Access Today, Winter 1998
court battle: Outcome has implications for recreation, parks &
Casey Martin is a professional golfer. Casey Martin also has a disability.
The Professional Golfers Association Tour is a private membership
organization. They set the rules for participation in their organization’s
primary function - - the professional golf tour. Casey Martin says
he needs a golf car to be able to play because of his deteriorating
right leg. He has a congenital disease called Klippel-Trenaunay
Syndrome. The disability, a congenital circulatory disorder, causes
Martin to limp severely and to experience pain when required to
walk. The PGA Tour does NOT allow golfers to ride a golf car
on its tour.
The Issues: The issues are both legal and moral. The legal issues
will be determined by the courts. The moral issues will linger for
years to come. The legal issues to be determined:
If the courts rule that the PGA Tour is a private organization under the definition
of such by the Americans with Disabilities Act, then case closed.
The Tour can do as it wishes with Casey Martin or anything else pertaining
to the Tour. If the courts rule that the PGA Tour is subject to provisions
of the ADA, then the battle is joined.
- Is the PGA Tour subject to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities
- Does the PGA Tour have the sole right to determine the rules
of play within its organization?
- Is walking an integral part of the game of golf and would allowing
the use of a golf car fundamentally change the nature of the game
or give the car rider an unfair playing advantage?
The PGA Tour’s objection to allowing the golf car to be used is based
on the following:
- Over 500 years of tradition of walking.
- It would provide an unfair advantage to the golf car user, particularly
on hot days.
- Walking is an integral part of the game.
Counter points to the PGA’s argument:
- People with disabilities have been discriminated against for over 500
years, but does that make it right?
- Many golfers consider a golf car a disadvantage because it distracts
their attention. Walking improves their focus on the next shot.
In addition, there is no proven evidence that playing out of a
golf car improves one’s golf score.
- The act of playing golf actually starts when a golfer takes
the stance and concludes after the ball is struck. What happens
in between strokes is inconsequential to primary activity.
Additionally, golf cars are used in qualifying for the PGA Tour,
on the Senior PGA Tour and in professional and amateur tournaments
around the country. If walking is integral to the game, then what
is it that all these other people are playing?
Many who support the PGA Tour’s position state that allowing Martin to ride
a golf car will open the floodgates, and they further ask where
will it stop? Examples such as what if someone in a wheelchair decides
they want to play in the NBA come up.
Arnold Palmer, the legendary golfer, is quoted as saying I likened
it to a scenario in football where the quarterback might have some
physical disability, but he can take the ball from center and throw.
But if you didn’t allow anyone to tackle him, then it would be a
somewhat similar situation. In fact, both cases are totally
non-analogous. First, a fraction of one percent of the people who
play golf have the skill to score well enough and consistently enough
to even come close to qualifying for the PGA Tour, or professional
golf at any level. Where are the floodgates?
The comparisons of a player with a disability that uses an assistive
mobility device (wheelchair) on the PGA Tour to that of participating
in the NBA or NFL are non-justifiable because walking and running
are without question an integral part and fundamental nature of
football and basketball. Additionally, the ADA clearly suggests
that separate programs may be necessary in order to provide an accommodation
that is as effective as that provided to others. This idea,
coupled with the issue of safety led to the inception of specialty
programs like wheelchair basketball. Specialty wheelchair
sports leagues recognize the safety issues of combining mobile players
and wheelchairs in contact environments. Thus, for the program
to be effective, all players are put on an equal playing field,
either all in wheelchairs or all standing. The walking/riding
component of golf is more detached during the actual play than it
is in football or basketball. Is walking part of the game
in golf? Or is golf the game of making the shot and scoring
those totals? These questions, specifically on the PGA Tour,
will have to be determined by the courts.
Guidance for golf course owners & operators
In light of a court decision, does this mean park and recreation professionals
are exempt from providing access for golfers with disabilities to
the course during tournament or recreational play?
Reflect back at the legal issues in front of the courts. The
first issue is a question as to whether or not the PGA is a private
club and thus exempt from the provisions of the ADA. Park
and recreation entities with golf courses and tournaments open to
the public are covered under both Title II and Title III of the
ADA, depending on whether or not the entity is a municipality-unit
of state or local government (Title II) or a private business providing
public accommodations (Title III).
The second issue is that of entity responsibility as a provider
of public accommodations. Both titles of the ADA require modifications
to policies, practices and procedures to ensure equal opportunity
to benefit from the programs, services, and activities of the entities.
The third issue is a question of walking as an integral part of
the game within the PGA Tour itself. This issue may not carryover
to public golf courses in recreational and tournament play.
Thus, it is in the best interest of the golf course owner/operator
to allow golf car use by those golfers with disabilities needing
assistance in order to fully participate in the game.
