Club fitting boosts performances of golfers with a disability

The 2023 PING Open – a G4D event (golf for the disabled) – created a mix of cutting edge innovation along with excellent support of EDGA players, at Gainsborough, England (June 12-14).

EDGA represents 39 national governing bodies and sees PING as one of its vital partners in seeking to encourage 500,000 new golfers with a disability into the game.

Globally respected club manufacturer PING hosted the practice day and 36-hole championship at the Karsten Lakes Course at Thonock Park GC, while offering a complimentary fitting experience to all the players taking part, at PING’s famous custom-fitting centre at the course.

All types of impairment were represented in the tournament contested by players from five nations: physical, sensory, intellectual and neurodevelopmental. Sixteen players took advantage of fitting sessions thanks to expert support from PING technicians, including golfers who play from a powered chair that helps position a player into their golfing stance.

As a long-standing partner and EDGA’s Official Golf Club Supplier, PING funding helps EDGA to reach more people with disability who are brand new to the game.

The first fitting sessions exemplified the quality of support from PING, helping all golfers to #PlayYourBest. Matthew Jones, who is of short stature, and Matt Gamble who plays with his left arm, each worked with PING technician Paul Rymer: Jones analysing the full bag, with Gamble working on his irons and wedges (both players would then enjoy success on the course).

Jacopo Luce, who has a neurodevelopmental impairment and had travelled from Venice in Italy to play, enjoyed a productive session in the PING Putting Lab with PING technician Adam Wainwright, while Ellie Perks, who is of short stature, was fine-tuning her putting game to take her golf handicap into single figures (currently 11).

Paralysed from the waist down in 2017, Kris Aves plays his golf from a powered chair. Kris was looking for a full-bag fitting to gain an edge in tournament play and said the fitting experience with technician Nick Boulton was “simply brilliant and eye-opening”.

Iain Millar, a former semi-professional rugby player from Hampshire who has a brain and spinal injury, said: “I was hitting the ball longer and straighter, it feels much more controlled. It’s an amazing centre here and makes you feel so optimistic about what you can do with your game.”

Director of Marketing at PING Europe Dave Fanning said: “We were delighted to be able to welcome EDGA players to our fitting centre at Gainsborough to continue our support of EDGA to grow the game. This all combines perfectly with our desire to help all golfers to #PlayYourBest.

“Similarly, it’s a privilege to make available the Karsten Lakes Course for the PING Open for a second year. All the EDGA players present created a great atmosphere of friendly rivalry in their time at our club.”

There were some fine performances around the challenging but beautiful Karsten Lakes Course: the Stableford victory went to Matthew Jones after impressive point scores of 40 and 41; the winner of the Net was a delighted Matt Gamble who shot 73, 64 (Net), his second round off a 12 handicap being his best competitive round in memory.

Andrew Gardiner won the overall Gross award after rounds of 79 and a brilliant 67, to be a deserving 2023 PING Open Champion, and thanked his fellow players for the excellent competition.

Rob Moss, Tournament Director for the EDGA event, thanked all of the PING team and staff at Thonock Park for their “fantastic support” for the event.

Rob added: “It is the people at PING that make this such a special company to work with. Our players were delighted with the help from PING technicians Nick, Paul and Adam, they were tremendous. As EDGA works with the game’s leading bodies to create a supportive, inclusive, and accessible golfing landscape, we could not have a better partner than our friends at PING.”

PING’s three-year commitment to EDGA will also aid recent progress in providing professional coaches and volunteers with the expertise to reach out to more golfers with an impairment internationally.

Previously, PING helped EDGA in the creation of the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD), now in the hands of WAGR, and supported EDGA’s regular podcasts.

EDGA provides advice, guidance and standards to leading golfing bodies, including The IGF, The R&A, and the DP World Tour. EDGA is the knowledge hub on players, the game, and the way in which golfers with disabilities engage in golf and navigate the barriers for entry, thus facilitating a more accessible sport.