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Golfers Get Feel for Playing with Disability

Golfers Get Feel for Playing with Disability



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Keith McCord ReportingThere was a very special golf tournament in Utah today to raise money to help people with disabilities learn the game.

Ever try to hit a golf ball from a sitting position? One-handed? Consider someone with a disability, like multiple sclerosis, or a person who's lost an arm. A fund-raising golf tournament illustrated that today as able-bodied golfers got a feel for it.

Richard Robinson, Project GAIN: "We're having our particpants hit shots, as if they had a disability. It's not very easy to do that. We see a lot of funny shots from these static chairs."

The tournament was organized by Project GAIN, an organization created by the University of Utah College of Health, with the goal of making the game of golf accessible to people with disabilities. This tournament helps to raise money to buy special equipment like a stationary chair. Golfers on the tee sit down and take a whack.

Another version of that is a motorized golf cart; just drive up to the ball, and hit away! Golfers discovered that it takes some getting used to, and even the clubs are a bit different.

Richard Robinson: "When you are in a seated position, your swing changes; one you're lower to the ground so your angle of your club is different. The head here is about 40-42 degrees. If you're using your clubs, the toe will be up in the air."

Project GAIN gave golf lessons to 125 Utahns with disabilities last year and about 100 others will begin classes next month. The goal is simple: make the game accessible to all and bring families together.

Like the example of a family with a 16-year old son with MS.

Richard Robinson: "He couldn't do anything. He could hit about 20-yards when he started. Now he hits it about 120 and has a great time playing. His mom took lessons, now she plays. And his dad was a golfer, so now it's a family affair. And that's what this thing is all about."

Project GAIN started in Salt Lake, but programs have also been launched in Baltimore, Chicago, Toledo and Sacramento.

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