EDGA continues to make the game more inclusive for those with disabilities as it grows its education programme, most recently with a two-day pilot project for the PGA of Poland.
EDGA’s development team travelled to the renowned Lisia Polana Golf Club, Warsaw, in October. Its workshop was attended by 18 PGA coaches, volunteers and therapists who received expert training and resources so that they can now encourage new people with a disability into the sport, and support effectively existing golfers with disability.
Mark Taylor, EDGA Development Director, said he was delighted with the feedback from the coaches present and his team now looks forward to offering further guidance to the PGA of Poland as the programme develops. EDGA is the organisation that inspires people with disability to thrive through the power of golf and its membership comprises of 29 national golf federations (with its partners, EDGA is working to get 500,000 new players with a disability to try golf for the first time).
Mark Taylor said: “It is fantastic to see a rapidly developing golfing country like Poland ready to engage with EDGA to assist their volunteer, trainee and certified coaches in awareness and experience training around coaching golfers with disability.
“Our goal is to help organisations to work closely with national disability providers and the national federation to provide a sustainable disability offer to new and existing participants. The feedback from all the coaches has been truly amazing and it’s also good to hear that we have developed something that challenges coaches’ beliefs and their understanding.”
President of the Paralympic Committee for Poland Lukasz Szeliga, a below-knee amputee, received coaching from the newly trained workforce. Lukasz was among a group of local new participants with varying disabilities, and he said: “I am definitely hooked after this introduction to the game and very much looking forward to my next session.”
Wojciech Wasniewski, Head of Education for the PGA of Poland, said: “This is the first contact for our coaches on understanding how to deliver adaptable sessions, and the feedback from the attending coaches has been fantastic, as the training has given them both the skills and knowledge of how to deliver adaptable sessions to people with disabilities, but also further improved their versatility in their non-disabled coaching.”
The training in Poland follows a similarly successful regional training workshop at Pachesham Golf Club, Surrey, earlier in October, to help develop the role of specially trained volunteers and coaches who can reach out to people with a disability in the community. In the same month in Portugal, training was given at the APEXA Centre on the Algarve, for therapists and support staff from three different centres for people with disability. They can now also use their new knowledge to introduce others to the game. Earlier in the year coaching education in this field was also provided by EDGA for the Belgium Golf Federation.
Other opportunities for EDGA to promote inclusive golf have included, courtesy of the European Tour, a presence at the recent Portugal Masters, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open in July and the Betfred British Masters in May, at which the EDGA team was able to offer coaching for any visitors with a disability, formally and informally, who wanted to give golf a try. In the British Masters week, the EDGA team was also present at the NHS North West Spinal Unit in Southport, offering golf learning as therapy to a group of the patients.
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Pictured top: Working with the PGA of Poland, EDGA offered expert training to coaches, volunteers and therapists to support golfers with disabilities