USAGA Join Forces with Ernie Els Foundation #GameON Autism(TM) Golf Program during the Honda Classic
The United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA) will be joining the Ernie Els Foundation #GameON AutismTM Golf program, in conducting two clinics for golfers with autism, on Tuesday, February 26, during Honda Classic week at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The USAGA, building inclusion through the game of golf, provides adaptive golf instruction, clinics and tournaments, to over 20,000 disabled participants annually, including 24% combat wounded service personnel. The USAGA, a 501(C)3 national coalition of adaptive golf organizations with common goals and objectives, includes 36-member organizations across the United States. The USAGA mission is to provide these para-golf athletes an opportunity to learn and gain access to play the game despite any cognitive, physical, sensory or age-related impairments or challenges.
“#GameON is a wonderful program and I really enjoy attending as many of these clinics as my schedule allows,” says Ernie Els, winner of four Major Championships and Founder of the Ernie Els Foundation. “It’s always a lot of fun, seeing the amazing feedback from the kids and the smiles on their faces. Seriously, everyone gets a real kick out of that. And it’s great to hear that we have the USAGA on board for two of our outings at the Honda Classic. I love what the USAGA is doing to promote golf to the special needs community, the events they’re running and how they’re getting people involved with golf.”
“The Honda is a great week,” adds Els. “The guys there really look after us every year and I know everyone is going to have an incredible time.”
The Ernie Els Foundation #GameON AutismTM Golf program is designed to build self-esteem and confidence in a fun, welcoming and supportive environment; encouraging participants to learn golf skills while practicing specific autism learning concepts including communication, emotional regulation, motor and social skills. The program is infused with evidence-based practices for teaching golf to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Two volunteers from the USAGA will be working with members of the Ernie Els #GameON AutismTM Golf Program. Jonathan Synder, Director of Golf Operations, Freedom Golf Association, the number-two ranked one-arm golfer in the U.S., and Michala Mika, Executive Director, Kids Golf Foundation, the official program provider for the Ernie Els #GameON Autism Golf Program, will be part of the instruction team.
“I’m delighted that our volunteers can work with the Ernie Els Foundation #GameOn Autism Golf Program,” says EQ Sylvester, Chairman, USAGA. “The USAGA has proven ‘NOW EVERYONE CAN PLAY GOLF!’ This is just another step forward, and personally, having parents who lived in S. Africa, I have always been an admirer of Ernie Els.”
2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell and Hall of Fame Inductee Dennis Walters will be leading The First Tee’s clinic on Tuesday, February 26, at 4pm. The USAGA volunteers have been invited to participate in this clinic as well. The agenda/lesson plans for both clinics will be delivered by the Els Staff and The First Tee Coaches.
About United States Adaptive Golf Alliance:
Founded in 2014, the USAGA is a national alliance of 36-member adaptive golf organizations with common goals and objectives, promoting and providing resources for athletes with disabilities nationwide. In 2018, its member organizations provided adaptive golf to 20,000+ individuals across the country, of which 24% are wounded veterans. USAGA is the only organization in the country that provides competitive pathways in disabled golf – from basic instruction, get out and play, through and including national and international competitions for golfers with disabilities.
For more information on the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA), please visit: www.usaga.org
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Edmund Q. Sylvester
Director of Advancement, USAGA