information with courses owners, superintendents and others about why the game of golf should be for everyone.

As we have mentioned before, if you have a grassroots program that develops individuals with dis/Abilities into the game of golf, check out our website at www.accessgolf.org for resources as well as an application for the USGA/Alliance Grant Program.  With the start this Spring of many programs around the country, consider applying for a grant.  You will find grant information under “Program Funding” tab.  Through programs that have received grants and through local, regional and national organizations, we have seen that golf can make a positive difference in the lives of those with dis/Abilities.  So, when you look at programming to grow the game of golf, consider reaching out to local rehab facilities, hospitals and non-profit/service organizations that work with these individuals.  They may have never thought about using golf in their programs.

As we continue our journey into 2017, let’s all strive to ensure that the game of golf is truly “Inclusive.”

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

From the Executive Director: Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!

As we start the New Year, I wanted share with you some exciting news.  On January 25th at 2:30 p.m. in Room 221B during the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf will be hosting a 2-hour session with various organizations from around the country that use golf to serve individual with dis/Abilities.  This session will focus on sharing best practices from the programs in attendance and sharing with those organizations how the Alliance can help.  The session will also provide great input on how we all can make a positive difference in the lives of those with dis/Abilities through the game of golf.  If you are attending the PGA Merchandise Show and conduct such a program or have a local, regional or national organization with that mission, please RSVP me at Steve@accessgolf.org.

In February, also in Orlando, the Alliance will be attending the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Annual Business of Golf Conference along with the Golf Industry Show.  Dates are the week of February 5th.  We will also be scheduling meetings during that week so let us know if you are going to be there.

During our Board of Director’s monthly conference call in December, we had Alliance Board member Dana Dempsey, of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, present their “Learn to Golf” program.  What a great program and the Alliance has been pleased to be able to help through our USGA/Alliance Grant Program.  Check out these links for more information about the TSRHC “Learn to Golf” program:

http://www.tsrhc.org/Learn-to-Golf
http://eyeopenertv.com/2016/11/11/teenage-amputee-doesnt-slow-down-for-anything/

As we have mentioned before, if you have a grassroots program that develops individuals with dis/Abilities into the game of golf, check out our website at www.accessgolf.org for resources as well as an application for the USGA/Alliance Grant Program.  You will find grant information under “Program Funding” tab.  Through programs that have received grants and through local, regional and national organizations, we have seen that golf can make a positive difference in the lives of those with dis/Abilities.  So, when you look at programming to grow the game of golf, consider reaching out to local rehab facilities, hospitals and non-profit/service organizations that work with these individuals.  They may have never thought about using golf in their programs.

So, Happy New Year and let’s all strive in this new year to ensure that the game of golf is truly “Inclusive.”

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

Profile: Scottish Rite Hospital Patient Gives Back and Has Eyes on College Golf

Special to the Alliance and Photo Courtesy of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

When Lauren was two years old, she came to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, where she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Scottish Rite Hospital treated her medical condition, but also recognized it was important that Lauren flourish in all areas. When Lauren was seven, she had a chance to participate in the hospital’s Learn to Golf program. During this program, participants have the opportunity to learn not only the skills and basics of golf but also important life lessons.

2016-lauren-campagna-ntpga-tourn-champ-pic When patients participate, they have a chance to play golf regardless of any medical conditions they may have. The program provides an environment where self-confidence, patience, perseverance and many other skills can grow. When Lauren went to her first clinic, she was introduced to the game and received a set of U.S. Kids golf clubs, along with a scholarship to help her continue playing. Lauren began using the scholarship money provided through the program to take lessons. With these tools, Lauren’s skills and love for golf grew quickly. She has been playing golf ever since, eventually joining the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program and playing in U.S. Kids Golf tournaments.

 

In addition to great exercise and physical conditioning, golf has really helped Lauren build confidence, leadership skills and self-discipline. She is truly dedicated to the game. Lauren enjoys being with other girls who play golf and it has helped her become a leader among her peers.

 

“She has made relationships and connections through golf that would have otherwise not been possible,” said Kammie Campagna, Lauren’s mother.

