Equipment manufacturers invest in adaptive golf
The rise in disability golf has inspired two equipment manufacturers to adapt their business models to better serve golfers with physical limitations.
In the past five years, disability golf has changed dramatically.
There is now a world ranking points system, modifications to the rules of golf that accommodate adaptive play and the G4D Tour, competitive events run in tandem with the DP World Tour and EDGA.
PING was the first brand to offer advanced adaptive custom fitting at its Proving Grounds test centre in Phoenix, Arizona. Previously, it had worked with individual golfers on a bespoke basis.
In December 2022, PING promoted Bryan Rourke to the position of Adaptive Golf Coordinator and Master Fitter, a role in which he provides leadership to nine adaptive-enabled fitting centres across the U.S.
Michael Zalle is a technology entrepreneur who was born with a congenital limitation which means he plays golf with one arm.
Zalle was invited to Phoenix for a fitting by Rourke and describes him as a ‘truly amazing human who fits those who see the possible and figure it out’.
“PING is also a company that funds, staffs and supports an Adaptive Golf Master Fitter, adaptive tournaments, mission-impact market engineering resources ($$), and fitting centers for adaptive golfers,” Zalle wrote in a blogpost about his fitting experience.
- Study to deepen understanding of disability golf
- Charity funds UK’s first adaptive putting green
- Historic G4D Open raises bar for disability golf
Callaway is another manufacturer committed to supporting disability golf.
The Callaway Adaptive Team of ambassadors includes members of the U.S. ParaGolf team and high-profile advocates such as Jonathan Snyder, director of not-for-profit Freedom Golf Association, which has provided a record number of lessons for adaptive golfers.
Callaway supports its players with equipment, apparel and help with representative golf in the U.S. and internationally.
Gianna Rojas is the founder of Adaptive Golfers (AG), a U.S. based charity that supports disability golfers to find the right products to allow them to play, from prosthetic aids to single rider carts and teeing devices.
Rojas and AG also advise golf courses, instructors and equipment companies on how to make golf more accessible.
“We just wanted the industry to basically see us. You can talk about it but until you see it in action, it’s breathtaking sometimes. We never ask what can’t you do, we always ask what can you do,” says Rojas.