From the Executive Director: What an Experience!

It’s already April.  Spring is here around the country and programs and organizations are in the midst of getting their summer programs up and running. But golf doesn’t stop and start just during the summer.  Around the country, there is a lot of activity year round whether outdoors or indoors.

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In March, I had the honor of being the lead course official at Yas Links golf Club in Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games.  What an incredible experience!  Almost 200 Special Olympics Athletes competed for the Gold over a great links style golf course.  Weather was challenging but not for many of the competitors.

Casper Christensen of Denmark didn’t have a problem in the first 2 rounds when the winds and weather made the links course tough.  Casper shot 69/69 the first two round followed by 77/77 the last two rounds to win the Gold edging his nearest competitor (Jasper Gutke of Sweden) by 8 shots. As I have mentioned before, it is such a thrill to be involved with Special Olympics and the Athletes.  Their attitude about the game is so refreshing.  If you want an experience of a lifetime, get involved with your local chapter of Special Olympics.  You will come away saying that it is the best time of your life in golf. And remember, “Choose to Include.”

Next month, we will be on Capitol Hill for National Golf Day where the golf industry meets with members of Congress on issues facing the game and business of golf.  And in the meantime, please contact us at info@accessgolf.org to assist you in any way with programming for individuals with disabilities or go to our website at www.accessgolf.org for information on resources, grants, best practices, etc.

Steve Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

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From the Executive Director: Open to All

AllianceWe are just back from the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando and the Golf Industry Show and National Golf Course Owners Association Business of Golf Conference in San Diego.  We connected with a lot of individuals and organizations, those we already have a relationship with as well as others seeking information, resources and funding of their grassroots programs.  At these events we were able to share about why the game of golf, golf facilities and the society in general should be open and available to everyone, especially those with disabilities.

Aside from the various speakers and panelists at these events, I had the pleasure of meeting in San Diego Jeremy Poincenot, inspirational speaker, coach and World Blind Golf Champion.  He was the keynote speaker at the NGCOA Business of Golf Conference and agreed to join Jan Bel Jan, Cathy Harbin and myself to share why the game of golf needs to be accessible and at the same time inclusive.  He added a great perspective from someone with a visual disability.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Jeremy speak, you will walk away motivated and inspired.

The more we engage and educate these organizations and individuals in the golf industry, the more our game will reflect the face of America.  There are over 57 million people with disabilities in our country.  Wouldn’t it be great to see a group going down a fairway, one person of ethnic diversity, one of gender diversity, and one with disability? Then maybe our game will truly reflect the face of our country.

Please contact us at info@accessgolf.org to assist you in any way or go to our website at www.accessgolf.org for resources, information about the USGA/National Alliance Grant Program, or our search engine for programs and facilities that are welcoming.  If you have a program or facility that serves and welcome individuals with disabilities, we would love to have you add your information to our search engine.  If your organization has events that include individuals with disabilities, let us know so we can add the event to our events calendar.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is here to help make this a game for all.  Remember always “To Choose To Include.”

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Resolve to Make a Difference in 2019

Well, Happy New Year to everyone.  It is New Year’s resolution time.  Many of us will resolve to eat better, lose that 15 or 20 pounds, take out a fitness center membership, and smile a lot throughout 2019.  Will we keep those resolutions?  Only time will tell.  But let me propose some different resolutions, especially if you are a PGA Section, LPGA Chapter, golf professional, course manager or owner, course superintendent, or someone in the community that wants to make a difference in someone’s life through golf.

When we talk in the industry about growing the game and also the business of golf, we generally focus on youth, women and other minority populations.  This is great as we need to strive to ensure that golf is available to everyone.  After all, it is a game you can play whether you are 8 or 88.

But often times, we don’t consider a segment of our population that is willing and ready to consider our sport.  There are 1 in 5 people in the United States who have some form of disability, or as I prefer, individuals with “unique abilities.”  But then we all have unique abilities.  Those with unique abilities just want to play the game and life at whatever level their ability allows.

