The G4D Open

Five things to know | The G4D Open

The R&A
12 May 24
3 mins
Following its successful inaugural edition last year, The G4D Open returns to Woburn this week as the world’s leading golfers with disabilities compete for success. Here are five things to know. 

Golf’s most inclusive championship

Established last year, The G4D Open will again feature a field of 80 men and women – aged from 15 to 68 – of both amateur and professional status from across the globe with 19 countries represented, including the USA, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Sweden and Turkey. Of those, 45 are returning having competed last year. Held in partnership between The R&A and the DP World Tour and supported by EDGA (formerly the European Disabled Golf Association), the championship features nine sport classes across multiple impairment groups.  Contested over three days from Wednesday to Friday and across 54 holes of gross stroke play, there will be an overall winner, along with an opposite sex winner and a gross prize in each of the nine sport classes which cover various categories in Standing, Intellectual, Visual and Sitting. All women and the seated and visual impaired players (regardless of gender) will play from the green tees. All other men will play from the yellow.

Lawlor returns to defend title against world’s best 

A year on from his historic win in the inaugural Championship, Brendan Lawlor takes his place in a world-class field with hopes of retaining his title. Lawlor, 27, edged out Kipp Popert to win by two shots last May and arrives ranked second on the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD), with the Englishman – a nine-time winner on the G4D Tour – headlining the field as the top-ranked player.  The Irishman has a rare condition called Ellis–van Creveld syndrome, characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs, and is one of the most recognised golfers with a disability. Joining them are 12 other members of the world’s top 20, with the top five all competing. Daphne van Houten is the leading female golfer teeing it up, with the Dutch player ranked 25th in the world. 

Woburn hosts again

For the second year running, The G4D Open is being staged over the Duchess Course at Woburn. The towering pine trees venue ensure accuracy off the tee is vital, with last year’s winning score of three-over-par highlighting the challenge of the undulating layout. Woburn has a rich history of hosting amateur and professional championships with Final Qualifying for The Open from 2014 to 2017 and most recently the AIG Women's Open in 2019, both played on the Marquess Course. Spectators are encouraged to attend at Woburn for The G4D Open, with attendance and car parking free of charge.

G4D development continues

The G4D Tour, launched in February of 2022, is part of the DP World Tour’s commitment to inclusivity in golf and aimed at the leading ranked players from the WR4GD. The schedule was revamped last year to ensure that golfers across a wider spectrum of disabilities can compete for glory. The G4D Open follows hot on the heels of the first G4D Tour event held in conjunction with a PGA TOUR tournament at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson So far this season, the third since the G4D Tour’s inception, Lachlan Wood and Robin Rambo Singh have both won for the first time, with the latter lifting silverware in Ras Al Khaimah at the first event for leading Net ranked players. Popert and fellow Englishman Mike Browne, who is another player in the field this week, have won titles in Kenya and the USA respectively.

Series of off-the-course initiatives planned

The G4D Open showcases all three stages of the player pathway from sampler, to participant, to competitor, with a series of initiatives scheduled during the week. Among those, golf’s national federations will assemble in a workshop on Wednesday where they will be encouraged to chart the future by building capacity in G4D: themes including the improvement of venues, communications, competitions, coaching and workforces.  With a nod to coaching for visually impaired golfers, those present will be able to try out the 'Visual Putting Challenge' near the clubhouse at Woburn, with samplers relying solely on their guide and sense of feel and balance to succeed. Members of two groups of youngsters with limb difference will also receive a taster session in learning how to swing the club from an expert PGA coach.  The establishment of The G4D Open follows on from the inclusion of the Modified Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities into the Rules of Golf and The R&A and USGA’s on-going administration of the WR4GD.