Additionally for golf course owners/operators conducting public
tournaments, the recently proposed United States Golf Association
rules modifications will be of great benefit for planning tournament
inclusion of golfers with disabilities. The proposed rules
modifications provide specific guidelines for play rules as related
to the disability and adaptation of the golfer. The USGA proposed
rules modifications are available free of charge from the publishers:
Golf House, Communications Department, Far Hills, NJ (908) 234-2300.
For a complete list of national resources for including golfers
with disabilities, see the NCA web page at www.ncaonline.org.
Research Director takes new position with VA Easter Seal Society
Dr. Edward Hamilton, Director of Research for the NCA since its beginning
in 1992, has left NCA for a new position as Executive Director and
President of the Virginia Easter Seal Society. Dr. Hamilton,
also an Assistant Professor at Indiana University, was instrumental
in the founding and development of the Center. During his tenure
with NCA, Hamilton focused his research in the areas of beach, swimming
pool, golf and trail accessibility. In doing so, he created a subject
pool of over 5,000 individuals with disabilities who were agreeable
to participate in NCA research activities. His work for the U.S.
Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board on swimming
pool accessibility is being used by the Board to develop national
accessibility standards. He is presently working with the
Access Board’s Regulatory Negotiating Committee on standards development
for outdoor areas. Dr. Hamilton began his new position with
the Virginia Easter Seal Society on January 2, 1998.
NCA position opening
The National Center on Accessibility is seeking qualified applicants
for Director of Research. The Director of Research is responsible
for developing and implementing the Center’s research program in
the areas of accessibility to recreation, parks and tourism. In
addition, the Research Director will work with other NCA staff on
developing and implementing effective educational and technical
assistance programs. Interested parties should send a vitae
and letter of application to Gary Robb, Director, National Center
on Accessibility, 5040 State Road 67 North, Martinsville, Indiana
web page now on-line
The National Center on Accessibility has a new web page featuring the most
current available information on access to playgrounds. The
development of the NCA Playground Access web page was made possible
through corporate sponsorship from national playground equipment
manufacturers including GameTime, Miracle Recreation Equipment,
Playworld Systems, and Little Tikes. The NCA Playground Access
web page features:
- Background on the development of accessibility guidelines for playgrounds
- Frequently asked questions regarding playground access
- Planning considerations for the design of inclusive play environments
- Recommended questions to ask manufacturers and sales representatives
when selecting new equipment and surfaces
- One agency’s commitment to the inclusion of children of all
abilities in play environments
- Links to other playground resources on the world wide web
for information on the issues and solutions to providing public
playgrounds that are accessible to children with disabilities.
conducts training for Blue Ridge Parkway
In October the National Center on Accessibility conducted its Retrofitting
for Accessibility training course for personnel of the National
Park Service’s Blue Ridge Parkway. Approximately 37 staff
from throughout the Parkway and sites like Mountain National Military
Park, Guilford Courthouse Military Park, Carl Sandburg National
Historic Site, the Denver Service Center, and Black Mountain Recreation
and Park Department attended the 2 1/2 day course held at the North
Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. As the training course was
held at the education center of the Arboretum, staff from the Arboretum
were also able to attend and benefit from the course.
John Gentry, Chief of Maintenance and Engineering for the Blue Ridge
Parkway, attended an NCA training course in 1992; while Terry McElrath,
Parkway Accessibility Coordinator, recently completed the NCA Trails
Symposium. Affirming the Blue Ridge Parkway’s commitment to
access for visitors with disabilities, Gentry and McElrath worked
together to bring NCA to Asheville and conduct training for a broad
range of personnel. NCA’s Director of Technical Assistance,
Ray Bloomer, and Director of Education, Jennifer Bowerman, along
with the National Park Service’s Dave Park presented training sessions
on the needs of people with disabilities, legislation, accessibility
standards, principles of universal design, recommended guidelines
outdoor developed areas and historic sites, safety and planning
Agencies can contract NCA for specially tailored courses or participate
as a host site for open registration courses. Organizations
interested in partnering with NCA for accessibility training can
contact NCA at (765) 349-9240.
In the Fall 1997 issue of Access Today, the article ASTM, Access Board and
Beneficial Designs partner to develop standards for playground surfaces
incorrectly implied that work and energy are equivalent. The
work required to cross a surface, as measured by the wheelchair
work measurement method, depends on the forces applied to the wheelchair
pushrim and the distance traveled. Energy refers to the oxygen
consumed or the calories used by the wheelchair rider. The energy
required to cross a surface depends on factors such as the movement
efficiency and physical fitness of the individual. For more
information, please contact Beneficial Designs at (408) 429-8447.
negotiation committee continues to meet on outdoor developed areas
The U.S. Access Board’s regulatory negotiation committee on outdoor developed
areas continues to meet during the winter months to come to consensus
on accessibility guidelines.
The committee is tentatively scheduled to meet January 31 through
February 2 in San Diego and May 19-21 at Bradford Woods, Martinsville,
Indiana. These meetings are opened to the public and scheduled
throughout the country. Thus, park and recreation professionals
affected by the proposed guidelines are encouraged to attend the
proceedings when in their region. See the Access Board’s web
page for more information on future meetings and minutes from previous
meetings at www.access-board.gov.
