“Golf: a fertile field for diverse abilities” – Tony Bennett

SportWorks TALK Inclusion

Decodifying the true potential of Golf for athletes has been a road with many ups and downs. From walking the path of an athlete to becoming an experienced coach, Tony Benett,  Head of Disability and Inclusion for the International Golf Federation and President of the European Disabled Golf Association, has experienced first-hand the unexplored potential of Golf for athletes with all kinds of abilities.

After years of playing and coaching Golf, Tony found his experience challenged when he attempted to coach players with disabilities.

“These players gave me a really thorough reality check,” he said.

According to Tony, there is not an adaptive version of this sport, and the reason is because of the unique particularity of Golf, that is, the ball sits still for everyone.

This feature provides excellent maneuverability for athletes with disabilities to play in an environment where they belong, just as any other athlete would.

But even when Golf has an unexploited potential to share, there is still more to do to promote this advantage worldwide.

Even when Golf has the potential to take a step forward in the topic of inclusion, Tony has stressed that it is necessary to differentiate Golf as a game and as an industry.

From his viewpoint, the Golf industry is not yet fully developed to ensure their facilities accommodate all the disabled players’ needs. This is strictly linked to whether Golf facilitates are public or private and its particular goals.

But another challenge to make Golf a more inclusive environment has to do with the sport’s reputation itself.

“I think one of the biggest barriers to golf is not technical requirements but its reputation for being classist, sexist, and discriminating of people,” he stressed.

Fortunately, this is slightly changing as many clubs are putting up efforts to create more inclusive policies.

Finally, Tony invites us to reflect on the advantages of Golf as an inclusion tool and to promote initiatives that create representation for all golf players on the fields.

If you want to know more about the advantages of Golf, please listen to the rest of the TALK on the link above.

It may be challenging to break the mindset and imagine a golfer without an arm, or blind, but it is possible, and some examples cross all supposed limits. We also invite you to know their stories, collected by Tony Bennet. EDGA Golfers First Profiles

Written by Jessica Hernandez Blanco

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