From the Executive Director: The Accessibility Resources You Need

Resources

Another hot 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.

Friday, July 26th was the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Signed into law in 1990 by President George H. Bush, ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities.  As we celebrate the 29th Anniversary, we would hope that each of us would take 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.  On our website, under Resources you will find not only toolkits for facilities and players, but also links to other resources that will help make this game inclusive. Also, check out our recent blog from Advisory Board Member Rich O’Brien on the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC, a private club that is providing hope to veterans with disabilities.

Another of our resources is our search engine to help individuals with disabilities to find facilities, programs or instructors.  We are constantly adding to this database.  But if you have a facility that is accessible, a program serving individuals with disabilities or you are an instructor that teaches individuals with disabilities, please go to our website at www.accessgolf.org and on the homepage you will find an area about the search engine.  Click on the link to add your information.

In addition, we have an events area on our website.  If you have a tournament or conference that should be added, please send your information to us at info@accessgolf.org.

More to come next month including an announcement on our 2020 Accessibility Conference so stay tuned for the September blog.  Thank you all for reading this blog monthly, and for making sure that golf is inclusive for everyone!  Choose to Include!

Steve Jubb, PGA, Executive Director

 

Advertisements

Daniel Island Club Provides HOPE to Veterans with Disabilities and Others

By Rich O’Brien, member of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf Advisory Board

The South Carolina Lowcountry has become of one of the model communities for accessible golf.  In Charleston, the PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program has grown to well over 200 veterans participating at five locations throughout the city.  A wide variety of golf courses have joined our important mission to help the veterans including a municipal course (Wescott Golf Club), a semi-private course (Links at Stono Ferry), a military base course (Joint Base Charleston), a resort course (Kiawah Island Resort), and a private club (the Daniel Island Club).

The Daniel Island Club, a private club located in the Daniel Island community, was the second course in the Charleston area to volunteer to host the veterans and has been an integral part of the program for the past four years. Ron Cerrudo is the club’s Director of Instruction and in early 2016 when he heard that PGA HOPE was looking for a host course in the Mt. Pleasant area, he immediately volunteered to help.  Within a few days, he had enlisted the help of Chris Edwards, the Director of Golf and Greg Keating, CCM, PGA, the General Manager, at the time to this important mission.  Keating added, “We are proud to be a host location for the PGA HOPE program.  The sacrifices that veterans and their families make to protect our well-being is almost hard to comprehend.  If we can be just a little part of giving back to this brave community, we are humbled by the opportunity to do so.”

Ron Cerrudo played the PGA Tour from 1967-1979 during which time he was a two-time PGA Tour winner and often roomed with Tom Watson.  A ruptured disc in his back cut his competitive career short but he shifted gears and for the past 40 years he has been one of the top-rated teaching professionals in South Carolina. While at Shipyard Golf Club, he worked alongside Mike Tinkey, the President of the National Alliance of Accessible Golf.  Cerrudo became the Director of Golf Instruction at the Daniel Island Club in 2002.

The PGA HOPE program has been near and dear to Ron’s heart.  He adds, “I just think anybody that can get involved with PGA HOPE should, and it’s spreading all over the United States. All you have to do is get involved one time and you’re stuck in a good way. You love the guys and the camaraderie. Just to see the looks on their faces, especially with fellas that have PTSD, is so gratifying. I’ve read that 22 vets a day commit suicide. That’s just unbelievable and when you can see something like this that can change their perspective, it’s fantastic.”

The Daniel Island Club has embraced veterans by hosting a seven-week clinic series during the fall and spring on Monday afternoons from 4-6 pm.  The club donates the use of the facility and their teaching professionals donate their time for this important initiative.  As a result, PGA HOPE Charleston has been able to regularly host 25-30 veterans at the club during the fall and spring sessions. The club’s generosity has also helped the program expand to other sections of Charleston so the veterans do not have to get frustrated driving in heavy traffic to attend the sessions.

Recently, the club has hired a pair of graduates of PGA HOPE to work at the course.  For one of the veterans, a submariner who served during the Vietnam War era, the extra income helps supplement his retirement.  Meanwhile, for a 31-year-old Marine Corps veteran battling PTSD, the job is an important step that is helping him reintegrate back into society.

