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Growth of USGA’s Adaptive Open is expanding space across the country

Growth of USGA’s Adaptive Open is expanding space across the country

Dave Windsor felt as if he was on an island.

The Director of Adaptive Golf with the Georgia State Golf Association began working in the adaptive space in 1999. There’s arguably no one who has been more entrenched in adaptive golf — which allows people with disabilities to play the game of golf through modified rules or equipment — than Windsor.

Since the beginning of this century, as Windsor explained, more and more boats have started coming to the island. More and more state associations became interested in adaptive golf. There was national interest. Now, the sport is booming, with a national championship and higher participation numbers than ever.

“People would come and say, ‘What are the natives doing out here,’” Windsor said of his boat and island analogy. “We would help them. Slowly, they would start to replicate something in their neighborhood or golf course. And they saw that it was the right thing to do.

The United States Golf Association will host the third annual U.S. Adaptive Open this July 8-10 at Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kansas. It will be the first time the championship hits the road, being held at Pinehurst the first two years. It’s a sign of the growth in the adaptive space, the USGA’s commitment to adaptive golf and signifies how important it is to make golf accessible to everyone. 

There are seven state adaptive championships planned for 2024. Come 2025, that number could come close to doubling.

“There was really not a lot of interest from the golf association world until the Adaptive Open came to fruition,” said Tyler Riggin, Regional Affairs Director with the USGA. “Then it was like this is so cool. This is a great opportunity to expand our services to the community.”

Riggin mentioned how much interest the community and state associations had in adaptive space after the first championship in 2022. More and more people wanted to be involved in adaptive golf, from competitors to fans and more.

One of the state associations that conducted its first adaptive championship in 2023 was Florida. 

Jeff Magaditsch, the executive director of the Florida State Golf Association, mentioned how much research and help from the USGA went into launching its adaptive championship.

“The USGA did a great job of laying the groundwork for us,” Magaditsch said. “It’s a space we always wanted to get involved in. The USGA paved the way for us to get involved in the championship space with its inaugural open. 

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