24 May 2021 | All Abilities |

Special Schools Golfing Gala

by Golf Australia

Special Schools Gala Day group photo

Smiles and laughs are typical of any gala day and Golf Australia’s Special Schools Gala Day last month was no exception.

120 students from 11 different Melbourne special schools attended Edithvale Public Golf Course for the annual MyGolf All Abilities ‘come and try’ day and they quickly caught the golfing bug.

They were “jumping up and down, giving each other high-fives” after each good shot, said PGA all abilities coach Paul Boxall, who delivered the program along with community instructors.

The students love sport, every Friday they play interschool sport as part of the South East Special School Sports Association.

But most of the students had never played golf before.

Now, they may have found a new passion.

“People with disabilities can play the same game that everyone else plays. So, it’s a perfectly designed game to include all,” said Christian Hamilton, Golf Australia’s senior manager for programs and inclusion.

The program’s games-based activities included modified clubs and softer balls to help make hitting easier and for safety.

Putting, chipping and hitting into hoops taught the development groups the basics of the game.

Meanwhile, the competition groups hit the 9-hole course for an ambrose-style game.

It was their first step in golf’s established pathway for the participants.

The next step is participation in MyGolf All Abilities, then on to club participation and all the way to national and international competition.

But the pathway is not everything.

Golf allows young people with intellectual disabilities to, “continue to be active and live a healthy life that’s connected to the local community,” said Yvonne Snell, national sports partnership manager at Special Olympics Australia.

And there are multiple ways to start their golfing journeys in a safe, healthy and fun environment, including lessons with the 170 PGA all abilities coaches nationwide and MyGolf for All.

My Golf for All was designed with Special Olympics Australia to allow Golf Australia coaches to go into special development schools to run programs and then bring students on to the golf course.

Find your nearest MyGolf All Abilities program here: www.golf.org.au/mygolf/home

Golf Australia is very excited to partner with Special Olympics Australia and from term 2, 2021 offer a new MyGolf for All program through Sporting Schools, designed specifically for students with intellectual disabilities and autism.

Register your school or login to your Sporting Schools account to apply for funding: https://www.sportaus.gov.au/schools/schools/sports/golf

Funding applications for Term 3 close Friday 4 June.

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