Cerrudo also noted another important reason why private clubs should be involved in accessible golf programs, “As the members of the club get older, they often face health challenges that can limit how often they can play or even threaten to take them out of the game entirely.  The special training that our instructors have received allows us to help more members stay in the game despite these health challenges.”

As you can see, the Daniel Island Club is taking the lead in helping to provide HOPE to veterans and others with injuries, illnesses, or challenges here in the Lowcountry.  The program provides those who served our nation a hand up to improve the quality of their lives through the game of golf.  We would encourage other private clubs to become actively involved in accessible golf programs.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is a charitable organization working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals to play the game of golf. The Alliance is represented by major golf organizations in the United States, organizations that provide services for people with disabilities and other advocates. Through GAIN™ (Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks) and other programs, the Alliance promotes inclusion and awareness to the golf industry, golf instructors, and the public. For more information about Alliance programs and resources including Best Practices for Courses and Programs and the Toolkit for Golf Course Owners & Operators, please visit accessgolf.org. For inquiries, contact info@accessgolf.org.

From the Executive Director: Accessibility & Inclusion in our Sport

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 or only play 1 or 2 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 as well as social perspective.  So, get out and play.

I would like to take a moment and speak about accessibility and inclusion in our sport for individuals with disabilities.  I get calls off and on about golf courses or organizations that are not providing access to the game for individuals with disabilities.  I hope that those cases are few and far between.  Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), golf courses and programs must 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 mean that policies, procedures and other factors like making tee times, material in accessible format, warning systems for those that have a hearing disability, 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 not ruled that courses must have adaptive mobility devices such as a ParaGolfer or a SoloRider 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 is how do you market the fact that you have it and it is 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).

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 still building our database and each day adding new facilities. Also, if you operate a golf facility or program, we would love to have you on this search engine.  At the bottom of the search screen, there is a link to provide facility or program information.

Finally, again check out our new website at www.accessgolf.org.  There you will find articles, videos, best practices, and resources such as our Tool kits (one for Golfers with Disabilities and one for Golf Course Operators).

So, until next month, have a great summer on the Links!! And remember “Choose to Include”.  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!!

Stephen Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

From the Executive Director: A New Website and Grant Update

New WebsiteWe are excited to debut our newly redesigned website this month. If you haven’t checked it out, visit www.accessgolf.org.  We hope you will find the new website easier to use and we will be adding items as we progress through the rest of this year.

We are currently in discussions with the United States Golf Association (USGA) about making changes to the our Grant Program.  The grant program is on hold until we finalize those discussions.

One of the important factors and success of the grant program has been the support provided to grassroots programs serving individuals with disabilities.  Many of those programs need outside support to be able to provide equipment, instruction and access to the game for their participants.  While the numbers of participants don’t reflect large numbers per program, the impact that our game and involvement of these individuals to what ever level their ability allows is critical and does make a positive impact on the live of those served.

Since 2010, when the National Alliance took over administration of the grant program (funded by the USGA), we have provided more than $900,000 in grants to these programs.  Programs ranging from The First Tee of Greater Charleston to Golf for All to Pomeroy Recreation and Rehab (to mention a few), all have seen remarkable progress and impact on the individuals served.

We remain committed to serving these grassroots programs and creating opportunities for all. You can support our efforts by donating whatever level of support you can.  Visit www.accessgolf.org to donate online. Thank you in advance for your support.

Until next month, “Choose to Include”!

Stephen Jubb, PGA

Executive Director

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf Redesigned Website Increases Tools for Participation

Hobe Sound, FL – The National Alliance for Accessible Golf (Alliance) announces the launch of its redesigned website. Created in cooperation with Potomac Digitek, based in Gaithersburg, MD, the new site provides improved access to its many resources including:New Website.PNG

  • Best Practices for Courses and Programs
  • Toolkit for Golfers
  • Toolkit for Golf Course Owners & Operators
  • Search Engine for Accessible Facilities
  • Speakers Bureau

President Mike Tinkey shares, “The Alliance has been blessed since the inception with a board of passionate, committed, and experienced individuals who have continued to increase awareness and participation while eliminating barriers for people with disabilities to be included and fostering inclusion in all of golf and society. Our new website reflects our continued focus on awareness, training, education, and technical resources, including places to play and learn for new and existing golfers and the associations and businesses that serve them. We bring together therapeutic, recreation, and rehabilitation industries, golf teaching professionals, club and golf associations and allied industries to provide resources for training individuals to better assist persons with disabilities through inclusion in all aspects of the game from recreational play to competitive play.”

