A new film has been produced highlighting the potential that golf offers to change the lives of people with a disability.
The European Tour, supported by The R&A and the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA), has made a film to illustrate the high standard of a generation of golfers with a disability now competing against each other internationally.
It is hoped their story can be used to inspire greater understanding, inside and outside of golf, of how the sport can enrich the lives of those who have suffered illness or impairment.
European Tour Productions has captured the quality of players who say they are ‘Golfers First’, as they compete in high-standard tournaments with the EDGA in Europe and as far afield as Australia. Many of the players in the film are single figure golfers who hit long drives, swing irons and hole putts while having been challenged by a range of impairments.
The European Golf Association (EGA) gave full access for filming during its European Championship for Golfers with Disability (June 6-8), at the Troia Resort, Portugal. European Tour Productions filmed and spoke with many of the 75 players from 13 countries competing for three trophies in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair categories.
New R&A Affiliate
The EDGA was recently accepted as an affiliate of The R&A. EDGA was formed in 2000, and initially involved disability organisations from seven countries.
Today the association comprises the national governing bodies of 26 countries, mainly from Europe, but also including Golf Australia, Costa Rica, the Indian Golf Union, Israel, Lebanon and New Zealand Golf. The association is not-for-profit and largely volunteer in nature.
Dutch player Monique Kalkman, a former gold medal winner and World Number One in Paralympic tennis, says: “Golf is like a therapy but it doesn’t feel like a therapy because you’re playing a game. You find yourself confronting this piece of nature and trying to get the best out of you. The level of play has grown big time over the last couple of years.”
EDGA spokesperson Sue Bennett said: “We are hugely grateful to our friends at the European Tour and The R&A for their support and the experience and technical excellence of the team making this film from European Tour Productions.
Potential of golf
“We are now asking all friends in the golf media to share this film because it shows how good these players are – which may surprise a few people – while it demonstrates the potential of the sport to positively change people’s lives.”
The EDGA focusses on making the game accessible to people with a disability which, according to the World Health Organisation, amounts to 15% of the population; this translates to approximately 90 million people in Europe alone. EDGA’s vision is to become the leading advisor on the provision of golf for the physically, intellectually and visually impaired.
EDGA works with national federations to provide opportunities for individuals with disability to try golf and for those who already play that wish to be competitive with a meaningful calendar of events, at national, international and world level.
There are three types of EDGA badged tournament that are organised by national federations: Access, Challenge or Premier. In 2016 and 2017, EDGA badged 14 events in 13 countries, and in 2018 they expect a similar number.
Over the last five years, EDGA has made impressive progress. The number of EDGA badged events has more than tripled since 2013, and EDGA’s working relationships with golf’s leading bodies has strengthened significantly.
It enjoys excellent relationships with its national federation members, as well as The R&A, International Golf Federation, WAGR and the European Golf Association, the European Tour, the Ryder Cup European Development Trust and the PGAs of Europe.
EDGA also provide specialist training for therapists, volunteers and professional golfers who wish to deliver awareness or coaching to individuals with disability, and work with the PGAs of GB&I and the PGA of Holland in this space.
EDGA is committed to working in two main areas going forward – growing the opportunity to participate in golf; and providing competitive opportunities for golfers with disability to excel.
For more information, visit www.edgagolf.com