Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.
Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/234582
AT THE TURN Jim Ferrin, CGCS Sam Samuelson, CGCS The National Center on Accessibility speculates that 8 million disabled people would consider playing golf or returning to the game. Photo by Mitch Gunn/Shutterstock.com (business) Fear and loathing and the ADA Adapting golf courses for disabled golfers isn't just the right thing to do, it's also a good investment for the game. Golf has many challenges and uncertainties in its future. Whether it is from dwindling players and revenues, the scarcity of resources needed to produce good turf conditions, or environmental legislation that impacts a superintendent's management abilities, golf is defnitely facing a dilemma. Has everyone forgotten about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its new regulatory laws that make golf accessible to disabled golfers? Has golf forgotten about an untapped resource to grow the game? Why has golf been so slow to embrace the inclusion of the disabled golfer? We would term it "fear and loathing," to steal a few words from Hunter S. Thompson. The National Center on Accessibility (NCA) has already alerted golf to the fact that the growing population of disabled people (56.7 million in 2010) had a disposable income estimated at more than $214 billion. Based on data collected a decade ago, the NCA also speculated that 8 million disabled people (including wounded war veterans and newly disabled baby boomers) would consider playing golf or returning to the game. Even if these people played only one round of golf a year, it would add up to $344 million annually. That is quite signifcant at a time when the National Golf Foundation has estimated that 4.7 million fewer people played golf in 2012 than in 2005. As golf course superintendents who have been working for more than 25 years and man- 66 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14