donate icon DONATE

Golf Is Fore Everyone

therapist and patient during golf lesson on the course

Luke is perfecting his swing with the help of a teacher on the golf course.

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!

patient playing golf while seated on golf ccart

Riley is riding in a single-rider cart. This allows her to rotate and swing the golf club from a seated position.

Next Steps

Share Your Story

Our patients and families are at the heart of everything we do at Shriners Children's. We invite you to share how the team at Shriners Children's has helped your child.

Give to Shriners Children's

Through the generosity of donors like you, we've helped over one million children lead more fulfilling lives, regardless of their families' ability to pay.

Contact Us

Have a question or request? Need to make an appointment? We're here for you.