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

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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