Golf Is Fore Everyone
The recreational therapy department at Shriners Children’s Chicago offers a variety of adaptive sports and recreational activities, including a chance for some patients to tee off in golf. The adaptive golf program runs monthly from March through October. “Participating in adaptive golf improves balance, hand-eye coordination and endurance, and can be played by anyone regardless of their abilities,” said Darlene Kelly, director of recreational therapy, child life, and volunteers at Shriners Children’s Chicago. The program even includes the use of an adaptive golf cart if needed.
Specialized Golf Equipment Gives Access
Several models of single-rider carts allow a player to rotate the seat and swing the golf club from a seated or semi-standing position. “The carts also feature turf-friendly tires, which allow the golfer to drive it anywhere on the course, even on the delicate putting greens,” said Amanda Hogle, CTRS, a recreational therapist at the Chicago location. The golf club itself can also be modified, and specialty gloves and grips can be used. Tee box distances can be adjusted, and rules can be modified if it is not an official tournament.
Patients enjoy the chance to play golf. “I like golf because I get to spend time outside learning new skills, and hanging out with everyone like Donna and Kathy (Revelation Golf instructors),” said Ruby, a patient who has learned to swing a club.
Finding a Course Near You
One of the biggest barriers for golf continues to be accessing the course if playing from a seated position. “A small percentage of the 17,000 golf courses in the United States have purchased single-rider carts to become more ADA-compliant,” said Hogle. “If you or someone you know need a single-rider cart, reach out to your local course and ask if they have one, or would be willing to purchase one.” Parents can also contact their local Adaptive Recreation Association for assistance. Remember, golf is for everyone!
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