ISPS Executive Director of International Affairs, Midori Miyazaki (centre) lines up with Paul McGinley and Tom Lewis amongst clinic attendees at the Tavistock Cup
The International Sports Promotion Society, ISPS, and the National Alliance for Accessible Golf were pleased to combine forces this week, to stage an inclusive coaching clinic for individuals with disabilities upon the Isleworth Golf & Country Club driving range during the PGA Tour’s 2013 Tavistock Cup, Florida, USA.
With the assistance of PGA and LPGA of America teaching and club professionals, the clinic provided ten burgeoning golfers with an all-encompassing golf lesson all in full view of Queenwood Team members Tom Lewis, and the 2014 European Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley.
Born out of the ground-breaking ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme, established by ISPS founder and leading philanthropist Dr. Haruhisa Handa along with the PGA of GB&I in 2012, the clinic displays a natural progression of the initiatives success within the UK, with the intention now focusing on systematically activating a similar programme within the United States.
‘‘We are delighted to stage a unique clinic here at Isleworth Golf & Country Club. Blind and disabled golfers face a number of challenges in developing their game and to be able to provide them with greater access to specialised coaching is something we are very proud of,” said Dr. Handa.
Since its inception the ISPS HANDA PGA Academy Programme has hosted 16 workshops and educated 170 coaches who between them have delivered over 1500 coaching sessions to blind and disabled golfers within the UK.
ISPS and its Chairman, Dr. Handa have supported golf at varied levels for more than 25 years, currently sponsoring a number of tournaments on various tours throughout the world, in full support of golf becoming a Paralympic sport.
The 2014 European Ryder Cup Captain, Paul McGinley, was on hand to lend some words of wisdom to the eager golfers and paid tribute to Dr Handa and the National Alliance’s mission of improving coaching standards for disabled golfers around the world.
“I’m well aware of the valuable work ISPS do to improve the coaching standards for individuals with disabilities and it’s great to see a clinic in action at The Tavistock Cup,” said McGinley.
Formed in the summer of 2001, the National Alliance for Accessible Golf is represented by major golf organisations in the United States, who advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities into society.
Betsy Clark, PhD, President of the National Alliance said, “Through the game of golf, individuals with disabilities become actively engaged in the social fabric of a community, and derive health benefits that improve quality of life, so it is great to build the momentum of inclusive learning environments within the United States.”
One such activist is US National Blind Golf Champion, David Meador, who was one of the participants at the day’s clinic. Meador, who lost his sight in a car accident at age 18, acknowledged the efforts being made.
“We are very thankful to Dr. Handa and organisations like the National Alliance and PGA of GB&I for their tireless work in raising the awareness of blind and disabled golf,” said Meador.
“It has been great to learn from the Queenwood team members and PGA & LPGA coaches at today’s clinic.
Next month David Meador will be honoured by the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) with The Ben Hogan Award presented by ISPS HANDA, given annually to an individual who has continued to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or illness.
ISPS is a ‘General Incorporated Association’ based in Tokyo. ISPS was founded by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to support charitable causes throughout the sporting world. ISPS has fostered partnerships with golf governing bodies worldwide to help develop the game at every level and promote blind and disabled golf. ISPS’s heritage in supporting blind and disabled golf and Dr Handa’s interest and philanthropic contribution in golf has formed the foundation of its wider mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport. Visit www.ispsgolf.com
About National Alliance for Accessible Golf
The National Alliance for Accessible Golf is a charitable organization working to ensure the opportunity for all individuals to play the game of golf. The Alliance is represented by major golf organizations in the United States, organizations that provide services for people with disabilities and other advocates. Through GAIN™ (Golf: Accessible and Inclusive Networks) and other programs, the Alliance promotes inclusion and awareness to the golf industry, golf instructors, and the public. For more information about Alliance programs, please visit www.accessgolf.org.