Golf Course Management

JAN 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Anthony Netto, who invented the single-rider adaptive vehicle pictured here, discusses the needs of disabled golfers with a pair of superintendents attending a joint meeting of three California chapters at TPC Stonebrae in Roseville, Calif. Photo courtesy of Emmy Moore Minister We became Òaccessibility expertsÓ by adopting the recommendations from the U.S. Access Board, and you can, too. 70 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.14 If you don't know if your golf course is accessible in these areas, then you are probably currently at risk and may face federal or state litigation. So how can you become proactive and manage your current risk? Step one: Managing your risk Avoid litigation if at all possible. The ADA law is arbitrary. • Know if your golf club offers goods and services to the public. If your course is exempt under the IRS 501(c)(7) tax code, which means it has a written policy of being open only to its members and guests and does not regularly hold outside public events, then you do not operate a business of public accommodations regulated by the 2010 Standards and any state laws. • Find specifc facts about when your course opened and when the clubhouse was built or altered. This will tell you what ADA standards you must meet since the frst regulations went into effect in 1992. Some "safe harbors" exist, but even those facilities must meet the 2010 Standards regulating golf course accessibility. • Know how many outside public functions your club puts on annually (golf tournaments, weddings, public fundraisers, community business meetings). If you are not currently ADA-compliant, this will tell you the level of exposure your club has to possible litigation from ADA advocacy lawyers. • Audit your facilities and golf course(s) immediately based on your historical fndings of events at the club and public access. This can be accomplished in-house, or you can hire an expert in the feld with a background in ADA barrier removal. Use the current federal 2010 Standards for golf courses, American with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines, as well as any state building codes that regulate disability access. • Know that any present barriers are your responsibility despite the past efforts of architects or contractors who may have modifed elements at your facility, but did not meet federal or state ADA requirements. In California as well as in other states, this is where advocacy lawyers are making their money in litigation, fnding recent upgrades to facilities that do not meet ADA regulations and codes. Performing the audit We became "accessibility experts" by adopting the recommendations from the U.S. Access Board (www.access-board.gov/), and you can, too. Risk management is another hat that superintendents wear, and this audit should be undertaken as soon as possible. Here's what's in our toolbox for such an audit and what we recommend for yours: • A team of at least two people, preferably more, with a working knowledge of the 2010 Standards and your state building codes (additional people are especially benefcial if a course member is disabled and plays golf regularly at your facility) • A digital camera with a large memory and backup battery to document barriers • A 25-foot tape measure • A 36-inch digital level • A developed matrix to note barriers

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