‘Golf for All’ is a powerful sentiment and one which EIGCA strives to be a reality. With this as a theme for the 2021 Annual Conference (Cardiff, Wales), delegates from 14 countries were treated to a range of speakers on the role which golf course design has in achieving equality and inclusion.
Richard Allen, CEO at EIGCA Bronze Partner, Ecobunker, gave delegates an introduction to golf courses in the host country, Wales. This was followed by Zoe Thacker, Director of Development at Wales Golf who gave an enlightening talk on how they are appealing to, and catering for, golfers with disabilities in Wales.
Zoe focused on a case study about an inclusive short game academy in Newport (pictured) and how it is supporting stroke survivors after a pilot project with the Stroke Association. Plans to work with organisations associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimers are progressing.
Wendy Cole, Manager – Sustainability at The R&A, updated delegates on the Golf Course 2030 initiative and the projects they have underway or are completed. Wendy expressed the urgency for golf clubs to take action now, and not push this down the line to a point in the future. Staying with The R&A, Jackie Davidson, Assistant Director – Golf Development, gave a talk on the Women in Golf Charter #FOREeveryone. This is an industry-wide commitment to a more inclusive culture within golf for women and girls. EIGCA is proud to be one of the Charter’s signatories.
Next, delegates heard from Ben Stephens, an EIGCA Candidate for Membership who talked about his experience of living and working with a hidden disability. Ben taught delegates the sign language for golfing terms and helped the audience appreciate what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing.
Ben was followed by Mark ‘Dot’ Perkins of Battle Back Golf who spoke about the role of golf in rehabilitating lives after military service. Mark was seriously injured in an Army training exercise in Kenya and he spoke about how golf helped him, and many others – there are now over 250 in the programme – live their lives again.
Finally, Ken Moodie MEIGCA and Lindsey Collumbell (co-author and project manager, respectively) gave an update on EIGCA’s Design Guidance project, which is due for publication in 2022.
This is a joint R&A / EIGCA funded initiative to produce three sets of guidance into how the design of a course facilitates Golf for All and covers: compact courses, shorter hitters and golfers with a disability.
New President, Tim Lobb MEIGCA, brought the Conference to a close. He tied the theme of the Conference back to his pledge to: “use my term as EIGCA President, and the platform this provides, to drive ahead with the message that the design of a course is fundamental to safeguarding the future of golf. We need to stress how the design of courses helps promote the game of golf, for all.”
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