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Golf Policy & Procedure:

For the Good of the Game

Presented by: Gary Robb

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A picture of a double paraplegic man golfing with the aid of a special chair.

Golf Research

  • Number of Golfers with Disabilities
  • Pace of Play
  • Turf Grass Damage
  • Perceptions about Golfers with Disabilities
  • Survey of People with disabilities regarding their interest / experience with golf (1995)
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  • To determine extent of experience and current interest in playing golf


  • Mailed survey to over 1000 individuals with disabilities in NCA research subject pool
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Key Findings

  • 10% of people with disabilities play golf
  • 22% not playing now, played prior to disability
  • 35% currently not playing would like to play
  • Perceived barriers to participation

  • Cost (36%)
  • Lack of independence on the course (33%)
  • Uncomfortable playing in front of others (33%)
  • Course staff not knowing how to assist (31%)
  • No one to play with (26%)
  • Major factors influencing participation:

  • Lessons specific to disability (36%)
  • Knew how to swing better (38%)
  • Could afford it (43%)
  • Course staff knew how to assist (31%)
  • Course facilities accessible (29%)
  • Increased sensitivity to disabled (27%)

A chart depicting percentages of golfer with and without disabilities in the USA.  12% of total population of US are current golfers.  29% of total population are potential golfers in the US.  10% of current golfers are disabled.  35% of potential golfers are disabled.
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* - “A Strategic Perspective on the Future of Golf,” The National Golf Foundation and McKinsey & Company, 1999
** - “Survey of Golfers with Disabilities,” Proceedings of the Fifth National Forum on Accessible Golf, National Center on Accessibility, Indiana University and Clemson University, 1996

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A picture of a man golfing with the aid of a special chair.

Status of golfers with disabilities in America (1999)


  • To determine experiences of golf course operators, instructors, and golfers with disabilities regarding people with disabilities playing golf
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A picture of a man golfing with the aid of a special chair.


  • Mailed survey to 50 golf course operators
  • Personal Interviews with 43 Golf Course operators in Florida, Utah, South Carolina and Missouri
  • Telephone interviews with 17 golfers with mobility impairments and
  • Telephone interviews with 18 directors – owners of organizations providing services for golfers with disabilities

Summary Comparison of 3 Groups





GC personnel need more information and education on golfers with disabilities




GC need information about making their course and facilities accessible




GC are concerned about mobility devices on the course




GC are concerned about pace of play




GC want objective research data on impact of mobility devices




GC= golf course owners
GO= organizations serving golfers with disabilities
GD= golfers with disabilities

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