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Junior Golf

Events | Past Events | How to Start a Program


 

Since its inception in 1998, the USBGA Junior Golf Program has experienced steady growth. Well over 5,000 children and adults have been introduced to blind and vision impaired golf through our junior golf and adult program. Our program is about one-on-one interaction between a PGA professional or volunteer instructor and each individual golfer.

The USBGA Junior Golf Program is about inclusion. It will help the students be active, increase their social skills, and in reality, be similar to the world of the emotions they will experience in their lives. They will feel challenged, feel success, and feel failure. Like most golfers they'll feel frustrated, angry, and happy. Our hope is that many of our junior golfers will be impacted enough to break down barriers that they may encounter because of their disability; to obtain their goals and accomplish their dreams.

Please contact us for more details on our Junior and Adult Programs



 



 

2019 Jr. Blind Golf Program Schedule


 

If you have a Junior Blind Golf event you would like listed here, please email us.

 

January-May and August-November AVID Blind Golf Program

Monday and Wednesday afternoons each week

3:30 PM to 5:30 PM each day

Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, Tennessee

With elementary students from the Tennessee School for the Blind (TSB)

 

Saturday, March 23 Georgia Blind Golf Clinic

This clinic sponsored by a partnership of Georgia Blind Sports (GBS), United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) and the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA)

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

City Club Marietta in Marietta, Georgia

With students from the GBS and the GSGA

 

Tuesday, April 23 to Tuesday, October 8 Middle Tennessee Blind Golf Program

The Middle Tennessee Council of the Blind (MTCB) hosts clinics the second and fourth Tuesday of each month

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Gaylord Springs Golf Links in Nashville, TN and Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, TN

With high school students from the Tennessee School for the Blind and 2 adults from Nashville

 

Tuesday, May 28 Fore Kids (Perkins) Blind Golf Clinic

MGA Golf Links and the First Tee of Massachusetts in Norton, Massachusetts

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM including lunch provided by 1st Tee and

Tee shirts provided by the USBGA

With students from The Perkins School for the Blind

 

Monday, June 3 Camp Abilities Blind Golf Clinic

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM including a pizza lunch provided by the USBGA

First Tee of Tucson in Tucson, Arizona

With students from Camp Abilities Summer Program



Tuesday, July 23 Carroll Center for the Blind Golf Clinic

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM including lunch provided by 1st Tee and

Tee Shirts provided by the USBGA

MGA Golf Links and the First Tee of Massachusetts in Norton, Massachusetts

With students and young adults from the Carroll Center for the Blind

 

Monday, September 9 USBGA Blind Golf Clinic

A Clinic hosted by the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA)

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Las Vegas Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada

With students from the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation
 

Thursday, October 10 USBGA & England Wales Blind Golf Clinic

A Clinic hosted by the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) in partnership with the England Wales Blind Golf Association

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Barbados Golf Club, Barbados

With students from the Irving Wilson School for the blind.  USBGA t-shirts provided by the USBGA to all students.
 

Wednesday, October 23 Nashville Blind Golf Clinic

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM including a pizza lunch provided by the USBGA

Vinnie Links at Shelby Park in Nashville, Tennessee

With middle school students from the Tennessee School for the Blind

 

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2018 Events

 

Tuesday, April 24 to Tuesday, October 9 Middle Tennessee Blind Golf Program

The Middle Tennessee Councel of the Blind (MTCB) hosted clinics the second and fourth Tuesday of each month

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Gaylord Springs Golf Links in Nashville, Tennessee and Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, Tennessee

With 4 high school students from the Tennessee School for the Blind and 2 adults from Nashville each session

 

Tuesday, May 29 Fore Kids (Perkins) Blind Golf Clinic

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM including a pizza lunch

MGA Golf Links and the First Tee of Massachusetts in Norton, Massachusetts

With 25 students from The Perkins School for the Blind


 

Monday, June 4 Camp Abilities Blind Golf Clinic

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM including a pizza lunch provided by the USBGA

First Tee of Tucson in Tucson, Arizona

With 25 students from Camp Abilities Summer Program


Friday, June 8 NFB BELL Blind Golf Clinic

8:30 AM to 1:00 PM including lunch

Rose Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City, Utah

With 15 elementary students from the Utah National Federation of the Blind (NFB)


