The R&A spends up to £10 million each year in supporting golf development activity and Rules education programmes around the world. This is all made possible by the success of The Open and the revenue it generates.
As part of that continued investment, organisations supporting golfers with disabilities are set to benefit from increased funding packages.
One such organisation is the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA), which will receive £10,000 each year from 2016 to 2018. The association supports a variety of projects promoting golf development for individuals with impairment, as well as organising competitive events for elite disabled golfers.
EDGA recently launched its ‘Tournament Series 2016’ – a schedule of eleven events across Europe. The first of the year, The Penina Open in Portugal, was won for the second time by 17-year-old Adem Wahbi. The young Belgian secured the title with a three-shot victory over No.1 ranked EDGA golfer Manuel De Los Santos, making two birdies and three pars through the last five holes.
EDGA championships are scheduled to take place in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Scotland over the course of 2016.
Among the other bodies to benefit from funding include the Scottish Blind Golf Society, the On Course Foundation, England and Wales Blind Golf, the Society of One-Armed Golfers and the Scottish Pan-Disability group.
As well as providing financial support, The R&A also offers guidance for players with disabilities who often encounter unique problems playing golf.
A Modification of the Rules of Golf for Golfers with Disabilities is jointly produced by The R&A and the USGA. The publication gives details of permissible modifications to the Rules, as well as information on how disabled golfers can play equitably with able-bodied golfers or golfers with other types of disability.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf at The R&A, said, “The R&A is committed to ensuring golf is enjoyed by all who wish to play the sport. We want to encourage everyone to play and it’s important that we continue to support organisations that encourage participation among golfers with disabilities.
“I took the opportunity to attend the 2016 Penina Open in the Algarve recently and, as a relative newcomer to watching this type of golf, was very impressed with the standard and spirit on display.
“The R&A currently contributes £10,000 per annum to EDGA, which is doing an excellent job.
“The variety of grants we have approved will all go towards providing high quality coaching, competitive championships and greater accessibility for those wishing to take up the sport.”
Further details on organisations supported by The R&A:
The Scottish Blind Golf Society
The volunteer-run organisation was awarded £7,500 to support its 2016 events. The charity provide quality competition and training in golf for registered blind and visually impaired people in Scotland.
The On Course Foundation
The On Course Foundation supports the recovery of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans through golf and will receive £10,000 per annum in both 2016 and 2017.
England and Wales Blind Golf
The organisation was awarded £7,500 to support the 2016 British Blind Open Championships which, in rotation with the Scottish Blind Golf Society and the Northern Ireland Blind Golf Association, it hosts every three years. England and Wales Blind Golf also provide registered blind people with the facility to train and compete in the sport.
The Society of One-Armed Golfers
The Society of One-Armed Golfers works to provide a level playing field for golfers with the use of only one arm, and was awarded £5000 towards 2016 events, including a World Championship, which attracts around 50 entries annually.
2016 Scottish Pan-Disability Open Championship
The Scottish Pan-Disability Open Golf Championship is an approved EDGA competition and is to be played at the Green Hotel Golf & Leisure Resort in Kinross. The competition, which was awarded a £500 grant, will be played over 54-holes in August.