With 13% of the Irish population (595,335) having a disability (central statistics office 2011) we believe it is imperative to grow the opportunities available to those with disabilities in golf. The R&A from a practical point of view have subdivided disabled golfers into groups, each of which has a need for different rules modifications.
These groups include:
- Blind Golfers (more than 220,000 of Ireland’s population are blind or visually impaired)
- Amputee Golfers (over 4,000 people are currently living with amputation)
- Golfers requiring canes or crutches
- Golfers requiring wheelchairs
- Golfers with learning disabilities
Phase Two Plans
Our commitments for phase two of our development plan is to:
- Develop a section on the website that directs people to the relevant organisations and raises awareness of the amendments to the rules in relation to disability golf
- Create a series of case studies that showcase the opportunities for golfers with disabilities
- Increase awareness on how clubs could be taking steps to become more inclusive
- Undertake an inclusion awareness survey to identify what golfers understanding of inclusivity is and use this to measure success by undertaking it in two years’ time
- Support the delivery of a PGA CPD workshop
What are we currently doing?
We are currently examining our own inclusion practices as our vision is to become an organisation that leads by example in this field. We have begun work with CARA and to date we have:
- Joined as members of the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA)
- Attended the R&A “Golfers with disabilities” conference
- Provided education to all staff members around the area of inclusion
- Developed a section on inclusion in our practical leader’s course
- Supported the delivery of the “Els for Autism Initiative” and Cork “Inclusion for all” programme
- Set up a Disability & Inclusion working group
Both the GUI and ILGU currently grant aid various organisations that deal with golfers with disabilities e.g. Irish Blind Golf, Irish Deaf Golf. They also provide free coaching, access to the GUI academy, uniforms to several individuals availing of the grant aid and to Special Olympics.
European Disabled Golf Association
The European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) was in the year 2000 by organisations representing golfers with disability from seven countries. Today the association is made up of the National Governing Bodies from 23 countries. Although EDGA is focused on the European dimension, organisations from around the World regularly reference to EDGA for direction, advice and more specifically the definitions of impairment, eligibility and tournament criteria.
As a European organisation, EDGA is uniquely positioned to support the development of initiatives which promote, the development of golf for individuals with impairment across Europe, positively influence public perception and offer meaningful and relevant advice to golf’s ruling authorities.
“We help individuals with impairment to start, stay, succeed and enjoy golf. We advise and guide organisations on tournaments, training and services to golfers with disability.”
For further information on the EDGA, please visit: http://www.edgagolf.com