Adaptive Golf for People with Disabilities
As the weather gets warmer and the grass gets greener, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities. Golf is the perfect sport to combine fresh air and exercise. But if you have a disability or are recovering from an injury or illness, how can you get back into the “swing” of things?
Many people incorrectly believe that once they’ve had a disability or injury, they will never be able to participate in the game of golf again. But there are many adaptive golf devices available to make it possible to play. The benefits of playing golf or another sport are endless, including building endurance, strength and self-esteem when hitting the ball again for the first time since a disabling injury or condition.
Here are some of the adaptive devices available:
Adaptive Golf Gloves and Gripping Aids
When holding onto the golf club is difficult due to limited hand strength, try using an adaptive golf glove or gripping aid. These gloves or aids have special closures on them to secure the club in your hand and will help prevent you from losing the club when you swing.
If you are having trouble bending over to tee up the ball or pick it up from the ground, a specialized teeing device might be just the trick to keep you golfing. These devices hold the tee and the ball in place as you push them into the ground from a standing or sitting position. There are also devices that help you to pick up the ball from the ground without bending over.
Single Rider Golf Carts
If you love the game of golf but are unsure about walking or standing on the fairway or green for extended periods of time, then a single rider golf cart might be the perfect solution. These carts allow a person to play without ever leaving the cart. They are equipped with a swivel seat and adaptive devices to allow the golfer to golf from a seated position. Many golf courses now have single rider golf carts available for use.
Each spring Good Shepherd holds a Learn to Golf Clinic for people with disabilities. It was started by Bob Buck, executive director of the Eastern Amputee Golf Association (EAGA) and Good Shepherd’s Recreational Therapy Department. The program teaches individuals with disabilities the basics of golf and teaches therapists and golf professionals how to instruct people in adaptive golf techniques.
I’ve been involved in the clinic since its inception 27 years ago, and it has been very satisfying and rewarding to see people improve their health and well-being by returning to their recreational interests. More information on EAGA and upcoming golf clinics is available here. With a few modifications or adaptive devices, golf and other sports are possible and make all the difference in the world to people’s motivation for rehabilitation and life!