Utah to Host First PGA Play Golf America Day for Individuals With Disabilities

By PGA of America
Published on
Three years ago, as Jeff Burley was hired by adaptive program manager for Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation, his supervisor had a simple directive: Go out and provide more adaptive recreation programs. In other words, think outside the box. For Burley, it was just what he needed to hear. On Saturday, one extension of Burley's job description convenes on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, as a PGA Play Golf America Day is held at Meadowbrook Golf Course in West Taylorsville, Utah. It is the first-of-its-kind event in the PGA Play Golf America series that focuses on individuals with a wide range of disabilities. The event is the by-product of teamwork between Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation and the Utah PGA Section. PGA Play Golf America Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. MDT, and includes a visit by nationally renowned trick shot artist Dennis Walters of Jupiter, Fla., a PGA Honorary Member and the 2008 PGA Distinguished Service Award recipient. Walters' program will precede instruction sessions featuring Utah PGA Professionals, who advanced through adaptive golf training in 2008 guided by the National Alliance for Accessible Golf. "My passion has always been adaptive recreation, and I love how golf fits into that framework," said Burley, 39, a graduate of California State University Sacramento, and who has programs designed in 25 different sports. "It is great to see this Play Golf America Day come together. We redesigned the program two years ago, and there were 27 PGA Professionals in the state, many of whom work for our program, who took the training. "It has been tremendous to see the progress made between teacher and student." The Utah PGA Section actively took a role in the development of adaptive golf programs. "Our main purpose is to bring new golf into the game and this event presents a unique opportunity to do so," said Devin Dehlin, Utah PGA Operations and Foundation Director. "Unlike other competitive sports, golf provides equal access because you only compete against the course and yourself. We think this event has the potential to create golfers for a lifetime." Burley said that Veterans Administration patients are anticipated to attend, along with several members of local Boy Scouts troops who have had training themselves in aiding visually-impaired golfers. "Golf is so great, especially in the socialization area," said Burley. "Golfers who became disabled have returned to the game using adaptive equipment. And those who have never played before have found the great benefits of the sport in helping them in activities with their families."