From the Executive Director: Providing Access to the Game

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, only play 1 or 2 holes or play 9 or 18 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, and social perspective. So, get out and play and “Make Golf Your Thing” (#makegolfyourthing).

I would like to take a moment and speak about accessibility and inclusion in our sport for individuals with disabilities. Despite efforts by the National Alliance and other organizations, I get calls about golf courses or organizations that are not providing access to the game for individuals with disabilities. I keep hoping that these cases are few and far between, but they still exist.

This month on July 26th, we are celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).

Americans with Disabilities Act - ADA 31 - Celebrate the ADA! July 26, 2021

Let’s all get behind the efforts to ensure that golf courses and programs 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 also mean that policies, procedures, and other factors. These may include access to make tee times, proving materials in accessible format, using warning systems for those that have a hearing disability, and 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 still not ruled that public access courses must have adaptive mobility devices such as a SoloRider or a ParaGolfer (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 available is how do you market the fact that you have it 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 at www.accessgolf.org).

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 constantly building our database and each day adding new facilities. Also, if you operate a golf facility, program, or instruct individuals with disabilities, we would love to have you on this search engine. Visit www.accessgolf.org/Submit-Information to get started.

Until next month, have a great summer on the Links!  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! So, remember always to “Choose to Include” and “Make Golf Your Thing!”

Stephen 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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