What Is An Adaptive Golf Instructor?
Many people have stopped and asked me what an Adaptable or Accessible Golf Instructor is or does. Well, I am going to shed some light on not only what an Accessible Instructor is but exactly why I decided to become one and what I plan to do with it. After 20 years of being in the steel industry and not feeling like I had a direct impact on the world, I decided to get my Master Golf Teaching Certificate through the United States Golf Teachers Federation (USGTF). I have always been inspired by athletes that, despite their limitations, were successful in various sports or challenges they faced in life. So when I learned about an opportunity to earn a certification in adaptive golf I immediately booked a flight and down to Orlando I went. The multi day course was facilitated by staff from Penn State, the Salute Military Golf Academy, and members from the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.
Day one introduced us to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the many types of disabilities that exist, different types of prosthetic's, and what "inclusive" really means. I met some great people and gained a ton of knowledge. Day two was even better when we got out on the range and we were able to experience first-hand the challenges individuals with disabilities face when playing golf I was very fortunate to spend some valuable one-on-one time with Tom Houston, who, I think with the right number of strokes, would kick my butt on a golf course.Tom plays from an adjustable chair he designed and has a beautiful golf swing. Chris Bowers is a left leg amputee and still hits his 5 iron 200 yards. Another one of the students had his first experience hitting balls from the an adaptive cart and I have never met anyone so excited about improving his game. One of the greatest highlights for me was hitting balls blind, deaf, and with my dominate arm bandaged up. Taking instruction from my peers really gave me a new perspective on how I teach golf. We were then given the opportunity to teach individuals with disabilities and learn exactly how we need to adapt our instruction based on the student's limitations. So now that you know what it is I can tell you what I want to do with it. While down in Florida, I had the opportunity to see the impact golf had on many of the participants and there have been countless other stories about our wounded warriors and how golf has saved their lives. From that point on, I knew I wanted to give back to our veterans who so selflessly gave for us, and that I wanted to assist individuals with disabilities so they could experience the joy of playing golf. N.R.G. was created for that purpose. We strive to introduce or reintroduce those with disabilities to the game of golf.
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