So now you are asking, how do I connect with individuals with “unique abilities?”  Well, I am sure that near your community there are hospitals or rehab facilities that are looking for options in therapeutic recreation.  There may be a VA hospital in your area.  Also, there are Special Olympics chapters all over the country that would love to connect with instructors for the Special Olympics Athletes.  There may be a senior citizen community near you.  Individuals with “unique abilities” are out there and would love to connect with you and the game of golf.  It may just require a knock on the door by you to start the process.  And who knows, you may have someone at your golf facility right now that may have incurred a stroke or other injury.  They just need that knock on the door and encouragement that they can engage or re-engage with golf at whatever level they can.

If you have a moment in keeping your New Year’s resolutions, take a look at our Resource tab on our website (www.accessgolf.org) for more information.  If you start a golf program and need some help with funding, check out the USGA/Alliance Grant Program on our site.  If you feel you need some training, contact us and we can connect you with someone in your area that is knowledgeable.  Or if you are at the PGA Merchandise Show in January, why not register for the National Alliance Education Conference on January 23rd.  Go to www.accessgolf.org to register.

Together, let’s make 2019 a great and inclusive year in golf!  “Choose to Include!”

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

From the Executive Director: Turning the Page on 2018

Oh my.  It’s December and another year is turning the page.  Hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Great New Year.

Coming off “Giving Tuesday,” I wanted to end this year with a big thank you to all the organizations and individuals that have supported the work of the National Alliance in 2018.  Your support helps make a difference in us achieving our Vision of ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to experience and engage with the game of golf and life.  And it is not too late to make a donation to the National Alliance. Go to www.accessgolf.org and click on the Donate button at the top right of the homepage.

As you may or may not be aware, the Alliance was formed back in 2001 and is represented by the major golf associations, recreation and therapeutic organizations and individuals who advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities into the game and society.

Through everyone’s support, the United States Golf Association and the Alliance since 2010 has awarded more than $900,000 in grants to grassroots programs that are providing accessible and inclusive golf to individuals with disabilities.  If you are a facility operator or program coordinator, check out the grant program online at www.accessgolf.org and click on the Grant tab.

In addition in 2018, we conducted our first annual education conference on accessibility and inclusion during the PGA Merchandise Show.  We have just opened registration for our second annual conference, again during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando on January 23rd.  You can register by going to www.accessgolf.org and click on the link on our homepage.  Hope to see you in Orlando in January.

In addition, we are presenting an education session on making you facility accessible and programs that are inclusive during the National Golf Course Owners Association Business of Golf Conference in San Diego in February which is also during the Golf Industry Show there.  Go to www.ngcoa.org for more information about the conference.

All in all, 2018 has been a great year.  But we are now looking towards 2019 and how the Alliance can expand its reach and mission to increase the awareness and participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Add Us to Your January Calendar

I’m just back from a road trip north from Florida, and in some areas the leaves have changed and in other areas it hasn’t. Fall always signals for me that another year is closing. But also it becomes time to look ahead and the opportunities that we have to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access and are included in the game of golf.

Some of those opportunities include education and training. The  Alliance will be at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL, in January. We are currently finalizing our plans and should have the details uploaded to www.accessgolf.org shortly with registration information. If you are attending the PGA Show, make sure you sign up for the National Alliance for Accessible Golf Education Conference on January 23, 2019.  It will be a half-day session with topics such as accessibility and inclusion at your golf facility or program, best practices for programs serving individuals with disabilities, and best practices to ensure sustainability of your program. Continuing Education hours/credits will be available for registrants who require them for their organization membership.

In addition, the Alliance will be at the Golf Industry Show and National Golf Course Owners of America (NGCOA) Conference in February in San Diego, CA.

While education and training is one of our organization’s strategic pillars, we also want to remind you that the Alliance has a grant program funded by the United States Golf Association. The grants that are awarded are for programs that are developing individuals with disabilities through the game of golf. For more information, visit www.accessgolf.org and click on the “Grants” tab for criteria, grant application process, etc.

Finally, Tuesday, November 27 is #GivingTuesday. As we approach the end of the year, many of us look at ways we can support various non-profits with a charitable gift. While the National Alliance does receive support from the major allied associations of golf, we are reliant on support from individuals as well so we can ensure our mission to increase awareness and participation in the game of golf by individuals with disabilities.  Consider the Alliance in your charitable giving this year. You can make a donation by going to our website at www.accessgolf.org and click on the “Donate” button in the top right of our homepage.  Your support will make a difference.

