Posted by: scoringzone at 18:00, June 2 2014.
It is now some three months since our last EDGA newsletter and much has happened during that period. Before I go into some of the detail of the work that has been done, it would be remiss of me not to mention the passing of our honorary President Mr Roberto Caja.
Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to spend much time withRoberto as it was around the time when I first became 'slightly involved'with EDGA that he started to have problems with his health. Even so I didhave the opportunity to share time with him on several occasions and I could clearly see that Roberto was passionate about doing the right thing for the players which this association represented. I cannot tell any specific stories of the work that he did on behalf of the association, but suffice to say that he, together with our Vice President Pieter van Duijn, Professor Wim Eisma, current Executive Committee (EC) member Professor Hans Arendzen and I am sure many others, did the heavy lifting to establish EDGA as an organisation that has become a trusted name in Golf for the impaired.
I started to play Golf when I was 12 years ago and I would never have imagined that I would hit a one piece ball, with a metal headed wood, that was connected to my hands with a graphite shaft. The thought that a round of Golf would take five or more hours to complete was unthinkable and that one would be able to use a laser or GPS to know how far it was to to reach the flag was pure science fiction. Of course things change and although EDGA has been around for 15 years, the landscape in which we operate today is very different than the one which existed back at the turn of the century. We are in the middle of a year of transition, a year where we will do the right thing for the future of the association and the players it represents. Undoubtedly we will have our difficulties as change is rarely comfortable, but often it is worth the temporary feelings of frustration to be able to enjoy lasting benefits.
Game for all
Thankfully there is growing recognition that Golf really is a game for all, a game for life and any form of discrimination is unacceptable. Legislation and public opinion are responsible for this change and it is in our interest to make the most of this opportunity. Take a look at http://ow.ly/xFTH8 to see a news piece from the BBC. If there is any news or social media on Golf for the impaired in your country, then please let us know, as it all helps raise the profile.
The way in which any Golf association is funded has changed, with an ever increasing link to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through the International Golf Federation (IGF) and ultimately the national Federations, the new landscape is becoming increasingly more important. Likewise any application which is made to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will need the support of the IGF and it's members, which are the individual country Federations. Before making an application to the IPC for inclusion in the Paralympics, we should have evidence that the sport has a worldwide reach, that we have, or at least are dealing with, issues of classification, that we fulfil the requirements of anti doping set by WADA, have a meaningful quadrennial competitive programme with high level tournaments, have a unified set of standards, rules and definitions, and critically have the minimum number of member countries.
As a member or player of EDGA, I am sure that you will be pleased to know that work on all of the above is underway. In May of 2013 we prepared a policy document, which we shared with opinion formers and then ultimately with the members. At the November 2013 AGM the members voted for this new trajectory and in January we commenced the work. The strategic plan was produced and we have systematically gone about working towards our aspirations. Our Sports Committee has been tasked with the difficult job of developing not only a meaningful calendar of events which includes three individual series of events to embrace competitive golfers of all levels, but also to raise the quality of those events which carry the badge of EDGA. This year we have 11 EDGA approved events, but next year we thing that we could be as many as 15. This Committee is also working on the preparation of a ranking system which is reliable, transparent and meaningful, to produce a definitive rank system of the best competitive impaired golfers.
The construction of our Medical Committee has been revised. EDGA now enjoys both an expert panel of advisors and a working committee. The experts, many of whom had previously been on the MC are available to advise on specific issues. The first meeting of the new MC has taken place and I know that even though they are dealing with complex issues that they are committed to achieving ambitious objectives. Issues of eligibility, classification and simplifying the process for classifiers and players alike will take sometime, as will defining definitions for the integration of players with sensory and intellectual impairment. When EDGA decided to become pan disability we upped the demands on our own association to meet the challenge. Please be in no doubt that without making this step, the acceptance of EDGA by the national Federations and IGF is much more difficult.
To support all of the above we have a dedicated EC which is working hard to help position the association in the wider world of Golf. Our website is being revamped to become a focal point for Golfers with impairment and ensure that tournament entries, eligibility and rankings are available at the click of a link. We would appreciate your input into what you would like to see on this new resource which will help organisations arrange and manage their events and help players keep up to date with matters that affect them. We are still three months away from the completion of the first stage of this work, but even now we are able to communicate to players and members more easily. If you would like us to keep you informed then simply reply to this mail and we will make sure you receive the most up to date news from EDGA.
All that remains for me to say is that I wish you a good season of Golf and hope that we may be able to catch up for a few minutes at one of this years EDGA events.
PS: Please take a look at our fund raising website www.edgagolf.org to see details of the Golf & Ride Portugal 2014 challenge. The awareness of impaired Golfers is growing.