General information about inclusive golf
In 2018, on the initiative of Olga Blokhina, the Head of Inclusive Golf Development of the UGF in Ukraine began the development of golf for people with special needs.
In September 2020, golf was officially recognized at the state level as a new sports discipline for persons with disabilities.
Currently, UGF's partners in the development of inclusive golf are:
- The European Disabled Golf Association;
- The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine;
- The Ukraine Deaf Sports Federation;
- The Ukrainian Center for Physical Culture and Sports for Persons with Disabilities Invasport and regional Invasport centers;
- National rehabilitation centers;
- The Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine;
- The Strongman Federation of Ukraine;
- Warrior Games Team Ukraine;
- StratCom Ukraine Strategic Communications Center;
- The Return Alive Foundation ;
- Golf clubs Superior, Kozyn, H-club, Edem and Cosmos Golf.
In October 2020, UGF approved a strategic plan for the development of inclusive golf for 2020-2024. Detailed information and the Strategic Plan for the Development of Inclusive Golf can be viewed at the link https://www.ukrgolf.org/ugf_approved_strategic_plan_for_disabled_golf_and_defgolf_development_for_5_years
UGF is currently developing the following types of inclusive golf: (the list shall be made either as active links or individual tabs):
- Deaflympic golf
- Veteran golf
- Golf for the wheelchair users
- Golf for the visually impaired
- Rehabilitation golf for 'sunny' children (with Down Syndrome) and for persons with mental disorders
Currently, in Ukraine golf is played by:
1) 13 adult Deaflympic golf teams. These are 12 teams of regional Invasport centers in Kharkiv, Lviv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Poltava, Sumy, Khmelnytskyi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Cherkasy, Kyiv regions and the team of Kyiv city Invasport center.
2) 9 junior golf teams of children with hearing impairments. These are teams of regional Invasport centers in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Poltava, Sumy, Khmelnytskyi regions and the team of Kyiv city Invasport center.
Deaf Golf Academy
As a result of UGF's fruitful cooperation with the Association of Professional Coaches of Ukraine and thanks to the support of golf clubs Superior, Kozyn, H-Club and Cosmos Golf, golf trainings for persons with hearing impairments are arranged on a regular basis twice a week in Kharkiv and Kyiv. Roman Yaremenko, Fedir Karhapolov, Petr Volkolup and other pro golf coaches assist in bringing up a new community of deaf golfers.
Starting from 2018, special club, regional and all-Ukrainian competitions are held in Ukraine every year.
On May 8-9, 2021, the official Golf Championship of Ukraine among the hearing impaired was held for the first time, attended by 13 teams from 13 regions of Ukraine. It became a qualifier for the creation of the national Deaflympics team, whose members in May 2022 will represent Ukraine at the Deaflympics (the Olympics for hearing-impaired players) in Brazil.
On September 18-19, 2021, the Junior Championship of Ukraine was held for the first time, attended by 5 teams. The best players became candidates for the national Deaflympics team.
Another significant step in cooperation with the state in the development of inclusive golf for children and youth was the opening on September 1, 2021 at the expense of the Kharkiv regional and Kyiv city budgets of two school golf departments at special schools:
1) the extracurricular golf club for hearing-impaired children at Kharkiv special school No. 5 of Kharkiv regional council (the city of Kharkiv);
2) the golf department at the Meteor children's and youth game sports school for the disabled (the city of Kyiv).
On October 5 and 9, 2021, regional golf championships were held for the first time in Kyiv and Kharkiv, attended by adult players with hearing impairments and juniors.
Golf for Wheelchair Users
This year, a wheelchair golf department was opened at the Invasport Kharkiv Regional Center. The coach of the group was the director of the Superior golf club Fedir Kargapolov. With the start of the 2021 golf season, a group of wheelchair golfers is training on a regular basis at the Kharkiv golf club. This summer, the wheelchair golf team had a two-day master class with David Kearney, the UGF consultant from Ireland. David answered numerous questions from golfers, sought new ways to improve the technique of hitting with each participant personally, emphasized the very good results of previous trainings. Such a caring attitude of UGF to the development of a new inclusive trend is very much appreciated by wheelchair golfers, as they feel round-the-clock support and care.
On October 9, 2021, the first regional golf championship in the sitting category was held, where the golfers were able to demonstrate their advancement.
