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National Center on Physical Activity & Disability (NCPAD)
   Golf: You can play too!

by Gary Robb

This is a photo of a man using his crutch for support as he swings his golf club.
A golfer uses his crutch for support as he swings his golf club.
Ever think about playing golf? Do you think maybe because you have a disability that you can't play? Do you wonder how you will get around the golf course if you use a wheelchair, crutches, cane? If you are blind or have a visual impairment, did you know that you can still play golf? Do you wonder if there are people knowledgeable about teaching people with disabilities to play golf? If you are curious about the answers to these questions-read on-you might be surprised.

This is a photo of a man swinging his golf club from his wheelchair.
A golfer with disabilities swings his club from his wheel chair.
Who can play golf?

Golf can be played by anyone. If you played golf before you became disabled, you can play again. If you never played golf, but would like to, you can playregardless of the type of disability that you might have. Hundreds of people with disabilities are playing golf- why not join them?

How do I get started?

There are a number of things that you can do to get started in golf. If you don't know who or where to start, begin by contacting the organizations listed at the end of this article. If you have a computer, there are many Internet sites that include information on where to get instruction, adapted golf equipment and resources. It is likely that there is an organization or individual near you that can help you get started.

This is a photo of a man using his adaptive golf cart for support as he prepares to putt.
(Top) A golfer with disabilities uses his adaptive golf cart for support as he prepares to putt.
This is a photo of a man putting on the green while seated on his golf cart.
(Bottom) A golfer with disabilities putts on the green while seated on his golf cart.
What Kind of Assistive Devices can I use?

There are many assistive devices on the market to better accommodate golfers with disabilities to play the game. Specially designed golf clubs, mobility devices, gripping aides, practice facility equipment such as automated ball teeing devices, ball retrieval aides, etc.

An extensive listing of companies and organizations that manufacture various devices for golfers with disabilities may be found at the National Center on Accessibility Internet site at: www.ncaonline.org

What are some tips for becoming familiar with the game of golf?

  1. The best way to learn about golf is to go to a golf practice facility and begin to practice.
  2. If a friend or family member that you know plays, ask them to go with you.
  3. If you learn of a golf instructional program in your area, enroll in an instructional class or at least begin by attending a golf program or clinic.
  4. Watch golf on TV and see how the game is played.
  5. Read golf magazines and books to pick up some of the finer points of the game.
  6. Call a local golf course or parks department to determine if they have people or programs for instructing people with disabilities to play golf.
  7. Ask if local parks or golf courses have adapted golf equipment such as golf carts and golf clubs.

A number of companies, are now manufacturing devices that are designed to accommodate both golfers with and without disabilities. Specifically, single rider cars that are lighter in weight and that have turf sensitive tires are now available.

Many PGA and LPGA golf professionals are providing instruction for golfers with disabilities. In addition, numerous rehabilitation and recreational instructional programs and national organizations provide information and conduct tournaments that include golfers with disabilities.

Resources that you can use:

National Center on Accessibility
Phone 765-349-9240
Email: nca@indiana.edu
Internet: www.ncaonline.org (Indiana)

Association of Disabled American Golfers
Phone: 303-738-1675
Email: adag@usga.org
Internet: www.adag.org (Colorado)

National Amputee Golf Association
Phone: 800-633-6242
Email: info@amputee-golf.org (New York)

United States Blind Golfers Association
Phone/Fax: 904-893-4511 (Florida)

Physically Challenged Golfers Association, Inc..
Phone: (860) 676-2035
Email: pcga@townusa.com (Connecticut)

Physically Limited Golfers Association
Phone: 218-722-4439 (Minnesotoa)

Fore Hope, Inc.
Phone: 614-459-4673
Email: Mindy@ForeHope.org (Ohio)

Challenge Golf Program
Phone: 216-784-1271 (Ohio)

Sister Kenny Institute
Phone: 612-863-5712 (Minnesota)

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital and Clinic
Phone: 630 462-4039 (Illinois)

United States Golf Association (NJ),
Phone: 908-234-2300
Internet: www.usga.org

Ladies Professional Golf Association
Internet: www.lpga.com

PGA of America
Internet: www.pgaonline.com

*The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center on Accessibility, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago do not formally recommend or endorse the equipment listed. Individuals should investigate and determine on their own which equipment best fits their needs.

Contact NCPAD: (800) 900-8086 (voice and tty)


NCPAD is headquartered at the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1640 West. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL 60608-6904. NCPAD is funded by the Secondary Conditions Prevention Branch, Office on Disability and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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