Tuesday, July 24 Carroll Center Blind Golf Clinic

10:00 AM to 1:00 PM including a pizza lunch

MGA Golf Links and the First Tee of Massachusetts in Norton, Massachusetts

With 22 students and young adults from the Carroll Center for the Blind


Monday, August 27 USBGA Blind Golf Clinic

A Clinic hosted by the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA)

2:30 PM to 5:00 PM including a pizza dinner provided by the USBGA

Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, Tennessee 

With 24 elementary and middle school students from the Tennessee School for the Blind

The USBGA has proudly donated $2,500 to
A Vision In Darkness (AVID)!


AVID is a 501-c3 that brings the healing power of golf to blind children-the first blind golf team in the U.S. was started by AViD in 2018 at the Tennessee School For the Blind
 


Wednesday, October 24 Nashville Blind Golf Clinic

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM including a pizza lunch provided by the USBGA

Vinnie Links at Shelby Park in Nashville, Tennessee

With 9 middle school students from the Tennessee School for the Blind


 

Jr. Golf Clinic in Nashville, TN

 

 


 

USBGA National Blind Golf Clinic

 

October 24, 2018


Nashville Blind Golf Clinic
 Vinny Links at Shelby Park

Nashville, Tennessee

With nine middle school students from the Tennessee School for the Blind



USBGA AND SALT LAKE CITY FIRST TEE JOINTLY HOST A JUNIOR BLIND GOLFING CLINIC FOR THE UTAH NATIONAL FEDERATION FOR THE BLIND

 

June 8, 2018

 

The USBGA and the Salt Lake City First Tee successfully ran a Junior Blind Golf clinic for 15 National Federation for the Blind (NFB) Blind Juniors, ages 6-12, at Rose Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City, UT with the assistance from the Rose Park Golf Professional, two First Tee volunteers and staff combined with Wendy Bebee, and 12 Blind Bell Academy volunteers

 

The NFB BELL (Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning) Academy prepares blind and low vision children, ages four through twelve, to grow into confident and independent blind people who will live the lives they want. The program provides Braille and non-visual skills instruction through fun, hands-on learning in a day program or residential setting. In addition to Braille crafts, games, and other engaging projects, children learn vital independent living skills, interact with blind adults who serve as mentors, and enjoy field trips to sites related to the NFB BELL Academy curriculum. Through these activities and interactions, the children learn that blindness or low vision does not define them or their future.

 

The United State Blind Golf Association (USBGA) was established in 1953 for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing opportunities for blind and visually impaired golfers to compete in the game of golf. Blind and visually impaired golf is played with the assistance of a sighted coach, which in this case was provided by the very wonderful resident volunteers from Robeson Ranch

 

Why Blind Golfing?  Everett Bacon, Executive NFB-Utah and Wendy Bybee, Manager of BELL Activities, indicated: The health benefits of being active just like sighted people are needed to maintain good health. Athletics, sports and recreation can teach life skills that can be transferred over into other aspects of life to be socially and professionally. Golf teaches the value of motivation, endurance, perseverance and goal setting, all of which help all of us to be successful and happy in life.

 

Most importantly, thought athletics children with visual impairment can develop self-esteem.

 

Why First Tee? The First Tee offers an integration of golf and core social values to kids around the world, complimenting the USBGA’s golf only focus for visually impaired juniors. The First Tee is a youth sports organization whose mission is to grow the game of golf by transforming the experience that kids (and families) have with the sport. Since its inception in 1997, the organization has provided programs that introduce kids to the game of golf, teach The First Tee Nine Core Values and positively impact their lives. Reaching more than 5 million kids annually, The First Tee offers programs in all 50 states through: The National School Program in more than 10,000 elementary schools, 150 chapters at more than 1,200 golf courses and The First Tee DRIVE at 1,300 youth centers. The First Tee is expanding globally and currently offers programs at six international locations.

Bob continues to reach out through Blind Golfing organizations and Arizona based golf courses to locate anyone who is blind and would like to play some golf again. Also, just as important, to find the coaches for a blind golfer who aid and assist visually impaired golfers to return to the course and thru USBGA’S actually play in tournaments located in Green Valley and several other locations throughout the US and Canada.

