From the Executive Director: Rekindling the Fire

Well, it is July and while we are still dealing with Covid-19, I would hope that you all have been able to rekindle the fire to play golf and are out there on the links.  Golf is a great sport for everyone, and can be inclusive of not only gender, race, etc. but also for individuals with disability.

I would like to take a moment and speak about accessibility and inclusion in our sport for individuals with disabilities.  As I have mentioned before, I get calls occasionally 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.

On July 26th, we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).

ADA

Signed into law in 1990, the ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all area of public life.  That also includes private places open to the general public.  The purpose is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.  Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), golf courses and programs must provide access to the game.  That includes your facility’s 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 in addition to access to the game, we also mean 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 USGA Modified Rules of Golf for Individuals with Disabilities (go to our Resource page on our website at http://www.accessgolf.org).

So, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of ADA, let’s not just celebrate it this month, but all year round.  The game of golf is and should be accessible and inclusive.  And as I always close out these blogs, “Choose to Include.”

Steve Jubb, PGA – LM

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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