BENEFITS OF GOLF
Golf has been associated with health-enhancing benefits for the general population. These include; increased longevity, improved cardiovascular, respiratory, and metabolic profiles, improved muscle strength and balance and enhanced mental well-being (Golf and Health Report, 2020; Murray, Daines, et al., 2017b; Murray, Jenkins, et al., 2017).
The following testimony highlights how golf can facilitate enjoyment within a group activity:
“Golf, physically, has been good for me, as well as the fresh air, with some nice company who share your values. On the whole, most of the golfers I’ve ever met have the same principles and are kindred spirits. Golf is a game that is so good for your soul. During my illnesses, the girls were so supportive. I thought I would get better at the sport, but never have! I’m now off a 32 handicap, but I’m just delighted to be enjoying and playing golf. I love it.”
WHERE DOES GOLF SIT ON THE INCLUSION SPECTRUM?
Although golf can be considered a fully integrated sport, occasionally, and for some golfers with a range of disabling impairments, golf can be regarded as a modified integrated sport, with some modified rules for players with a disability.
For those who reach the competitive levels, the required tasks are precisely the same as for those who exhibit no impairments, so golf must be considered a modified integrated or fully inclusive sports activity. Misener and Darcy (2014) defined five types of sports engagement for individuals with disabilities. The inclusion spectrum is evident in golf as individuals with a disability (IwD) often start by sampling a discrete version of the sport before quickly moving through adaptive and parallel golf activities as their engagement or skill levels develop.
Participants can choose their level of inclusion and, at the most inclusive end of the spectrum, can compete on a level basis in the mainstream sport. The World Golf Handicap System, variable tee markers and different scoring formats facilitate this opportunity. Golf has players who have been assessed as being disabled by their respective government and that compete in events but who do not have an eligible impairment or minimum impairment criteria as defined by the IPC Classification Code. These players can enjoy golf fully; however, to compete in international golf for the disabled (G4D) tournaments, players will be required to evidence that their impairment has a limiting effect on their ability to play the game against a set of definitions that are under constant review.
Article added: June 2023
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