Until next month, “Choose to Include.”

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

From the Executive Director: Thinking Ahead to 2019

October is here already.  Time flies.  Before you know it, we will be using 2019 as the year.

Speaking of 2019, we wanted to let you know that the National Alliance is putting together education opportunities at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January, finalizing plans for the Golf Industry Show, and National Golf Course Owners Association Business of Golf Conference in San Diego in February. We are always available for opportunities to educate and expand the awareness that golf is for everyone. If your organization is looking for a speaker or education session on accessibility and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, reach out to us at info@accessgolf.org. Across the country we have contact with many individuals that are engaged with using golf to improve the lives of those they serve. It may be a PGA or LPGA Professional, a program coordinator, or even yours truly. We can connect you.

Did you know that we have a search engine on our website at www.accessgolf.org?  If you are an individual looking for a program or facility that is welcoming to individuals with disabilities, check it out. While the coverage of the search engine doesn’t cover every location, it can be a great starting point. If you have a facility or program that engages and is welcoming to individuals with disabilities, use the link on the homepage of www.accessgolf.org to enter your facility or program into the search engine.

Finally, as we approach the end of the year and especially as we each look towards filing our tax returns for 2018, we ask that you consider supporting the National Alliance for Accessible Golf. While we do receive support from the various golf associations, we are reliant on individual donations as well to provide the grants, promotions/advocacy for golf to be inclusive, and education/training programs around the country. Please consider making a year-end donation to the National Alliance by going to our website (www.accessgolf.org) and clicking on the “DONATE” button on the upper right corner of the homepage.

Thank you in advance for considering to support the National Alliance.

See you next month!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Steve Jubb, PGA

From the Executive Director: Good Advice

It is hard to believe it is September already.  Where did the summer go?  Hopefully for those of you that conduct programs to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to play our game of golf, you have had a great summer.  For those of you who operate golf facilities, I hope that you have looked at ways to ensure that your facility is accessible and your programs are inclusive.  And finally, for those of you who may have a disability, I hope you have looked beyond what you may see or feel as limitations and looked at the possibilities and opportunities to engage in not only golf but in life!  Get out there and participate and learn at whatever level your “abilities” allow.  That is actually good advice for all of us.

Just the other day, I saw on Facebook a post about a golfer with a disability in the UK who was denied access to a golf course because he needed to use a “buggy,” as they call a golf car in the UK.  Based on the facts stated in the article I read, the club had a policy that required walking unless a golfer had a letter from a doctor justifying use of a “buggy.”  It was a public access golf course owned by the town.  The person in question is an experienced golfer, has competed in European Disabled Golf Association events, and has played several courses in the UK and never had an issue with this type of request previously.

In the US, requirements for accessibility and accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are different. Reading through the Department of Justice documentation in ADA requirements can be challenging.  To help you out with this topic, you can access our resource, the Toolkit for Course Owners/Operators, that should assist you.

If you are interested in how to make your facility more welcoming, visit this helpful resource on People First Language by Kathy Snow.  It is a great training tool for your front-line employees. It is imperative when serving individuals with disabilities that you use the correct language.  Over one in five individuals in our country have a disability. It is one of the most inclusive and diverse groups in our country.  It crosses all segments of our population.  So, it is important to use the correct language.

Make sure if you have a program or if your facility is accessible and welcoming to golfers with disabilities, visit our website to include your information in our search engine.  Individuals across the country are looking for programs and facilities that are welcoming.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf would love to hear about your programs, accessible facilities, and your involvement in the game.  Send your best practices, photos, videos, and stories to info@accessgolf.org.

Until next month, have a great September.

Steve Jubb, PGA

CEO/Executive Director

From the Executive Director: More Than an Elevator Pitch

Another hot and rainy summer in Florida, but hopefully everyone has been able to hit the links, wherever you are.  Whether it is a round with family or friends, or playing in one of the many competitions being conducted around the country, it is still a better day on the golf course than not.

AllianceJuly was the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Signed into law in 1990 by President George H. Bush, the ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities.  As we celebrated the 26th Anniversary, we would hope that each of us takes a look at our facilities, golf courses, and programs to ensure that we are providing access to the game of golf for everyone, especially individuals with disabilities.

