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Golf and Deaf People:
By  Cody Miller, 3/26/2008
Also see:  Deaf Golf

 

The Deaf Community and Golf

For many years the game of golf has been an important part of my life. I have always thought of the game as one that demands perfection from its players. The ability of a golf to hear is one of the most vital parts of success in the game. One of arguably the greatest players to ever play the game Paul Azinger said “Hearing is Huge.” He was referring to how a golfer’s ability to hear how well contact is made with the ball is vital to becoming a great ball striker. However I have learned that golf is a game where hearing is not of great importance and that It is possible for the deaf to succeed in this great game.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring players to ever play the game is professional golfer Kevin Hall. Kevin Hall at the age of two was diagnosed with meningitis that stripped him of his ability to hear. Through preservation and passion of the game he has over come many trials to become without a doubt the best deaf golfer to play the game. According to Kevin being death has done nothing to hinder his abilities except further motivate him to succeed. Interactions with caddies and other golfers however have been a bit difficult for him. He has however established his ability to read lips and often times himself and his caddy interact through lip reading. If for some reason he is unable to communicate this way he carries a pad and pencil to write down what he is trying to communicate. Kevin is definitely an inspiring player for the deaf and his hard work has proved that playing golf at the top level is possible even for the deaf.

Other organizations such as ASL Golf have created programs for its deaf members to be able to interact with golf professionals and even provide private instructions for the members. In a recent event Stuart Appleby one of golf’s top ranked professions held a clinic for the deaf where he was able to interact and provide instruction for the people who desired them. He communicated to them through the use of an interpreter who would then sign his instructions to the students. In a quote from Rob Strano president of ASL golf “Until now deaf and hard of hearing individuals may have thought it impossible to get understandable quality golf instructions.” However with the help of many top instructors and players from all over the world the game has expanded its opportunities to the deaf.

The USDGA is the United States Deaf Golf Association. The USDGA is a golf tour that is committed solely to the deaf and hard of hearing. There mission is to bring quality golf tournaments and quality players together to help one another. There mission statement is “to promote active participation of golf by individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, and ensures protection of the game's integrity and valued traditions.” They have hosted many events and the success of the tour is growing. With the help of organizations like this and many others the game of golf has been expanded to the deaf community and is only going to grow. The game of golf is an individual sport and no matter who the person is, if they are dedicated and work hard enough they can succeed whether they are deaf or hearing.
 

References:

Kevin Hall Returns Home To Make Memorial Debut. 26 May 2008. The Associated Press. 27 Mar. 2008 .

Strano, Rob. ASL Golf Acadamy. June. ASL Golf. 27 Mar. 2008 .

ASL In Golf http://www.usdeafgolf.org/AboutUs.htm
 

 

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