26 Mar 2024 | All Abilities |

Our All Abilities golfers taking on the world

by Patrick Taylor

Cameron Pollard alongside Steven Lockey at the Victorian Inclusive Championship.

Australia has long had a proud history of topping the golf world rankings, and the All Abilities space is no exception.

There are three world ranking categories - gross, nett and stableford - for golfers with disability, and Australians feature heavily in all.

The World Ranking for Golfers with Disabilities (WR4GD) is administered jointly by the R&A and USGA through World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), and Australians make up around seven to ten percent of players in each category's top-100.

Significant opportunities exist for players across all three rankings, including access to G4D Tour events operated by the DP World Tour, starts in the US Adaptive Open and the R&A’s G4D Open, as well as over 150 worldwide ranking G4D events.

The prominence of Australians in these rankings reflects the strong and growing opportunities for All Abilities golfers around the country.

The relationship with the PGA of Australia to co-deliver the Webex All Abilities Players Series events within the Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia provides the incredible opportunity for All Abilities golfers to play alongside some of the country's top professionals.

Additionally, The Australian All Abilities Championship played within the ISPS HANDA Australian Open – the most integrated national open in the world - along with integrated State Opens, and State Inclusive Championships all further these opportunities.

One of Australia's most prolific All Abilities golfers is New South Welshman Cameron Pollard, recent winner of the Victorian Inclusive Championship held in conjunction with the Vic Open.

Cam is currently ranked 32 in the world in the gross category, with multiple wins already this season in Webex Players Series events to compliment his Vic Inclusive trophy.

Cam's mum, Kate Pollard says the extensive schedule of competitive All Abilities events has been instrumental to his development.

"It gives him value, it gives him purpose and it gives him a reason to get up in the morning," she said.

"Whether it's keeping fit, whether it's engaging socially, whether it's competing, training. All of those things are skills - I guess they're foundational skills - that he can then transfer over into everyday life."

Playing amongst and alongside the pros - a model not replicated around the world to the extent it is in Australia - has been a particular highlight for Cam.

"Cameron's got an outgoing personality, to say the least," Kate joked.

"But he is definitely seen now by the pros, they'll see him and say 'hey Cam, how'd you go?' or 'I saw you had an eagle, congratulations!', and it's like wow they are looking, they are interested.

"Cam had a practice round with Lincoln Tighe before the Aus Open, and Lincoln was like, 'wow, you can really hit it!', that gave him a huge boost."

Sam Taylor, the National Eligibility Assessor, agrees with Kate that Australia's inclusive model for competitive All Abilities golf is instrumental for Australian golfers, and a driver for the strong rankings.

"There isn't a tournament like it in the world, where players feel like they're included as much as they are at the Australian Open," said Taylor.

"It's not just the name or the title, it's almost the essence of the tournament, and for that to be our home open, it filters down into the other events.

"There is no finger pointing that the players are different, everyone is just playing together."

For more information on All Abilities events and pathways click HERE.

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