Golf is a sport that brings every physical and spatial sense into play, but it’s also one of mankind’s most inclusive athletic pursuits — you don’t have to be in prime physical condition or even have full use of every sense to excel at it. Take vision impaired people, for instance: They can learn to play and enjoy the game, too.
Teachers across the nation dedicate their work to improving every golfer’s game, and employ special methods to introduce these folks to the game. They also connect with organizations like Wichita, Kan.-based Envision, which is dedicated to inspiring and improving the quality of life of individuals who are blind and visually impaired.
During the month of June, Envision will once again host its annual golf clinic to give blind and visually impaired women, men, girls and boys ages 8 and up the opportunity to learn and play golf. The program is held at the MacDonald Golf Course, a city course in Wichita, and runs every Monday in June from 5:30 to 9 p.m., culminating in a tournament on the final Monday, June 26. There is no entry fee for participants and equipment is provided. Theirs is an inspiring and inclusive model for all to follow.
Last summer, the clinic welcomed 31 players, each of whom was matched with a typically sighted mentor with enough prior golf experience to be able to explain the game and serve as the eyes of their blind and visually impaired partners. Each participant receives equipment to use during the clinic sessions and can keep it for as long as they continue to play golf. After the program, which concludes with a tournament on June many participants maintain contact and play golf with their mentors throughout the year.
The program is made possible through Envision, which raises funds for such activities through its manufacturing business, year-round donations from charitable individuals and organizations, and fundraising events including an annual gala in October and the annual “Golf Fore Vision" golf tournament in May. This year’s golf tournament took place on May 11 at Reflection Ridge Golf Club and featured special guest Ed “Too Tall” Jones. The program was launched in part by Len Hudson, a professional golfer, who continues to lead the clinic. Other organizers include Bonnie Cochran, who heads up programs at Envision; Envision’s CEO Michael Monteferrante; and Troy Hendricks, PGA, head of recreation for the MacDonald Golf Course.
For more on Envision, visit www.envisionus.com