Lauren has been successful on and off the course. She now volunteers her time and talents at Learn to Golf clinics, working with younger children who like herself have a medical condition that sometimes interferes with their ability to enjoy recreation and leisure activities. In addition to volunteering with the Learn to Golf program, she once led a Girl Scouts blanket drive benefiting patients of the hospital and is on the junior committee for the hospital’s KidSwing golf tournaments. In addition, Lauren is involved in school programs such as the math honor society Mu Alpha Theta, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Sports Leadership Club.

Lauren has played in tournaments through the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation and Texas Junior Golf Tour (TJGT). This past June, she won the NTPGA All American Tour’s Shootout in the Hills at Las Colinas Country Club. She is currently a high school senior and holds the number one spot on the varsity golf team at Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas. Lauren loves the game and hopes to play golf in college.

Lauren is an impressive young lady. She works hard on the course as well as in the classroom. Lauren is humble, has a wonderful positive attitude, and is passionate about helping others. Her impressive character work ethic and discipline will help her continue to succeed in golf, whether that be in golf or anything else she decides she would like to do.

From the Executive Director: Inclusive and Available to Everyone

The Alliance was privileged spend a day on November 8th with the students at the College of Golf at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Joining me were Donna White, PGA/LPGA Professional from West Palm Beach and adjunct faculty member at Keiser University.  Also, joining us was Judy Alvarez, PGA/LPGA Professional, Alliance Advisory Board member and National Trainer for PGA HOPE with the PGA of America.  The topic was Engaging Individuals with dis/Abilities in golf.  About 30 Keiser students participated in the session.  We were also privileged to have a Special Olympics Athlete, Veterans with dis/Abilities and a student of Judy Alvarez join us as students for the college students to get some hands-on training on instructing individuals with dis/Abilities in golf.  Keiser University has a great golf training lab that helped facilitate this session.  Big thanks go out to Dr. Eric Wilson and staff at Keiser’s College of Golf, along with Donna and Judy for their involvement.

As we shared with the Keiser students, golf should be inclusive and available to everyone.

Do you have or know of a program or golf facility that is involving individual with dis/Abilities in the game of golf?  Consider having them join our Accessible Golf search engine on our website – www.accessgolf.org.  Every week we get inquiries from individuals looking for programs or facilities around the country.  Recently we had an inquiry from the Northern California area and we connected them to a program near their community and they brought several others along to the program.  So, add your program today.

Coming up in January, the Alliance will be at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando the week of January 25 to 27.  This year we will not be exhibiting but will be scheduling various meetings during the 3 days of the show.  If you are attending the show and would like to meet with us, please reach out via e-mail to Steve@accessgolf.org.

In February, also in Orlando, the Alliance will be attending the National Golf Course Owners Association’s Annual Business of Golf Conference along with the Golf Industry Show.  Dates for both are the week of February 5th.  We will also be scheduling meetings during the week so let us know if you are going to be there.

As we approach the end of the year and especially as we each look towards filing our tax returns for 2016, we ask that you consider supporting the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.   Consider making a year-end donation to the Alliance by going to our website (www.accessgolf.org) and clicking on the “DONATE” button on the upper right corner of the homepage.  Thank you in advance for considering to support the Alliance.

From the Executive Director: The Giving Month

Wow.  Another year has almost gone by.  Hope you all have had a great year, especially those who are engaged in ensuring that the game of golf is inclusive for everyone especially those with disabilities.  Golf is a game that can be played by everyone.  Some putt on the putting green, some hit shots on the range, some play a couple of holes and some play 9 or 18 holes.  But we all play GOLF!

The United States Golf Association has partnered with the National Alliance for Accessible Golf to help fund grassroots programs that are developing individuals with disabilities into the game of golf through inclusionary programming.  Did you know that funds are available right now for such programming?  Since the inception of the USGA/Alliance partnership, grants totaling more than $750,000 have been awarded.  Check out our website at www.accessgolf.org under “Program Funding” for a list of programs that have been supported as well as the grant criteria and application.  If you are doing grassroots programming that meets the criteria, don’t pass up this funding opportunity.

