Golf is for Everyone

Accessibility and Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities

Published Thursday, August 22, 2019
by Stephen Jubb

Have you ever taken the time to analyze your membership and the demographics of your club? If your facility is like most, your demographics are made up of various age groups, especially baby boomers. Along with being boomers, comes the likelihood that some of your membership may have physical or mental disabilities or have incurred injuries leading to a disability. That is not to say that even the younger generations may not have disabilities.

In fact, more than 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control, that number is up from 57 million in 2010. Today, 26% of the U.S. adult population has some type of disability.

Chances are that some of your membership have some type of disability. The question is, what is your club doing to keep those members engaged and involved with the game of golf? It has been proven that facilities that welcome individuals with disabilities, even private clubs, have a higher retention rate of those members if they incur injuries and disabilities. The keys are accessibility to facilities, engagement and developing programs to keep them involved. Does your facility provide access not only to the clubhouse but also on the course as well?

The Daniel Island Club near Charleston, S.C., is a great example of inclusion of members with disabilities. Director of Instruction Ron Cerrudo welcomes members who have a disability and the engages them in programs at the club. “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,” says Cerrudo. The club also reaches out to the community to support golf programs serving veterans in the area.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf, a golf industry alliance supported by allied golf associations, is a great resource to make your club welcoming to individuals with disabilities.

Founded in 2001, the mission of the National Alliance is to increase participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf and life. 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.

The National Alliance provides training and education on accessibility and inclusion to organizations and individuals working in the golf industry. Each January during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, the National Alliance conducts an annual conference on this subject. In addition, the National Alliance has toolkits and resources available for golf course operators as well as individuals with disabilities seeking to become involved with the game.

For more information on engaging with members and golfers with disabilities at your facility, visit accessgolf.org and contact us at info@accessgolf.org.

Golf is for everyone, including individuals with disabilities. Choose to Include.

Stephen Jubb, PGA, is executive director of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, 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 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 or contact info@accessgolf.org.

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