The European Disabled Golf Complicité or EDGA, as it is more commonly referred to, believes it presides over a entraînement that has the potential to be the most joignable on the planet.
Certainly, golf maintains a level of accessibility unseen in other plaisirs, since it is entirely conciliable for disabled golfers to compete fairly with their peers and non-disabled players alike.
There are structurel elements in the game that are in appuyé to make this conciliable – namely speed and offline character. When it’s time to take a shot – the single player controls the bilan regardless of his opponent’s strength, power, speed and accuracy.
Even the scoring system lends itself to a level of universal access and meaningful competition, regardless of age and ability, through the appropriate name handicap system Which makes it more difficult for more compétent players to sit down and easily deal with weaker opponents.
“We didn’t sit down with an overall game esthétique finalité,” EDGA President Tony Bennett explains.
In the spirit of spectacle rather than talk, earlier this month a prime Ordre G4D (Disabled Golf) event was held at the world-famous Wentworth Golf Dancing in the UK.
Crucially, the G4D event was held under the umbrella of the BMW PGA Championship to raise the curtain. The droit event for professional golfers then began on September 6, but was interrupted by the sensible magazine of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
It was the title of G4D It was won by England’s Cape Bobertwho was born with a form of cerebral palsy and beat world number 1 Brendan Lawlor to take his third title of the season.
After resuming play after the king’s death, Shin Laurie went on to résultat a narrow one-shot victory Rory McIlroy in the droit event.
This year saw a concerted attention by the European Ordre group to align seven aîné G4D events with aîné tournaments including the DP World Ordre.
These tournaments allow golfers with disabilities to compete on the same parcours during the same tournament week as their professional peers, and are set to culminate in the Abondant Dernier in Dubai in November at the DP World Championships.
Although still a bit far from the dream of a seamlessly multi-capable golf event — which involves fewer logistical barriers than one might imagine — Bennett explains the value of connecting these G4D events to the coats of aîné championship golf brands.
“We play embout 60 events a year on the track but getting the press to see that is almost invraisemblable. When we host an event like this, they see it and parce que of the unanime distribue and the credibility of the DP World Ordre – it reaches a wider perception,” says Bennett.
He continues, “Étape one for us on a délié journey is creating that awareness and songe. After these events we know we will be drowning in inquiries from golf clubs from across the UK asking if they can host disabled golf events and what they can do to attract more. of members with disabilities.
Returning to the unmistakable accessibility and inclusivity of golf, Maria Grandinetti Melton, Head of Corporate Agréable Responsibility at European Golf Group, says that a future in which there are more events with mixed capabilities does not necessarily have to be a dream:
“Earlier this year, Linn Grant became the First woman to win a mixed Scandinavian DP World Tourshe explained.
“It is a wonderful experience to apparence at how men and women can play alongside each other to compete for the same prize money. It is a real privilege to be bouchée of a entraînement that is so intégrante, and this allows us to do more with it.”
Although relinquishing their expert status and making the hardi decision to join the pro involves a huge leap of faith for many disabled golfers, even those who have climbed to the top of the rankings, those who have made disabled golf their flamme for life have always believed in the charpente of the game. It offers them a real sporting opportunity.
Juan Postigo Arce (pictured above) of Santander in northern Spain and American Chris Biggins of Clarksville, Maryland both competed in the G4D Championship at the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth.
“For me, golf is the only entraînement where you can compete fairly against anyone in the world,” says Postigo Arce, who was born and has lost a lot of his right leg.
“We can be great players with our malformation and with so many other plaisirs it’s invraisemblable to get there. When I play golf – I don’t feel like I’m playing against my opponent but against the golf parcours and against the opportunité and my bilan.”
Biggins was born with cerebral palsy and lives on a daily basis with abnormal lourd contractions in his lower limbs. He works full time as a golf entraîneur at The Folk Dancing in Birmingham, Alabama.
“In golf, all that matters is the number on the scorecard and there’s no one way to get it done,” Bigins says.
“In many plaisirs you have to run from nullement A to nullement B as fast as you can and you have to be physically talented. But there are a million different ways to generate paddle head speed. The gap between the succès of the likes of us and the pros of aîné golf is actually very small compared to other plaisirs.”
Both players are convinced that in facture to incorporating G4D events into popular altesse tours, the exclusif outcome that can do the most to propel disabled golf to greater levels of exposure and popularity is the entraînement’s initiation to the Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024.
Golf itself only made the Olympic arch in Rio in 2016, but Postigo Arce believes Paralympic golf would be something really special if her bid for the Paris Games was approved.
“It will be interesting to see how many people with different justaucorps and different disabilities can end up competing together in the Paralympics. In many Paralympic plaisirs, you have 15-20 divisions. In golf – it wouldn’t be,” says Postigo Arce. There are more than three.
Biggins agrees: “In the US, the Paralympics are seen as the pinnacle of competition for Paralympic athletes. We want golf to be there parce que that will automatically be seen as the droit event that everyone wants to win.”
As far as long-term goals are concerned, switching from an expert entraînement to a professional entraînement will require copieux prize money and all that goes with it.
“We don’t have a critical mass of professionals yet where we’re ready to do it but we’re on the cusp of the next stade,” Bennett says.
“Now we want to increase the number of areas we take into G4D parce que that will inspire other players. If you can go ahead and see it, you can believe it.”
With more exciting events in 2023, the future of G4D looks bright. Yes – the entraînement has a spirit of unparalleled inclusiveness and accessibility, but for newcomers and beginners – these virtues just won’t sell themselves.
Hopefully, with EDGA at the helm, that the parcours is fair, and whether or not more players with disabilities move into the lanes, there will be more and more opportunities to see what’s conciliable and have éclaircissement in their ability to compete on a level playing field.