Would you believe that disabled golfers represent 10% of once a week participants (source: Sport England Active People Survey, 2014) in the UK? According to the England Golf, cca. 5.63% (38 000 people) of UK golfers are disabled golfers.
Although we give more attention to other “minority” group (=women) in the golf industry to grow the game, but disabled golfers deserve the same attention.
This is why I was happy to read that the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) has become the Portugal Masters‘ Official Charity. The Portugal Masters will start tomorrow (October 20th-23rd, 2016) at the Oceânico Victoria course.
On Saturday afternoon (October 22nd) spectators will be able to participate in various programs to understand the challenges of disabled golfers, such as an hour-long demonstration and clinic sessions by elite disabled golfers on the practice range and putting greens.
These sessions will be followed by 6 specially-invited elite disabled players – and two local junior golfers – forming two fourballs to play the 18th hole at the Oceânico Victoria course immediately following the final professional group of the day.
Among the 6, is famed leg amputee Manuel de los Santos from The Dominican Republic, who plays off a handicap of 4.
The funds raised during the Portugal Masters will allow EDGA to run pilot projects in Portugal with the aim of making golf more accessible for all. This will include coaches receiving training on teaching golf to children with disabilities, allowing them to work across Portugal and visit rehabilitation centers and disability associations to introduce golf to youngsters.
This is not the first time when a golf club from the Algarve is supporting the cause of disabled golfers. Last year, Pestana Vila Sol was the host of the 2nd European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) Algarve Open. It was the event of the Algarve Tourism Association‘s (ATA) ‘golf4all‘ campaign.