Golf Course and Golf Lesson accessibility has come into the forefront in recent years.
Long has it been difficult for those disabled to have proper access public and private golf facilities.
Though it was really not PGA Professionals who were restricting the access, it was the management and ownerships of the clubs themselves. There was always the fear that a golf cart on a green would do damage and in some cases it will. But the golf carts I speak of hear are designed not to. Up until about 10 years ago, a quiet gathering has been happening, that gathering has been amongst those who love golf who are disabled.
Well, that looks like it is about to change and drastically. Recently Congress held hearings on the subject of golf course accessibility. There is no word yet on the outcome, but we do already know this. the question comes into mind of … Should any facility that is owned by a public domain such as government or educational institution be forced into a position of having to provide specially made golf carts for those that require them i.e., amputees and paralyzed. This is not to say that those who need them will get the cart for free, only that those who need the cart have access to them, and that access must be provided by the golf course facility itself.
Once again we go into this gray area of what is, should be, must be, and will be provided to those with special needs. And at whose expense.
Remember the law suit that Casey Martin brought against the PGA Tour and USGA? He did have a valid point. Could it have been handled better, probably so. But it was based upon principle, and that principle was he was not effectively being allowed to apply his craft in an open forum. Then again the PGA Tour and USGA did also have a valid principle based point. Casey is and was an independent contractor, and as such, they as organizations are not responsible for providing his employees (himself) for the disability. They as organizations were only obligated to observe the laws provided because, they are non-profit organizations, and as such, they are subject to observe the federal laws against employment discrimination.
When I worked for the military, we had already begun preparations some seven years ago. ADA laws supposedly require that every golf course on a military base, acquire a minimum of two of these special single seat golf carts and they are not cheap. Some facilities had to acquire many more than that. Unfortunately, most go unused, but none the less, they must have the ability to provide for those who are disabled.
I am personally in favor of the program the military instituted as, I have had a few friends who were either amputee, or paraplegic including, Dennis Walters who travels around the globe giving golf exhibitions from a specially made golf cart.
Matter of fact, from what I understand, he was instrumental in assisting in the design of the newest specialty golf carts available.
Allowing access for those who are disabled is not only a great benefit, but also a right. I certainly hope that Congress votes to make sure, that any and every facility that allows public access, or receives federal or state funding of any sort is, required to provide access to these special golf carts. To me it matters not if it is a private club or not, WE ARE GOLF, and it should rightfully be equal access for all as, golf as a game knows no boundaries nor does it discriminate. If the PGA Tour and the USGA can do it, everyone can.
The question of who bears the cost of these carts is another story all in itself as, I have never seen any publicly operated facility such as a PARK, Court, Government Office, etc., be forced to provide any sort of transportation while in or attending their facility. IF they do so it is only as a courtesy. So if it is a case that the courts or government offices not be required to provide wheel chairs or special mobility carts for those who need them, then why would golf courses be forced to do so.
From what I understand about the ADA law, and I am not a lawyer…(yet), ADA law only requires, that accommodations are made that provide for someone who has a disability, to be allowed to have appropriate access to that public facility.
In either case I hope for the sake of all concerned, that we can find a fair common ground to allow access for all.
Until Next time, hit em long, straight, and as few times as possible, Happy Golfing and Have a Great Day.