The PGA of America and the Nebraska PGA Section will host a Play Golf America Experience – a complimentary clinic for all Special Olympics athletes and spectators featuring PGA Professional expert instruction – on July 19, 2010, during the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Play Golf America Experience is among several initiatives providing comprehensive support by the national association, its Nebraska section office and regional PGA Professionals to the golf competition and USA National Games. Golf is one of 13 competitive sports at the event for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Special Olympics anticipates the participation of some 2,800 athletes from 48 states; 1,000 coaches; 8,000 volunteers; 15,000 family members and friends; and 30,000 estimated spectators making the USA National Games the largest multi-sport event in the history of Nebraska and one of the largest multi-sport events in the United States during 2010.
The Play Golf America Experience will be staged on Monday, July 19, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Special Olympics Sports Experience within Special Olympics Town at the Pershing Auditorium on the University of Nebraska, Lincoln campus. All athletes, family members, volunteers and spectators are invited to participate in the clinic.
When nearly 200 golfers from 39 states compete in one of five levels of competition, July 19-21, more than 30 Nebraska PGA Professionals will volunteer their time as Rules officials and tournament operators throughout the three-round golf competition held at Mahoney Golf Course and Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln. Also, during the July 18 practice round PGA Professionals will volunteer with final preparations and instruction advice for golfers. The national office of The PGA of America is providing additional assistance with Rules officials, tournament administration and course setup, as well as financial contributions. Also, PGA of America Honorary President Brian Whitcomb will attend the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games and present a formal PGA of America proclamation of support to Special Olympics North America on Monday, July 19, at 4:00 p.m. on the Fan Fest stage of Special Olympics Town.
“The 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games is a tremendous opportunity to share the fun and lifetime benefits of the game with Special Olympics athletes, their families, coaches, friends and volunteers,” said PGA of America President Jim Remy. “It is reminiscent of The PGA’s first large-scale clinic nearly 20 years ago at the 1991 Special Olympics Games, where PGA Professionals introduced golf to thousands of athletes and volunteer coaches. Since then, many of our 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals have been proud to champion the growth of the program, resulting in some 18,000 participating Special Olympics golfers in the U.S.”
“The time shared and volunteer spirit that our Nebraska PGA Professionals are giving for the Play Golf America Experience should make this a great night for everyone involved,” said David Honnens, PGA, executive director of the Nebraska PGA Section. “It promises to be an exciting week for all of the competitors and our PGA Professional volunteers. We are enthusiastic to encourage athletes, friends and families to enjoy the fun of golf, not just that day, but when they get home too.”
Olympic-style Opening Ceremonies will be held July 18 with three competitive golf rounds played July 19-21. Awards ceremonies for the golf competition will take place immediately following the final round on July 21.
Special Olympics golf offers five levels of competition for athletes of all abilities. Level I is an individual skills contest, where six golf skills are tested. Level II is an alternate shot team play, where a Special Olympics athlete is paired with a non-Special Olympics partner of more advanced skill for a 9-hole competition. Level III is Unified Sports team play, pairing Special Olympics and Unified partners of similar ability for an 18-hole competition. Levels IV and V are individual stroke-play 9-hole and 18-hole competitions, respectively. Competition for Levels I, III & V will take place at Highlands Golf Course, while Level II & IV competitors will play at Mahoney Golf Course.
The PGA of America and USGA are supporting the golf competition at the Games and have provided support vital to the growth and development of the Special Olympics Golf program since it began in 1988.