As we approach the end of the year and especially as we each look towards filing our tax returns for 2016, we ask that you consider supporting the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.  On November 29th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, “Giving Tuesday” is being held to have individuals donate to various non-profits/charities to support those organizations.  While we do get support from the various golf associations, we are reliant on individual donations as well to provide the grants, promotions/advocacy for golf to be inclusive, and education/training programs around the country.  So consider making a year-end donation to the Alliance by going to our website (www.accessgolf.org) and clicking on the “DONATE” button on the upper right corner of the homepage.  You will also find us on the “Giving Tuesday” website – www.givingtuesday.org.  Thank you in advance for considering to support the Alliance.

Finally, the Alliance is privileged to be spending a day on November 8th with the students at the College of Golf at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Joining me will be Donna White, PGA/LPGA Professional from West Palm Beach and adjunct faculty member at Keiser University.  Also, joining us as part of the team will be Judy Alvarez, PGA/LPGA Professional, Alliance Advisory Board member and National Trainer for PGA HOPE with the PGA of America.  Topic will be Engaging Individuals with dis/Abilities in Golf.  Look for my December Blog for more details on the day of instruction at Keiser.

Everyone have a safe and grateful Thanksgiving.  See you next month!

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

Dennis Walters: My Journey With the Game

Special to the Alliance, Dennis Walters

Photos courtesy of the USGA

When I was eight years old, I fell head over heels in love with the game of golf. This love, which encompassed every fiber of my being from the beginning, continues to fascinate me 58 years later.

I always wanted to see how good I could get at golf and spent all my time doing so. My big dream was to play successfully on the PGA TOUR and I was well on my way as I won three state championships in New Jersey and finished tied for 11th in the 1971 U.S. Amateur. I played college golf at The University of North Texas and competed against many of those who would become some of the best players in the history of the game.

courtesy-of-usgaIn 1974 when I was 24 years old, I was riding in a golf cart going down a steep hill. I wasn’t going fast and honestly don’t what happened, but I was thrown from the cart and dislocated a vertebrae which pinched my spinal cord rendering me a T-12 paraplegic. I have no movement or feeling below the waist. Everyone, including me, thought my golf days were over. The one thing I dearly loved to do so much was taken away from me.

Or was it?

I desperately wanted to play the game again but wondered, “how on earth would I ever be able to do this?” I had no blueprint or guidelines to follow. With the help of my family and a few close friends, I set out on an incredible journey trying to find answers to questions that had never before been asked. I started by hitting golf balls from my wheelchair, then helped invent a swivel seat on the passenger side of a golf cart. This was the breakthrough I needed to get back on the golf course. I wanted to see how good I could get at golf for the second time, this time playing sitting down. I still wanted to fulfill my dream of becoming a professional golfer.

Unfortunately, that was not meant to be. But in losing that dream, I found another one when I developed a golf show called “Golf Lessons and Life Lessons,” which are clinics and trick shot exhibitions. In 39 years, I have spoken to more than 3,000 audiences around the country, telling my story and demonstrating with each shot I hit what is possible if you are willing to work hard and persevere. And most importantly, it shows that golf can truly be a game for all. I encourage all who attend my shows to reach for their dreams, strive for excellence and to do something in their life that they thought was impossible.

In order to convince a disabled person that golf can be a part of their life, you have to first show them that it is even possible. It is also important to highlight the benefits the game has to offer. Just being in the fresh air and sunshine, spending time with your friends and making new friends, and enjoying the challenge is more than ample reason to give golf a try. It’s also something disabled persons can do with able-bodied family and friends.

But how do we share this story with the thousands of disabled persons who have yet to experience the thrill and joy of the game? By creating a campaign that shows people with various disabilities how others in similar situations are able to participate, and developing teaching techniques for the various disabilities. We should also emphasize the importance of a variety of golf experiences. It does not have to be 18 holes to be considered playing golf. Putting, chipping or hitting balls on the range, or even just playing a few holes is all part of the golf experience.

At each of my shows, I always stress the important of perseverance. If for some reason your dream doesn’t work out, get a new dream! Golf has given me dreams I never could have imagined. I believe if we all find ways to share the message of what is possible with others, we could inspire so many people to reach for their dreams.

 

Photos courtesy of the USGA.