From the Executive Director: A Friend of Brad

I have a passion for seeing that individuals with disabilities are included in the game of golf as well as the fabric of our communities.  That’s why working for the National Alliance for Accessible Golf is so rewarding for me along with my previous employment at the PGA of America and their foundation, PGA REACH, ensuring that the game of golf is for everyone.

My passion began back in the 1980s when as Executive Director of the New Jersey Section of the PGA of America, I was asked along with a good friend of mine and PGA Professional Wayne Warms to conduct a clinic at the State Games of Special Olympics New Jersey that fostered the passion which continues till today.   

Along the fairway of my involvement with ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access and are included in the game and life, I have come across some Special Olympics Athletes who are reaching out to engage others with Intellectual Disabilities. 

Such is the case of a Special Olympics Athlete Brad Hennefer.  Many years ago, I met Brad and his family, and am proud to call him my friend.  Brad is a young man with Down Syndrome and lives in New Jersey.  In 2008, he was the first individual with Down Syndrome to graduate from the high school he attended, and today is employed at Wegmans, a regional grocery store.  

Brad started playing golf at age 3 when his older brother Bobby (now a PGA Professional) would take him to play miniature golf down on the Jersey shore. Brad would also accompany his mother to follow Bobby while playing in junior events.  By watching Bobby, Brad was slowly learning to swing and play golf. 

As Brad got older, his family noticed he had a talent when it came to golf.  While Bobby was away at college, Brad connected with Rich Smith Jr.  Rich worked with Brad to develop Brad’s swing and get Brad to a point where he could play 18 holes.  When Bobby returned from college and ultimately became a PGA Professional, the two paired up in Special Olympics competitions and have been very successful.

Along the way, Brad and his family, along with Rich Smith, wanted to give other people with Down Syndrome the same opportunities that he has.  Through their collaborative efforts along with help from others, they formed the Brad Hennefer Golf for Life Foundation conducting clinics around the Philadelphia and South Jersey area with a goal to expand to other areas of the country conducting clinics and events for individuals with Down Syndrome.  They have also collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and the local PGA Section. Due to Covid-19 along with some injuries, unfortunately Brad’s efforts have been limited recently.  But through it all, Brad still serves as a great ambassador for inclusion in our society.

So, as I mentioned before, I had the pleasure becoming a friend of Brad and his family, and being a part of, early on, the development of Brad Hennefer’s Golf for Life Foundation.  Through Brad, it shows that if you strive to achieve whether it is in the game of golf or life, all things are possible.  And in the end, through inclusion, we can have a game called golf and a society that is for everyone.

“Choose to Include”

Steve Jubb, PGA/LM

Executive Director

National Alliance for Accessible Golf

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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