On January 13, the U.S. Access Board published final rules for Elements for
Children's Use. The rule can provide useful guidance when planning
children’s environments specific to reach ranges, handrail and drinking
fountain heights, along with space and other requirements for restrooms.
The rule becomes effective April 13, 1998. After publication
in the Federal Register, the rule can be downloaded at the Access
Boards web page (www.access-board.gov) or by phone order to the
Access Board at (202) 272-5434, indicate publication #S-30.
Universal Design Course brings designers & interpreters together
In December, the National Center on Accessibility conducted its first training
course specifically designed to bring designers and interpreters
together in the accessibility planning process. 81 professionals
attended NCA’s Universal Design ‘97: Methods to Include the Widest
Spectrum of Users, People with Disabilities and Older Americans
in Parks, Recreation and Interpretive Environments, in New Orleans.
Architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, exhibit designers,
interpretive specialists, and program managers came together for
the week-long course to discuss the principles of universal design,
accessibility standards and guidelines,
technologies, adaptations and designs for including visitors with
disabilities. Attendees participated in general sessions and
a choice of architectural or interpretive tracks.
Architect and consultant, John Salmen of Universal Designers and
Consultants presented on the principles for universal design, products
to enhance access, and lodging accommodations. Salmen also discussed
the issue of integrated accessible stadium seating and sight lines
currently in litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Training sessions also addressed principles and techniques for maps
and models, demonstrations, audio description, communication technologies,
safety concerns, exhibit text, resources, and planning concepts.
Guest presenters for the training course also included Jan Majewski,
Accessibility Coordinator for the Smithsonian Institute; Rebecca
Fuller, Artist and Model Maker; Larry Goldberg, Director of the
National Center on Accessible Media; Susan Spain, Landscape Architect
for the National Park Service; and Dave Park of the National Park
Service’s Accessibility Management Program.
Several New Orleans resources also spoke to training course participants
on the specific needs of visitors with disabilities including Dr.
Louaunne Williams-Gilyot of the New Orleans School District, Henry
Brinkman and Wendy Edwards of the Louisiana Relay Service, and Becky
Tuttle of LIFE of South Mississippi.
Susan Davenport, Interpretive Specialist, served as the National
Park Service’s site host to this NCA training course, welcoming
participants to the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park in the French
Quarter of New Orleans. Davenport also assisted NCA as a training
host in site logistics and program preparation.
During the training course, participants had the opportunity to
visit sites within the city and discuss accessibility issue for
museum and park visitors. Mid-week trips were made to the
New Orleans Jazz and Mardi Gras Museums where access to interpretive
exhibits was reviewed. Designers worked on planning and retrofitting
a French Quarter visitor center that encompassed the principles
of universal design.
Later in the week, interpretive specialists and designers grouped
together to assess accessibility features and provide recommendations
for other New Orleans visitor sites including the historic Hermann-Grima
House, the Cabildo Museum, the Louisiana Children’s Museum and the
Aquarium of the Americas. Representatives from each of the
New Orleans sites participated in the training course with hopes
of bringing back course information and recommendations from the
site visits to their agency for future accessibility project improvements.
Due to the immense success of this two-track training course, NCA
will conduct Universal Design ‘98 in a similar format. The
course will be held in November or December, with the location still
to be announced. Look for further details on the upcoming
course in future issues of Access Today or on the NCA homepage at
kit available through NRPA
The National Recreation and Park Association, in conjunction with Access
Source, has an ADA Notice Kit available for park and recreation
entities covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities
Specifically, Title II of the ADA (35.106) requires a public entity
to disseminate information to applicants, beneficiaries and other
interested persons to inform them of the rights and protections
against discrimination assured them by the ADA.
In a recent federal district court case, Clarkson v Coughlin, the
court ruled that a public entity had violated the law by failing
to provide these notices. To meet the requirements of the
ADA, it is essential that parks and recreation facilities providing
notice, offer alternative notice formats accessible to people with
disabilities (e.g. braille, audio cassette, rather than merely printed
text). Doing so ensures that communication with people with
disabilities are as effective as communications with all others,
as required by the ADA.
The ADA Notice Kit is designed to notify park patrons, visitors,
and employees on the park and recreation program accessibility,
reasonable accommodation, effective communication, employment and
ADA resources. In poster, braille, audio cassette and computer
diskette formats, the notice states the Title II entity will not
discriminate on the basis of disability. Additionally, it
states the entity’s commitment to the inclusion of visitors and
employees with disabilities, and makes referrals for filing a complaint
should the patron or employee feel they have been discriminated
The ADA Notice Kit is $59 plus $5.50 shipping and handling.
It can be ordered through Access Source, 1221 N Dearborn, Suite
210 South, Chicago, IL 60610. Phone (312) 640-1438, Fax (312)