Program Model Examples for Inclusive Golf
The following are just two examples of programs that could be used as existing models to develop inclusive golf programs in a community. They provide a wide range of options and opportunities for communities to consider. Program components have been developed and could be used to initiate local community inclusive golf programs.
GAIN™ (Golf Accessible and Inclusive Networks)
Since 2002, The National Alliance for Accessible Golf has been sponsoring the development of inclusive golf programs in communities across the USA. GAIN is using the game of golf as the primary medium to maximize opportunities for inclusion into the fabric of the local communities for people with disabilities. The program not only provides opportunities for people with and without disabilities to play golf together, but also to participate in a wide range of activities that lead to greater community inclusion. The program was developed from research conducted by the Alliance, and features involvement in an array of community based resources, volunteers and mentors.
The GAIN™ program allows a community or organization to develop an inclusive program from small and gradual beginnings, to full-blown year-round programs. The following are examples of how the program may be developed in a community:
The GAIN™ Partners Program uses the existing program structure and resources of the local agency or organization and adds the inclusive golf component. The Alliance will work to provide valuable information on accessibility, disability awareness, equipment and program modifications and adaptations as well as alternative instructional techniques for those with unique physical attributes.
The Camp GAIN™ concept is one that is very familiar to community recreation and park agencies, such as municipal park and recreation departments, YMCAs, YWCAs, and Girl's and Boy's Clubs. This program provides a mechanism to introduce the community and people with disabilities into the game of golf, in an intensive but short-term program during summer months and school break times.
The GAIN™ Community Program is designed as a year-round, comprehensive community-based approach to offering an inclusive golf program that is reoccurring and locally sustainable. The program becomes an ongoing offering within a community and brings together multiple resources and agencies/organizations including public and private recreation agencies, golf entities and the rehabilitation community, organizations providing services to individuals with disabilities, transportation providers, private businesses and others.
The National Alliance for Accessible Golf staff provides ongoing technical support and oversight to ensure the goals of the program are realized to their fullest potential. For more information on this program, contact the National Alliance for Accessible Golf at www.accessgolf.org. A short video on the program is also available for viewing at: http://www.accessgolf.org/news/PGA-video.cfm
Through its GAIN™ program, the Alliance has developed a comprehensive golf and inclusion curriculum that is adaptable for people of all abilities. One example of how the GAIN™ program has been adapted to people with and without disabilities is reflected in the GAIN™Scorecard©. The Scorecard© is provided to each participant, with or without disabilities, at the beginning of their involvement in the program and is used throughout as a learning tool.
The First Tee®
The First Tee® provides young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop life-enhancing values such as confidence, perseverance and judgment through golf and character education. The First Tee® has over 200 chapters in 49 states and serves over 3,000,000 participants. The newer National School program is being conducted in over 3000 elementary schools in 41 states. This program trains physical educators to introduce children to the game of golf and The First Tee® Nine Core Values ™ during regular physical education classes.
A 2009 survey conducted by The First Tee® revealed that over 150 First Tee® sites already include some individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities in their programs. While this is a small number, it does present a significant potential for inclusive golf program growth within this very large national golf program. An example of how one First Tee® Program in Gladstone, Oregon at the Children's Course is demonstrated in the video
Another First tee program in Toledo, Ohio has teamed up with the Independent Living Center in that area to combine a GAIN™ land a First Tee® program in the community. This program is piloting what is expected to be a national model template for including children with disabilities into First Tee® programs across the United States.