What was earlier known as “European Disabled Golf Association” is today simply mentioned as EDGA. It is a non-profit organisation very active to promote the possibility of trying, participating and competing in golf. Among other things they work on the large golfing organisations by actively informing and giving advice on a competitor with any kind of disability. The organisations they have worked with so far is International Golf Federation, European Tour and European Golf Association.
History and growth
EDGA was founded in 2000 in Weisbaden and has members from 28 nations. In 2018 they implemented 19 events and in 2019 the estimate is to increase the number up to about 40 events. The member countries are allocated all over the world, but the main part is in Europe. The estimate is that about 25% are in the rest of the world. Some of the latest EDGA- members are Australia, New Zeeland, India, Costa Rica and Israel. To grow and to have more disabled people start playing golf, a coaching program has been implemented and formed. The thought is that employers at rehab centres, hospitals and golf clubs should use golf with the purpose of rehabilitating those newly affected by disability, or those born with it. The utmost purpose is to increase the number of disabled golf players around the world. By giving people with disabilities the tools to succeed in a career in golf, regardless if it is as exercise or to compete at an international level, they reach their main purpose.
Around the world there are yearly events for golfers with disabilities. Most of these events are organised by, or in consultation with, EDGA. There are both competitions and classes for beginners and training camps. Since the disabilities varies the events are held in different grades. In some cases, there are just one grade while in others there can be several individual classes competing parallel to each.
Golf changes lives
Many people have gotten a whole new way of life thanks to golf. One of them is Swedish EDGA-golfer Joakim Bjorkman. He got the diagnosis achondroplasia as a child, which means he is very short. Measuring a person´s height is simple, but it is hard to measure the size of a man´s heart. Joakim´s heart for his sport is big, almost unmeasurably big. He says golf has given him a whole new meaning to life, and so much pleasure and joy and he feels much stronger today. He became aware that he was different at the age of six when he saw that he didn´t grow as much as the others. In his teens he saw others look at him, young people with curiosity while reactions from grownups could be both different and unnecessary. During this revolving time, he found comfort in golf. He came to understand that he had a talent for the sport and for a long time he measured up to players without disabilities. All the hours at the course gave result and he got to represent Sweden in the European Championship in 2005. Through the work of EDGA, today he is one of the worlds best players in golf for disabled. Not only Joakim has gotten a new life from golfing, the list is long! The sport unites and gives meaning to a lot of people.