The adaptive golf is a relatively young sport, it began in 2002, but gains more followers every day for its accessibility, can adapt to different physical and intellectual disabilities and can be practiced by children, youth and adults.
Adapted golf, like all sports, has a fundamental component of entertainment and also helps to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of disabled people. On a motor level it allows to acquire reflexes and coordination and on an emotional level it improves self-esteem.
Deaf Games or Silent Games
The Deaf Games are the oldest multi-sport event for people with disabilities. The Deaflympics or Silent World Games are a multisport event where deaf people compete. Its first edition was in 1924, in Paris, and it was the first international sporting event to be organized for athletes with disabilities.
Although there were only 148 European competitors at the time, today it has become a global event that welcomes athletes from more than 100 countries. The 2017 edition, in Samsun (Turkey), will be the 23rd.
Adapted golf regulations
The current adapted golf regulations came into force in 2012. The decision was made to classify the players into different groups according to criteria of adaptability and specific needs. Thus, five categories of adapted golf were established according to the type of disability:
In the case of blind people, adapted golf allows the possibility of bringing a companion who is called an instructor and who helps the golfer to prepare the shot and its previous alignment. This person can also advise you.
People with amputations
The adapted golf regulations only make special reference to golfers with amputations in relation to the use of prostheses, an artificial device whose use requires the approval of the Committee. People who need canes and / or crutches
If the player needs canes or crutches to practice adapted golf, the regulations note that the assistive device is part of the player’s positioning, so the player cannot move during the swing.
People in wheelchairs
The golfers adapted wheelchair take into account the same aspects as the above regarding placement and could carry a caddy and an aide last but it can not advise nor in the coup or the choice of the stick. Golfers in a wheelchair can also use adapted clubs in length.
People with intellectual disabilities
Regarding people with intellectual disabilities, adaptations and whether or not to have an assistant depends on each specific case. The same is true when golfers do not adapt to the above groups, for example people with limited eyesight or having difficulty holding the club due to severe arthritis. In all these cases, exceptional measures will be taken, adapting the regulations as specifically as possible.
The most important adapted golf championships
Due to the different categories of adapted golf, the competitions, championships and tournaments of this sport include all or one category, for example, there are open only for players in wheelchairs, and can be individual or team.
One of the most important event in Europe is the Spanish Open. This year the tournament, organized by the Royal Spanish Golf Federation, took place in Malaga on February 10, 11 and 12. Another great event of this 2017 is the European Wheelchair Golf Championship that will be held in Sitges from April 24 to 27.
In June there are two other major adapted golf events: the Gold Masters of the Czech Republic (June 16-18) and the European Team Championship (held in Portugal from June 28 to July 1 ). In August the highlights are the Swedish Invitational (9-12) and the Scottish Open.
The year of European adapted golf closes with the Open in Austria and France (both in September) and with the Open in Algarve (Portugal), all three scoring for the world championship.
Great stars of adapted golf
Regarding the proper names of adapted golf, we will cite some examples such as that of the golfer Sebastián Lorente, whose record includes awards such as European Champion in a wheelchair, European Champion of Adapted Golf and winner of the Italian Open. He is also a guest at the Swedish Invitational Championship and a regular at the Spanish and UK Opens.
Another great star in this discipline is the Cantabrian Juan Postigo, who has become the strongest promise in this sport for being the winner, among many other tournaments, of the European Individual Adapted Golf Championship in 2016. Antonio Llerena, Xavier Rubio, Luis Vicente Mateu or Álvaro Luengo are other names with a well-known career in adapted golf.
Every day more adapted sports are practiced and they are becoming more professional, so it is very important to have sports wheelchairs adapted to the demands of each discipline.