Wales to be global capital for deaf golfers9th October, 2013 by Emma Williams
Wales is set to become the most accessible country in the world for hard of hearing and deaf golfers within the next two years.
By 2015 at least 20 golf clubs will have staff who will be trained in basic sign language and deaf awareness, and professionals who will have been taught to teach the game to beginner golfers who are hard of hearing.
Golf Development Wales, supported by Sport Wales and Disability Sport Wales, has announced that a pilot project at Vale Resort near Cardiff, in which the golf club became a hub for deaf golfers, has been such a success that it will be rolled out nationwide.
Vale Resort’s head golf professional Clive Coombs completed the PGA ‘Inclusive Golf Coaching’ workshop, and then coached 14 hard of hearing beginner golfers, while the club hosted the Deaf 4 Nations Cup, which more than 40 players from around the UK competed in. Sixteen staff members from all sections of the resort also completed a basic deaf awareness course.
The hubs will provide quality sessions to disabled people within their communities.
Golf Development Wales officer Zoe Thacker said: “When we originally set up this programme we had no idea the huge impact that it would have.
“The aim was to set up a beginner golf development programme for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in order to break down the barriers deaf people face when accessing golf.
“Staff education, increased business revenue and communication at the resort has been a positive spin off. It’s been a great way for the beginners to make new friends and improve health and wellbeing at the same time.”
Of the 14 beginners at Vale Resort, two have now taken up trial membership.
Reception manager Emma Price said: “The basic sign language training workshop was brilliant and all my staff came away and said they really enjoyed it.
“We had the guests from the ‘Deaf 4 Nations Cup’ arrive and it was great to see the staff using their basic knowledge in basic sign language.”
Links have been made with the National Deaf Children’s Society to expand and strengthen the programme to include junior activities and education programmes.