EDGA - Game-changer

The Château creates a magnificent backdrop for the golf course

EDGA, the international authority on all things G4D (golf for the disabled), has just published its 150th article and podcast featuring individual golfers with a disability. These stories form a comprehensive library of player interviews, photographs, sound recordings and video designed to inform individuals with a disability and encourage them to try golf. 

The emphasis from EDGA is on sharing these stories free of charge with the general public to inspire new players.

Every article and podcast – featuring players from more than 25 countries and across impairment groups of physical, sensory, neurological and intellectual – is offered with a ‘white label’. This means the piece can be reproduced including pictures free of charge by any recognised media outlet, national federation or health/sporting organisation seeking to increase awareness and improve inclusion and diversity.  

EDGA (formally the European Disabled Golf Association) works with international partners The R&A, the European Tour Group, the International Golf Federation, and 50 national golf federations to grow the game. 

Exploring the ‘player pathway’ – from first putts and chips to competing at the highest level of G4D – the 150 EDGA stories in the dedicated media section at www.edgagolf.com are presented via a mixed-media approach which allows visitors to consume a story in whichever way best suits their needs. Individuals can search for stories by impairment or country to discover a vibrant snapshot of the human spirit that can fuel the can-do attitude that is inside every one of us.

Typically in each article, players with limb difference, neurological, orthopaedic or intellectual challenges; golfers who play from a chair and those playing with a visual impairment, talk of how the game has had a significant health impact and enhanced their life. 

‘Golf saved my life’

Welshman Mike Jones nearly died at the scene of a motorcycle accident in 2015; his lower left leg had to be amputated three days after the accident. Later, in his hospital bed, Mike watched some golf videos online and found clips from one golfer, Manuel De Los Santos from the Dominican Republic, who had also lost his left leg in a traffic accident. 

Mike said: “I watched videos of Manuel and heard him speak with such enthusiasm. You don’t often get the chance to reset your life, but that was my opportunity there. If I hadn’t had golf as a focus, I would have ended up in not a very nice place I think, so it literally saved my life.”

In recent times, leading research including that of the Syngenta and IPSOS study, ‘Golf & Social Media: The Great Divide’ (2024), highlights how exposure to positive representations of athletes with disabilities can impact on the perception of sports among individuals with disabilities and motivate them to participate. 

Dr Tony Bennett, President of EDGA, adds: “A study by Morris et al. (2018) examining the online information-seeking behaviour of Individuals with Disabilities (IwD) reported that the internet serves as a crucial resource for finding information related to disability. Today that information-seeking extends to social media, and as such golf must create opportunities for IwD to ‘imagine’ themselves playing the sport before they even sample golf.” 

Bennett adds: “By drawing attention to our 150th such story this week we hope to introduce more people to the collection and offer the resources freely to more organisations to champion inclusive sport.”

Inspired by others…

The 150th story published today features English golfer Michelle Lau, who has autism and ADHD. Similar to the case of Mike and Manuel, Michelle recalls she was inspired after seeing posts on Instagram by Swedish golfer Erika Malmberg and then reading her story. 

Michelle says: “I actually found out about EDGA and signed up for my first tournament because of Erika Malmberg, she is definitely a big inspiration of mine. 

“Golf can be life changing, it can transform physical and mental wellbeing, even playing on your own. It’s a world to escape to when this physical plane is a bit too much.”

Michelle’s story is at https://www.edgagolf.com/profiles/tl-sc-michelle-lau/

Michelle, Mike and Erika will be teeing it up in The G4D Open next week (May 15-17) at Woburn, the major international G4D championship linked with The Open itself, staged for a second year by The R&A in partnership with the DP World Tour and supported by EDGA. With the event being covered in media all around the world, EDGA wants more sport and health organisations to be able to share this bank of stories to help others. Thirty-nine of The G4D Open field of 80 are featured in the EDGA series. 

EDGA is a not-for-profit, volunteer led organisation, active in the promotion and delivery of opportunities to sample, participate and compete in golf. 

All articles in the series can be reproduced to spread awareness, found at https://edgagolf.com/online/usersc/profiles.php?from=web24