I’m a Lucky Person

Please pardon the intro bio, albeit brief, to tee up my point. After a 22-year career in the Navy as a Naval Aviator – Helicopter Pilot and a Search and Rescue Swimmer for a few years on the front end (which, by the way, was the last time I was likely in really, really good shape…lots of running and swimming), I sought out the golf profession. There was a thought process there, but that’s the boring part of the story.

I was extremely fortunate for the majority of my post Navy career to have worked for Steve Clark, PGA and Pat McGuire with Raspberry Golf Management up in the Northern VA area, where I was exposed to all aspects of the golf operations and management business up until 2018. A highlight of that time was the opportunity to instruct Wounded Warriors under Jim Estes, PGA who along with Jamie Winslow, helped found the SMGA – the Salute Military Golf Association, a national nonprofit providing rehabilitative golf instruction and experiences for veterans and their families.

From early 2018 through 2021, Jay Karen, CEO of the National Golf Course Owners Association provided an opportunity for me in a range of areas including Sr. Director of Membership & Education and Editor, Golf Business Magazine and Golf Business Weekly. To say the least, these were challenging times for everyone on the planet with the pandemic. Let’s hope 2020 to the present day remains a predominantly historic conversation related to COVID’s previous global effect.

I was very much an “association novice”, and to a certain extent, I still am and I am still learning but, thankfully, Jay and his entire staff were always helpful and working towards clear goals to support the organization’s mission and the Members of the NGCOA they serve. Lots of great friends and memories remain from that experience, as does plenty of appreciation for the contributions others made towards the areas I was focused on.

OK. Bio over. I am a lucky person. Maybe “fortunate” is a better word. Regardless, the aforementioned journey has landed me somewhere I would have not predicted when transitioning from the Navy in 2005. As the Executive Director of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, I now get to contribute directly to our Alliance mission of increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in the game of golf.

Admittedly, I kind of already believed that this work would be extremely gratifying before I was offered, or accepted the position, but it’s always nice to see positive outcomes of even modest efforts to help others when we can.

Recently, the National Alliance was able to participate with the World Golf Foundation (WGF) and numerous other associations and organizations by helping them communicate to our audience about the Phase III Grassroots Grants they were offering under the Make Golf Your Thing (MGYT) banner. $750,000 was up for grabs and programs around the country are now receiving news from the WGF that they were approved for grants.

Additionally, and during the recent PGA Championship, the WGF and American Golf Industry Coalition (AGIC – formerly We Are Golf), launched their National MGYT program directory. During the run up to launch the directory, the WGF was highly receptive of our inquiries and input regarding programs for individuals with disabilities and how the MGYT Directory could, and will, help individuals find programs that serve individuals with the range of impairments and/or disabilities as well as all types of other golf programs around the country. This effort epitomizes “inclusion”. For the opportunity to participate, we are very appreciative.

A few days ago I received a notification from a program who had reached out to us in late March for a small bit of guidance on these efforts relaying they had received a MGYT grant! Without getting into the who or how much, needless to say, the grant will be put to great use by this program as I can see the passion in what they have begun and what they have already accomplished.

What was our role in this? Why do I feel lucky? We simply helped communicate what was going on, how and where to apply, and the application deadline. No big deal, right?

Well, when I received a very cool text from the program leader who exemplifies leadership and service that they had received a very nice grant, my first thought and response was “That’s fantastic”! My next thoughts were simply satisfaction, joy and feeling very fortunate to have had the opportunity to simply communicate to someone about something that can truly help them and then seeing that come to fruition.

In our simplest form, the Alliance is here to serve as an educational resource in a range of areas, providing grants ourselves, or simply communicating, and then communicating again to those we have already helped, or those we could in the future, that there are numerous resources out there to help programs get started and move towards self-sustainability.

So “yes”, I feel pretty lucky that I and the Alliance can be even a small part of this overall effort. Can we use your help? You betcha!

About National Alliance for Accessible Golf
Dave Barton, PGA is the Executive Director for the 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.

2 Responses to I’m a Lucky Person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: