Whether You Are 8 or 80

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 2016.  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 over 57 million people in the United States who have some form of disability, or as I prefer, individuals with “unique abilities.” In surveys that have been conducted over the last 20 years, it is estimated that 10 percent currently play golf.  22 percent played before incurring their disability, but 35 percent may have an interest in engaging with golf 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 for more information.  If you start an adaptive 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 or the Golf Industry Show in February, stop by our booth.

Together, let’s make 2016 a great and inclusive year in golf!

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

About National Alliance for Accessible Golf
The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is a coalition of recreational, therapeutic, and golf organizations committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities through the game of golf.

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