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Golf & Bowls

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Introduction

Both Golf & Bowls are available to most individuals with Visual Impairments in South Africa. The classification process is used to guarantee that no matter your disability, everyone can compete on an even footing. Both sports are played at social, club & Provincial level, as well as at International level.

Golf

Blind golf is a version of the sport of golf adapted for blind and partially sighted players. Blind golf is outstanding in the area of disabled sports in that it includes only minor modifications to the standard rules of golf. The principle of playing is that blind or partially sighted golf players have a sighted coach who assists the golfer in describing distance, direction and characteristics of the hole, and helps with club head alignment behind the ball, prior to the stroke. From that point, the golfer is on his own, and it is her/his skill that determines the resulting stroke.

Other than the coach, there is only one relaxation to the standard rules: blind or partially sighted golfers are allowed to ground their club in a hazard.

Blind golf competitions are set in classes determined by the golfer’s level of sight (see above) using the same categories as in other branches of sports played by the visually impaired.

The International Blind Golf Association overseas blind golf. The sport is not played at the Paralympics.

In some cases, non-Paralympic, non-IBSA affiliated sports have developed their own classification systems. This is the case with blind golf, where a classification existed by 1990 and was used at the Australian Open Golf Tournament for the Blind and Visually Impaired. At that time, four classifications existed and were the same as the IBSA for this class.

Disability golf classification is used for deaf golf, blind golf, amputee golf, golf for the mentally challenged, paraplegic golf and other forms of golf involving the disabled.

Classification

The Blind golf classification existed by 1990 and was used at the Australian Open Golf Tournament for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The four classifications were B1, B2, B3 and B4. Classifications in use at the time included B1, B2 and B3.

  • Visualisation of functional vision for a B1 competitor
  • Visualisation of functional vision for a B2 competitor
  • Visualisation of functional vision for a B3 competitor

B1 was defined as "No light perception in either eye, up to some light perception but inability to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance or in any direction."

B2 was defined as "the ability to recognize the shape of a hand up to visual acuity of 2/60, or a visual field of less than 5 degrees."

B3 was defined as "visual acuity above 20/60, up to visual acuity of 6/60 and/or visual field of above 5 degrees and less than 20 degrees."

B4 was defined as "visual acuity of 6/60 up to visual acuity of 6/46."

The blind classifications are based on medical classification, not functional classification. The classification process for blind golf is governed by the International Blind Golf Association.

Governance

The International Blind Golf Association (IBGA) was established in 1997 at a meeting held in Perth, Western Australia.

The International Blind Golf Association overseas blind golf. The sport is not played at the Paralympics.

The IBGA conducts a world championship every two years. The 2004 world championship tournament was held in Australia. Other tournaments sanctioned by the IBGA include National Open events in Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Japan and the USA. There are currently nine member countries in the IBGA: Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the United States of America.

Disabled golf in South Africa is run by the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA)

SADGA

South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) helps people regardless of your disability, to take part in golf, in doing so it also builds your character. This includes those with Intellectual Disabilities.

SADGA was incorporated as a Section 21 Company in July 2004.Through golf they pride themselves on being a unique community that produce strong & courageous persons that can effectively handle adversity and face any challenge that comes before them.

Their aims include:

  • Encourage every South African with a permanent disability to play golf.
  • Promote golf as a viable form of rehabilitation and recreation for the disabled.
  • Bring together able and disabled golfers to share their love for the game, in the spirit of friendship and competition.
  • Create public awareness of challenges facing disabled golfers, and to highlight their achievements.

History

The earliest record of blind golf is from the 1920s in the USA: Clint Russell of Duluth, Minnesota, who lost his sight when a tire exploded in his face, began playing blind golf in 1925. Gradually increasing his scores, Clint managed to shoot an 84 for 18 holes in the early 1930s. A match between two blind Englishmen and two Americans took place before the Second World War.

Organized blind golf tournaments have taken place in America since the United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) was established in 1947. The International Blind Golf Association (IBGA) was established in 1997 at a meeting held in Perth, Western Australia.

The American Blind Golf organization was established in 2001 to promote the game of golf to blind and vision impaired persons.

Bowls

International Bowls for the Disabled has its origins in the family of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), one of the largest sporting organisations in the world and the peak international body governing sport for athletes with a disability.

Formerly a sport on the programme of the Paralympic Games, bowls was excluded from this high profile world event in 1996.

Disability classification in lawn bowls

Bowls has rules that were designed specifically with people with disabilities in mind. Classifications for this sport are based on functional mobility. The blind classifications are based on medical classification, not functional classification. Bowls classification is the classification system for lawn bowls where players with a disability are classified into different categories based on their disability type. Classifications exist for blind bowlers. Bowls was played at the Paralympics.

  • Visualisation of functional vision for a B1 competitor
  • Visualisation of functional vision for a B2 competitor
  • Visualisation of functional vision for a B3 competitor

Paralympic Games

Bowls was dropped at the 1992 Summer Paralympics, returning on 1996 Summer Paralympics,and dropped again in 2000 Summer Paralympics,blind, wheelchair and amputee disability types were eligible to participate, with classification being run through the International Paralympic Committee, with classification being done based on wheelchair and blindness. The sport was not on the Paralympic programme as of 1999.

History 

The visual impairment classification was part of the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Several classes in this sport were included in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

References

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