Strong as New Hope

CELEBRATING ITS 30TH anniversary this year, Golf 4 the Disabled gives hope to hundreds of people with spinal injuries, poor eyesight, cerebral palsy, strokes, amputations and other physical disabilities. Founded in 1989 by a nurse who discovered that golf improved her concentration, balance and self-esteem after a severe head injury, the organization utilizes golf as a method of therapy and enriches the lives of those who might otherwise put away their clubs forever—or never pick one up.

Using adaptive equipment and single-rider carts, Golf 4 the Disabled participants work with volunteers to enrich their lives through golf.

“To watch the change in these people’s lives when they can hit a golf ball is truly inspiring,” says Golf 4 the Disabled President Ken Paieski, a retired investment manager who is blind in one eye and has physical limitations stemming from his days as a starting linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh. “We’ve reorganized this year and spread the word about what we do, and participation in the program has increased 100 percent.”

Golf 4 the Disabled offers a vast number of accommodations, including classes taught by PGA Professionals, assistance from volunteers and numerous types of adaptive equipment, such as specialized clubs and single-rider golf carts with a chair that swivels to allow the player to sit or stand while swinging the club with optimal support. Throughout the summer, G4D offers weekly clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at Broken Tee Golf Course in Englewood—one of 10 Front Range courses to which the organization has donated a total of 20 adaptive golf carts. The others are Aurora Hills, South Suburban, CommonGround, The Broadlands, Coal Creek, Thorncreek, Ute Creek, Sunset, Twin Peaks and Patty Jewett.

Golf 4 the Disabled participants out on the golf course.

On Sept. 13, the organization, which always welcomes donations and volunteers, will stage its annual golf fundraiser at Broken Tee. In addition to bidding on such fabulous auction items as golf at Cherry Hills Golf Club, rare and exceptional bottles of wine and a stay at California beach house, participants can see firsthand the impact the program has. The incentive-rich $5,000 Gold sponsorship, for example, includes two threesomes, each completed by a sponsored disabled athlete. On a different level, for $400, you can register a threesome and sponsor a disabled golfer as your fourth.

“Given what some of these men and women have gone through, the fact that they participate is so gratifying,” Paieski says. “And some of them can really play. I’m hoping to get two of them—one has Down Syndrome—into the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA) Championships in Las Vegas in October.”

This article appeared in the 2019  August/September Issue of Colorado AvidGolfer.

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