Visit the new website at https://www.accessgolf.org/.

About the Alliance

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is a charitable organization working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals to play the game of golf. The Alliance is represented by major golf organizations in the United States, organizations that provide services for people with disabilities and other advocates. Through GAIN™ (Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks) and other programs, the Alliance promotes inclusion and awareness to the golf industry, golf instructors, and the public. For more information about Alliance programs, please visit accessgolf.org.

Alliance Connects with Congressional and Industry Leaders at National Golf Day

Alliance Connects with Congressional and Industry Leaders at National Golf Day

Hobe Sound, FL – On May 1, 2019, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf and members of our Board of Directors joined the Golf Industry on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress on issues facing the Golf Industry such as environmental, labor and health and wellness issues. More than 300 industry representatives participated in approximately 244 Congressional visits and meetings. Other participants under the We Are Golf umbrella included the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Golf Course Builders Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association, National Golf Course Owners Association, National Alliance for Accessible Golf, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, U.S. Golf Manufacturers Council, and the World Golf Foundation.

wag

President Mike Tinkey and Board Member and incoming ASGCA President Jan Bel Jan

Aside from members of the Board of Directors including President Mike Tinkey, Vice President Melissa Low, Secretary Jan Bel Jan, Justin Apel, Chava McKeel, Ronnie Miles, Henry Wallmeyer, and Executive Director Steve Jubb, the Alliance was represented by Tom Houston, a member of the Alliance Advisory Board, and Susan Deis, both accessibility advocates.

One of the topics for discussion during the Hill meetings is the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act. The PHIT Act promotes physical health by allowing the use of pre-tax medical funds – like Health Savings Accounts – to pay for qualified fitness and sports expenses. In the case of individuals with disabilities, it would provide those the opportunity to set up an account and use some of the funds towards golf-related activities. The Golf Industry is rallying around this legislation to help families overcome financial barriers to healthy lifestyles.

About the Alliance: The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is a charitable organization working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals to play the game of golf. The Alliance is represented by major golf organizations in the United States, organizations that provide services for people with disabilities and other advocates. Through GAIN™ (Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks) and other programs, the Alliance promotes inclusion and awareness to the golf industry, golf instructors, and the public. For more information about Alliance programs, please visit accessgolf.org.

 

 

From the Executive Director: 2019 National Golf Day

FL Meeting

National Golf Day delegates visit with the office of Representative Brian Mast (FL).

On May 1, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf had the pleasure of participating in this year’s National Golf Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  The National Alliance was part of a golf presentation in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer along with participating in meetings with various member of Congress on issues facing the golf industry such as environmental, labor and health and wellness.  We had good traffic in the Rayburn Foyer from Members of Congress along with Congressional Staff and others that were visiting the Capitol.  We were pleased to be joined on Capitol Hill by members of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board from the National Alliance, especially Tom Houston and Susan Deis, both advocates for accessibility and inclusion.

On May 2, the National Alliance conducted its Spring Board Meeting at Club Management Association of America (CMAA) offices in Alexandria, VA.  The discussion centered around opportunities over the next year for the National Alliance to educate the golf industry on accessibility and inclusion, as well as discussions on strategic direction for the next few years.  The meeting included some great input from the Board and Advisory and we look forward to formalizing the direction over the next year to achieve our mission of increasing participation in the game of golf by individuals with disabilities and ensuring that those individuals have the opportunity to experience the game at whatever level their abilities allow.

Remember that our website at www.accessgolf.org has some excellent resources not only for golfers with disabilities but facilities and programs as well. Note that the website is being reconstructed as we speak and we expect to have a new look shortly.

Steve Jubb, PGA – Executive Director

 

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.

Alliance Blog Pic

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

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