 

Bob can be reached thru the USBGA or Sean Pressey at the Utah First Tee to answer any questions you might have about Blind Golfing and of course support you might offer or request to other blind golfers in the state of Utah and Arizona

 

THE NFB AND FIRST TEE PLAYERS AND SUPPORT VOLUNTEERS



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2017 Events

Date: 10/28/17
Event: Robson Ranch - Jr. Blind Golfing Clinic

 

Bob Newell and the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) successfully ran a Junior Blind Golf clinic Robson Ranch in Eloy, AZ, with the assistance from Jay Wilson, Golf Professional, his Assistant Professional and staff combined with 13 very wonderful Robson Ranch residents, Alyssa Bracamonte and Mike Armstrong both representatives of a Junior Blind Golfing clinic for Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired (SAAVI).

Group photo of the USBGA Junior Blind Golf clinic Robson Ranch in Eloy, AZ.

SAVVI has been working with blind and visually impaired people since 1964 and serves over 2,000 blind and visually impaired clients per year.

 

The United State Blind Golf Association (USBGA was established in 1953 for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing opportunities for blind and visually impaired golfers to compete in the game of golf. Blind and visually impaired golf is played with the assistance of a sighted coach, which in this case was provided by the very wonderful resident volunteers from Robeson Ranch

Also in attendance was Daniel Huebner, a representative of the First Tee of America, who assisted with First Tee social and athletic support aspects for the coaches.

 

Why Blind Golfing? Bob and Alyssa Bracamonte, Junior Children and Youth Services Assistant Coordinator from SAAVI indicated: The health benefits of being active just like sighted people are needed to maintain good health. Athletics, sports and recreation can teach life skills that can be transferred over into other aspects of life to be socially and professionally. Golf teaches the value of motivation, endurance, perseverance and goal setting, all of which help all of us to be successful and happy in life.


Most importantly, thought athletics children with visual impairment can develop self-esteem.  


Bob continues to reach out through Blind Golfing organizations and Arizona based golf courses to locate anyone who is blind and would like to play some golf again. Also, just as important, to find the coaches for a blind golfer who aid and assist visually impaired golfers to return to the course and thru USBGA actually play in tournaments located in Green Valley and several other locations throughout the US and Canada.

 

Bob can be reached thru Jay Wilson, the Robson Ranch Golf Professional to answer any question you might have about Blind Golfing and of course support you might offer to other blind golfers in the state of Arizona



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Date: 7/15/17
Event: Northwest Association of Blind Athletes Kids Clinic
 

NWABA and the United States Blind golf Association hosted 30 individuals on July 15, 2017 at Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City, OR. The focused of the clinic was on teaching basic golfing skills and fundamentals of the game.

NWABA hosts several golfing clinics throughout the year, and they are always enjoyed by our participants. Thank you to USBGA for being a part of it!

USBGA was pleased to provide lunch and a USBGA tee shirt for each child.
 

Kids Clinic - July, 2017
Youth golfer ready to swing at driving range Youth golfers and coaches at driving range
Youth golfers practicing on putting green Two youth golfers chatting on putting green
Man bending over helping a young female golfer Two golfers on putting green
Group photo of youth golfers all in blue t-shirts on course Parents of youth golfers practicing at driving range
 

 


Date:  7/18/17
Evnt: 
MASSACHUSETTES KIDS CLINICS
July 18 the second Massachusetts kids clinic was held with 21 children from the Carroll Center for the Blind participating. Carroll Center staff and other volunteers helped to conduct the tournament. Special thanks go out to Bob Beach, Chris Garvin, Tom Bernier and Shaun Kelly.



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Date: 7/5/17
EventUSBGA & First Tee at Tuscon's Camp Abilities

The USBGA worked with First Tee of Tucson, AZ and Tuscon's Camp Abilities to provide a golf clinic to 22 blind and visually impaired youngsters in Tuscon, AZ. Golf pro Robert Moreno, assisted Dick and Sharon Pomo, representing USBGA, in hosting the clinic.
Participants were given the opportunity to drive, chip and put. The goals of this clinic and others put on by USBGA throughout the United States is simply to expose blind and visually impaired children to the game of golf. Hopefully, some will continue to participate in the game as they grow older
.

