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July 28, 2017
All Things Are Possible: Making Golf Accessible
The National Alliance for Accessible Golf (Alliance) mission is to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf.
What we know and have seen in 17 years is that through golf, individuals with disabilities become actively engaged in the social fabric of a community, and derive health benefits that improve quality of life.
Because of our grants program made possible by the USGA, more than 100 local programs have been funded with approximately $789,000 in funding. More than 11,000 participants in 24 states have benefited from these inclusive opportunities. But our focus is not on our history or statistics; we are focused forward to achieve our mission. What it all comes down to are the people – the individuals benefitting one by one from inclusion in this great game.
We’ve met Anna from Parkersburg, WV. Anna spent the first six weeks of her life in NICU. At eight months, Anna was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and since age six, Anna has been playing golf. Now 11, Anna qualified for the sub-regionals of the Drive, Chip and Putt event in 2016. Anna also plays golf on the US Kids Golf tour. Back in the Spring of 2016, we had initial contact with Anna’s family when Anna was refused use of a golf car during the US Kids Golf events in West Virginia and Ohio. After we contacted US Kids, a nationwide policy was issued to all of their tournament coordinators to allow youth with disabilities to use a golf car, if possible. Anna has an amazing attitude and outlook on life, sharing “all things are possible” especially in golf.
We’ve met Lauren from the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, TX. At age seven, she had a chance to participate in the hospital’s Learn to Golf program. During this program, participants have the opportunity to learn not only the skills and basics of golf but also important life lessons. Lauren has been successful on and off the course. Now a teenager, she volunteers her time and talents at Learn to Golf clinics, working with younger children who like herself have a medical condition that sometimes interferes with their ability to enjoy recreation and leisure activities.
We’ve met countless individuals who work tirelessly every day to use this game to impact the lives of individuals with disabilities in their communities, like Ron Tristano, Donna White and Tim Wilkes.
We are working together by raising the awareness of inclusion through education, resources and funding to collaboratively change lives – one person at a time. We’ve met so many amazing people who have grown from their exposure to this game, so we know that anything is possible.
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 www.accessgolf.org.