On a Path to Better Access

The rains in Charleston have been a steady, very steady reminder of how much I like being on the grass with my feet during a round of golf versus being in a golf cart going from point A to point B. The realities of golf are that sometimes, whether maintenance or weather related, golf courses must minimize access to the course from all who would like to venture out “off the paths”. Having managed properties, I get it. Golf courses absolutely have the right to protect their product. This is not in dispute.

For some however, even on the best of days in the best of weather, access to an enjoyable round of golf is challenged by “cart path only” because of the range of physical or intellectual disabilities an individual may possess. Additionally, at many locations around the country, these challenges or restrictions also continue to exist in the clubhouse, on-course facilities, or other buildings that support activities around the club because of design, not rain or maintenance. Why?

Take the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), now in its 32nd year of existence. As with most legislation, it can often seem cumbersome, and difficult to understand, better yet apply. Along with the financial requirements to update existing facilities, or plan appropriately for new construction, operators often struggle with “what am I required to do” versus “what should I consider doing.” This is but one example of where the Alliance can step in and advise and guide.

With our launch of Golf Inclusion Monthly on July 15th, the National Alliance presents another means by which we look forward to communicating with and helping educate owners, operators, golfers and industry influencers; all of whom can contribute to our mission of access and inclusion to golf for people with disabilities.

Whether sharing information and education related to the ADA, or helping programs get started on a road to sustainability through grants, the National Alliance serves as a resource to help lead the game of golf on a path to better access and has done so since 2001, distributing over $1m in grants since 2010 with generous support from the USGA and other golf industry and therapeutic associations and organizations.

In Golf Inclusion Monthly, we’ll share information on resources, programs of interest, stories of success and more as we seek to increase participation of golfers who, in many cases, may not have a personal choice or option to walk or ride on any given day, or have disabilities that require a different type of customer service than a staff may be trained to provide.

So many facilities around the country do a tremendous job of providing a welcoming environment, yet there are plenty who would benefit from taking a few initial steps towards providing a more accessible and inclusive culture.

All we ask is that you give us the opportunity to help you on your own paths to access at your facility.

It’s what we do.

Dave Barton, PGA – Executive Director

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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.

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