 

June 5, 2017 - USBGA & First Tee Clinic
Group picture of all clinic participants holding banner at driving range Image showing golfers and volunteers on the putting green
Image showing volunteers helping young golfers at driving range Image showing youth golfer with USBGA t-shirt on
Placard with First Tee logo in the middle and images of golf balls around outside.  Each golf ball has a description of golf terms such as birdie, eagle, par, etc. Image of a single golfer lining up for a shot at the driving range




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Date: 5/3/17
EventMASSACHUSETTES KIDS CLINICS

Joe McCabe and the First Tee of Massachusetts presented two clinics for youngsters in 2017. Both tournaments took place at the MGA Links Golf Course in Norton MA. The United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) was pleased to present each youngster with a USBGA golf tee shirt.

 

On May 23, 33 children from the Perkins School for the blind, ranging from 11 to 20, staff and other volunteers participated in a clinic. Children were introduced to the basics of golf.


Date: 4/10 - 4/13/17
Eventhttp://birdeasepro.com/leaderdogsLocation: Troon North and Moon Valley CC Phoenix AZ
Activity summary:
Monday- Leader dog fund raiser where 24 foursomes played a round of golf in a scramble format. Included with that two Blind Golfers from BGA and their coaches played one hole with each group to demonstrate Blind Golfing support and capability.
Wednesday-Moon Valley professionals, Leaderdog sponsors, and three BGA Blind Golf teams coached 12 Blind people ages from SAVVI and AZ based Blind and Disabled support organization, ranging 16-25 to sample putting, chipping and driving.
BGA Participants:
Bill Davis AND Coach Bob Newell
Joe Furber and Coach Gordon Melnyk
Stephen Castaneda
Significant points:
Integrated multiple Blind Support activity using golf as focus for fund raising and golf player support
BGA support for two organizations who have not developed player coaching support capability
Because the Golf Course Professionals had never coached blind golfing and neither organizations had enough coaching support for Blind Golfers. USBGA actually led the coaching activity for the SAVVI people as well as the course Professionals.
Because we did not have enough actual coaching resources, Joe Furber, a B1 golfer actually coached another totally blind person.

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How to Start a Jr. Blind Golf Program
(Published with the approval of Middle Atlantic Blind Golf Association)
 

Interested in how YOU can start a Jr. Blind Golf program in your area? Checkout the recommendations below by the Middle Atlantic Blind Golf Association. If you would like a representative from the USBGA to contact you about Jr. Blind Golf, please email us.


1- A minimum of two committed persons is needed (5 is ideal). A rough estimate of the time spent on the MABGA JUNIOR PROGRAM is about 25 hours a week.( 5 people, 5 hours each) These persons do not have to be teachers or professionals, just any kind of golfers who love to help kids.

2- A friendly and cooperative relationship with the executive director of the local section of the PGA is important. The PGA connection provides not only financial support but also lends credibility within the local PGA community especially when asking PGA professionals to volunteer to give lessons.

3- A friendly connection with a local PGA professional is also necessary since this individual will make contact with the local PGA professional who will give the free lessons to your blind students. Is also important to have a back-up person for this position.

4-The parent must supply you with the name of the child, date of birth, address, home and cell phone number, e-mail address, name of mother and father, right or left handed and five golf courses near their home with phone numbers (can be public or private) in order of their preference. Our pro then contacts the first course on the list to enlist that pro to teach the child. Usually a lesson every other week, but that can be worked out between the pro and the family. Everything is free. All this info is part of the child's bio including the date and size of the golf set given (ex. 32” rt. 6-12-14).

5- If there is a local or nearby school for the blind in the area, a chip and putt course with 3 to 9 holes can be built( a separate paper will explain how to build such a course). This school will provide an anchor and credibility for this program. At our anchor course, we use a cayman golf ball( goes about 2/3 the distance of a regular ball and does not hurt as much if it should hit a child.

6- Connect with the state commission for the blind. ( not every state has one per say, but they have a comparable organization. This will help to get the word out to families with blind children.

7- Many counties also have organizations which offer support to blind individuals. Connect with as many of these as you can to provide them with information about your plan for a golf program and then be sure to give them an up-to-date schedule of all of your events via email. A reminder follow-up phone call is also helpful.