I just returned from a trip to New Jersey which included a meeting with the United States Golf Association.  During my travels, several people asked me what organization I am affiliated with.  As usual, I give them the 30-second elevator description.  The mission of the National Alliance is to not only increase participation of people with disabilities in the game, but also create and promote awareness of the benefits of accessible golf.  Through golf, individuals with disabilities become actively engaged in the social fabric of a community, and derive health benefits that improve the quality of life.

But the National Alliance goes beyond that and accomplishes its mission through several means:  Education and training resources for golfers and golf facilities; grant funding to grassroots programs that are developing individuals with disabilities into an inclusive environment of golf; promotion to the golf industry and the general public that golf is for everyone; and finally, serving as an advocate for accessible golf.  For more information, check out our website at www.accessgolf.org.

More to come next month so stay tuned for the September blog.  Thank you all for reading this blog monthly, and for making sure that golf is accessible and inclusive for everyone!

Steve Jubb, PGA

 

From the Executive Director: More Than a Competition

Special Olympics - July 2018As I write this month’s blog, I am in Seattle for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and the golf competition.  We wrapped up the final round yesterday on the Fourth of July with some outstanding play by the Special Olympics Athletes in Level 1 (Skills), the individual stroke play Levels 4 and 5, and the Athletes with their Unified Partners in the Unified Levels 2 and 3 of the competition. As Golf Competition Director and Field of Play Manager, it was, as always, a great time reuniting with the Athletes, Partners, Coaches, and family members that I have met over the last 20-plus years of involvement with Special Olympics, along with meeting new participants from the various state delegations represented here at the Games.

My involvement with Special Olympics started back in the late 1980s when a friend and fellow PGA Professional Wayne Warms and I introduced golf as a demonstration sports and clinic at the State Summer Games in New Jersey.  At that time, golf was not part of Special Olympics and it wasn’t until the 1990s that it was part of the national and world games.  Since then, my love and passion for engaging with Special Olympics Athletes has not waned.  Yes, these Special Olympics Athletes love competing for the medals but it goes beyond that.  They just love playing the game of golf.  In fact, some of them actually compete in State Golf Association amateur events around the country. Bottom line, it is all about inclusion in the game and life.  If you would like more information about Special Olympics, visit www.specialolympics.org.

Finally, July is National Alliance for Accessible Golf Awareness month.  Check out our website at www.accessgolf.org for program grants, resources, search engine, toolkits for courses and individuals with disabilities, articles, best practices, etc. To learn more about the impact of the grants on local programs, follow the hashtags #GrantsinAction and #ImpactofInclusion to hear the voices of program participants and coordinators during the month of July.

Together we can all make the game of golf inclusive and accessible.

Steve Jubb, PGA

From the Executive Director: Together We Can

I can’t believe it!  Almost half the year is already gone by and most of you out there are in the middle of summer programming to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to the game of golf and life.  Hope it is going well for you all.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf has had a busy year thus far.   We had golf industry meetings at the PGA Merchandise Show.  We conducted our first annual education conference on accessibility and inclusion.  We participated in National Golf Day on Capitol Hill in DC in April followed by our annual National Alliance Board of Directors meeting in Alexandria, VA.   All this along with the various grants we have distributed to grassroots programs for accessible and inclusive programming.  To date since inception in 2010, we have awarded more $860,000 in grants.  We would like to give a big shout out to the USGA for their support of the grant program, along with the other allied associations and partners that assist the National Alliance.

DYK - Toolkit for GolfersComing up in July is National Alliance for Accessible Golf Awareness month.  Check out our website for resources, search engine, tool kits for courses and individuals with disabilities, articles, best practices, etc.

Together we can all make this game inclusive and accessible.

In July, we are going to be at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, from July 1-4, assisting in the golf competition for Special Olympics.  The Unified competition with Special Olympics is a great example of inclusion with athletes partnered with an individual without an intellectual disability.  Stacey Johnston from Montana is a Special Olympics Athlete who will be on the rules officiating team in Seattle.  Stacey is a tremendous young lady, knowledgeable of the rules as well as being a great spokesperson for inclusion in the game of golf.  I look forward to joining her in July.

Until July, have a great June improving lives through the game of Golf.

Steve Jubb, PGA – CEO/Executive Director