Golf Ontario

Golf Ontario Continues Learning Journey Through Identified EDI Priorities

Uxbridge – With the 5th Annual Ontario Adaptive Championship less than one month away, the staff at Golf Ontario welcomed Chris Garner a competitor in the event, to join us and lead our staff through a professional development session around adaptive golf, while also sharing his lived experience as a member of the adaptive golf community from across Ontario and around the world.

Ranked #211 in the WR4GD World Ranking for Golfers with Disability Net rankings and #436 in Gross rankings, Chris is perhaps best known as the 2022 ALD World Long Drive Champion, a remarkable achievement given he only took up the game of golf a few short years ago.

Chris shared his difficult personal journey navigating the medical system, that ultimately saw him choose to have his left leg amputated below the knee five years ago, and his subsequent enthusiasm for picking up sports for the first time, including golf, as a new passion in life.

He went on to share some insights into the ecosystem of adaptive golf in Canada as he knows it, and emphasized that we can all play a role in breaking down barriers for people of all abilities to try, learn and play golf. Stressing how important it is to ensure that the right opportunity is made available at the right time for participants as they are introduced to golf, learn to play and enjoy recreational golf, or aspire to compete to their full potential in tournament play.

While Chris was preparing to put on a demonstration for staff at the driving range, a very special guest dropped by to join the group. Minister Raymond Cho, the Government of Ontario Minister for Seniors and Accessibility arrived on-site as he was travelling between meetings in the area, and took the opportunity to speak to Chris, hit a few shots at the range and take a photo with the team.

Minister Cho shared with select members of the group that while he has played golf for a number of years, the game played an important role in his own recovery from health issues in recent years. Though he may not hit the ball as far as he used to, it gives him great pleasure to swing the clubs and compete to the best of his current ability. A powerful message around golf as a sport for life.

Various staff members had an opportunity to strap on an able bodied adaptive device that Chris had brought with him, to try and swing the clubs in a very different way than they are accustomed to. This was a very eye opening experience for everyone, and helped cap a wonderful day of learning for all.

For information on the 5th Annual Ontario Adaptive Championship, taking place at Weston Golf & Country Club on July 17th & 18th, visit the tournament website here.

To support the growth of adaptive golf opportunities in Ontario, consider a donation to the Golf Ontario Legacy fund here.