8- Many cities have golf groups ( for example GAP) Golf Association of Philadelphia. It is a great source for volunteer coaches. Other examples are local high school, and college golf teams.
These are needed when you have golf clinics and need to provide a coach for every child since the PGA pros, who do the teaching, are not expected to attend.

9- Local golf courses might be another resource for volunteer coaches. They may also be able to provide you with golf clubs, balls and bags which have been lost or discarded.

10- The PGA has a “CLUBS FOR KIDS” program which is another resource. Your program should never have to buy clubs if you make contact with multiple organizations and keep in touch.

11- Someone in your group needs to learn how to fit clubs for children. It is not a difficult procedure and it can be learned very quickly. The younger children get 7 clubs, a bag, 24 balls, 10 tees, a ball marker and a tool for repairing the greens( the child needs to be taught how to do this.). A typical set includes a 32” putter, a 32” pitching wedge, a 32” 9 iron, a 33” 7 iron, a 34” 5 iron, a 37” 5 wood and a 33” driver. Depending on your inventory, different irons and woods can be interchanged. We have found that the one wood works better for little men and women when cut to a 7 iron size. As the children grow, they trade in their clubs, usually every 2 years, but it is important that your leader check the children at each outing to make sure they are using the proper size. Eventually they will graduate to adult size clubs. Usually 14 are provided; but a child who has real interest in the game might get 15 or more clubs just as long as he or she is made aware that only 14 are allowed during play. They have to learn which 14 go for that day( for example, the lob wedge or utility wood may replace the 3 or 4 iron). All the equipment is eventually theirs to keep.

12- Adult bags are usually donated; different size bags for children are purchased by the organization. Bag prices have increased in 2014, however, the “ STICKS FOR KIDS” may help. You have to apply for a grant to get bags and other items from them. GCBAA( Golf Course Builders Association of America), 727 “O” Street, Lincoln, Ne. 68508. The contact person is Lori Romano, 402-476-4444. Her email address is lori_romano@gcbaa.org. GCBAA provides 5 clubs and a bag and your organization can always add a 5 wood and 5 iron to complete the set. The documentary made a favorable impression on Ms. Romano. Hopefully their board will feel the same. They have used up their financial resourses for 2014, but we are in line for 2015.

13- Thank you notes must be sent to all contributors of clubs, bags, money. This can be used as a tax write off. Examples are attached under separate cover.

14- MABGA currently has 11 clinics a year, two at the Overbrook School for the Blind, five at Walnut Lane Golf Course, and four at F, D. R. Golf Course( the last nine are coordinated with the First Tee program. We try to encourage integration between the groups with the kids mentoring each other. The two clinics at Overbrook are held in the spring and fall and each blind child has a sighted coach. The children play Overbrook's nine hole course, participate in 2 closest to the pin(chipping), a putting contest, and a 2 person scramble. Ten trophies are awarded at a cost of 100.00 and lunch is included for all. After each clinic, every child receives a prize(usually the best the dollar store has to offer). Pictures are taken of the children and sent to the parents with a note. There is a sample schedule attached. In case of rain, an in-door activity must be planned. An example is attached

15- Schedules are mailed to parents and volunteer coaches at the end of March. Schedules are also sent to all organizations with whom we have had contact. In order to maximize attendance, calls are made to parents and coaches one week before each clinic to help attendance. Individual emails are sent to each parent four weeks and two days before each clinic.The charge persons are always emailed a list of all children and coaches who are participating 2 days before hand.

16- Three to four parents are called each week to discuss their child's progress until all parents are contacted. The PGA coach(teacher) is also called so the student's progress can be discussed. In some cases and for many different reasons, parents do not take their child for lessons. This is addressed and corrected on an individual basis.

17- The BUNKER CLUB, is an extension of the Philadelphia section PGA which is made up from retired PGA professionals. They could be a tremendous resource for putting together a new “MABGA” type group that would cater to blind and visually impaired children in their area. No one would have more expertise than these men and women. Another source could be the LIONS CLUBS since they are an international organization helping to improve vision.
Our motto when we first started our program was that no child, whether visually impaired or blind should be denied the opportunity to learn the great game of golf. Al Balukas, our PGA pro said that if only one child benefits from this program, it is successful.

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