Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

It’s not so much the specifics of the rules and the fact they are now enshrined in the laws of the game, but the message this move sends to the golf and non-golf worlds alike.
Golf’s unique ability among sports to cater to a remarkably wide range of the population – including those with disability – is one of its greatest strengths.
Yet it’s one we don’t make enough of, particularly in an environment where the public game is constantly under threat.
Almost no other sport can simultaneously cater to everyone from a five-year-old and a 95-year-old plus a golfer with paraplegia, an amputee or someone who is blind.
Those who campaign against public space being used for golf never think of any of this, of course, and that is a perception it is up to golf to break.
“In the past week three separate examples have stood out about the important role golf can play in the lives of those with disability and all three highlight why it’s important the game lean into this unique ability.” – Rod Morri.
As an industry, the game has done a poor job of telling those stories and, if we’re being honest, probably not done a great job of embracing the notion of diversity from within.
But in a world where devoting resources to public golf is coming under increasing scrutiny, both of those realities need to change.
In the past week three separate examples have stood out about the important role golf can play in the lives of those with disability and all three highlight why it’s important the game lean into this unique ability.
The first came from Sandy Jamieson on Twitter with a post about a regular at his weekly All Abilities One Club sessions at Oakleigh public course in Melbourne.
Sandy’s tweet showed student Anthony who completed nine holes for the first time and his joy is obvious.
Meet Anthony
Who participates in our all abilities 1club sessions weekly
Today was massive for him as he completed 9 holes for the very first time
Golf is amazing #publicgolf @GolfAust @DavidGallichio @AndyMaherDFA @karenharding123 @KazLunn @Rod_Morri @CHamiltonGolf pic.twitter.com/0emVO9d9zP

The second came from the Good-Good golf podcast (yes that is shameless self-promotion as I am a co-host) and a lengthy discussion with Empower Golf’s James Gribble. (Listen HERE)
James – who uses a paragolfer as he has quadriplegia after a fall in 2008 – was on the show to talk about why the addition of the new rules was important.
However, the discussion quickly morphed into one about inclusion and golf’s unique place among all recreational activities to lead the way in this area.
The third reminder came from another podcast interview, this time from the upcoming episode 79 of this magazine’s own show, The Thing About Golf.
The episode will be out Wednesday and the guest is Tony Blackburn from the Golf In Society organisation in the UK.
Golf In Society was founded by Tony and works with people with dementia, Parkinsons and other chronic conditions to both introduce or reacquaint them with golf while also offering respite for those who care for them.
The common thread linking all three of these stories is the realisation and recognition that golf is about much more than numbers and scores and hooks and slices.
It’s not about professional golf or the latest driver or which is the best GPS watch to get.
For many people, golf is far more important than any of that and for many, many more it could be.
The R&A and USGA have sent a strong statement with the addition of Rule 25 to the game.
It is a move which takes seriously those with disability who want to participate beyond just a recreational level and that is what genuine inclusion looks like.
Now the rest of the game – and in particular those who are custodians of public golf – need to advance the same cause as much with actions as with words.

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By admin