In April 2021, a Memorandum of Strategic Cooperation was signed between the Ukrainian Golf Federation, the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of Ukraine, the StratCom UA and the Return Alive Foundation.
As part of the inclusive golf development strategy elaborated by Ukrainian Golf Federation in cooperation with European Disabled Golf Association and PGA of Ukraine, new golf groups were opened for ATO/JFO veterans in three cities of Ukraine: in Kharkiv, Lviv and Kyiv, so that even more people could join the game of golf.
On 14.05.2021, supported by Ukrainian Golf Federation and KOZYN GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, golf competitions were held among combat veterans. The tournament was held as part of the qualifying stage for the World Warrior Games among veterans.
Excitement before the first shot, maximum concentration and thrill – this was what every tournament participant felt. The players also noted that golf has a rehabilitative effect and a positive impact on the emotional state.
According to the terms of cooperation with the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Warrior Games: Team Ukraine, Stratcom Ukraine, Return Alive Foundation and the Strongman Federation of Ukraine, the Golf Federation provided an opportunity for soldiers to be trained for competitions in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv under the guidance of professional coaches from the PGA of Ukraine. UGF, together with Kozyn golf club, also facilitated the tournament arrrangement and provided all golf equipment free of charge.
Everyone enjoyed the game, but only the best won the championship. Two ladies who received special awards also took part in the competition.
The tournament showed a high interest of veterans in golf, so UGF decided to continue supporting veterans and to open groups of the Veterans Golf Academy in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv. The veteran golf team was also selected based on the tournament results. During the summer, team members were actively preparing for the finals of the Warrior Games, an international competition for wounded servicemen and veterans, which unfortunately could not be held live this year as planned on September 12-22, 2021 in Orlando, USA due to the second pandemic wave. But against all odds the competition was held online, and for the first time Ukraine was able to present veteran golf at the international level.
Rehabilitation golf for children with mental disorders
At present, children's and youth groups are engaged in rehabilitation golf on a regular basis in two inclusive resource centers in Kharkiv and in the resource center in Trostyanets. Every training session is very much expected by children. Colored special equipment SNAG GOLF provided by UGF to these centers is liked a lot by children who enjoy playing golf.
During the year, more than 20 events are held for children, including special mini-tournaments and master classes that attract increasingly more people willing to join this type of rehabilitation.
On October 9, the first regional championship took place in Kharkiv, in which 'sunny' children took part.
Golf for the visually impaired.
Starting in 2020, golf in Ukraine is gradually becoming accessible for players with visual impairments. Currently, the first experimental group has been opened in Kharkiv. The process of opening groups in other regions of Ukraine has also begun.
On October 9, 2021, the trainees of the experimental group took part in the regional golf championship for the first time and showed excellent initial results.
International grant project "Golf for Everyone". (together with the European Disabled Golf Association).
It should be particularly noted that such a rapid development of inclusive golf in Ukraine would have been impossible without our European partners, the European Disabled Golf Association and R&A, with which we continue to implement a joint project of 8-stage golf development, "Golf for Everyone". In accordance with the mission, goals and objectives of the project, a strategy for the development of inclusive golf was elaborated at the end of last year, which provides for a gradual introduction to golf in three steps. The first step is to get acquainted with golf in special inclusive activator golf centers. The second stage involves a more in-depth study of the technique of playing golf in golf clubs. The third step means high-level sports, in which the national golf teams are preparing to participate in international competitions.
To ensure the conditions of the first stage, UGF opened 9 inclusive activator golf centers in Odesa, Mykolaiv, Lviv, Kyiv, Poltava (with a branch in Myrhorod), Sumy, Trostyanets and two centers in Kharkiv. Anyone interested can visit these centers and try golf. All centers received from UGF special SNAG GOLF equipment, which is very convenient at the stage of the hands-on acquaintance with golf. It can also be used both outdoors and indoors, which is very important for year-round training.
In the second stage, golfers with special needs get into inclusive groups that work on the bases of golf clubs Superior, Kozyn, H-Club, Cosmos Golf, Edem.
Later, taking part in all-Ukrainian competitions, the best golfers with special needs enter the national teams representing our country at international competitions.
According to the latest report of the International Paralympic Committee, Ukraine is now showing the best results in Europe in terms of the pace of inclusive golf development. This confirms our being on the right track and motivates us to continue to change the golf space for the better and, together with the entire golf community, to make it accessible and barrier-free.
In order to support the development of inclusive golf in Ukraine, please contact: