Empower Golf Affiliates with Special Olympics Australia to change people’s lives through Golf

December 2021

Empower Golf has become affiliated with Special Olympics Australia with the objective of providing more opportunities for a section of the golfers that they serve.

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and competition for people with an intellectual disability and autism in a variety of sports including golf. Competition events are held at local club, state, national and international level and designed to cater for all levels of ability commencing with skills then alternate shot with a partner through to 18-hole individual stroke play.

The mission of Empower Golf is to transform golf into Australia’s most inclusive recreation by establishing a sustainable network of fully inclusive facilities or “Empower Hubs” and communities nationally to enhance the overall wellbeing of individuals living with a disability and society as a whole. Empower Golf is NDIS registered nationally and engage fully trained PGA All Abilities coaches to deliver clinics, individual coaching, equipment and on course support.

The programs of both organisations are endorsed by Golf Australia.

What will this mean for the respective organisations?

  • Those golfers that are engaged in the Empower activities that meet the Special Olympics criteria will be eligible to participate in Special Olympics inter club competitions without the necessity of becoming a member of Special Olympics. Should the athlete seek to progress through the Special Olympics competition pathways they will need to register as a member of Special Olympics but continue their coaching and training with Empower Golf.
  • Athletes from existing Special Olympics programs will be invited to participate in events conducted by Empower Golf and can choose to use their NDIS package to fund golf lessons, on course support and equipment. Empower can also provide support for players to access ongoing NDIS funding for golf.
  • Both organisations conduct programs across the country at various locations with a common goal to provide more opportunities for people with a disability to participate in and enjoy the many benefits of the sport of golf.

Both organisations have programs operating at Long Reef Golf Club where Special Olympics Golf Coordinator and 42-year member Rex Langthorne AM is based. Rex says, “This arrangement is a great opportunity to work together and grow the sport of golf for people with a disability. Potentially, our respective events will be larger thus attracting greater public awareness and support. Also, for those athletes that seek to participate in the sport of golf in locations where we do not currently have programs, but they are receiving coaching via Empower Golf will have the opportunity to join our competition pathways. Like us all the challenge of competition is what drives skill improvement.” Empower’s CEO and founder, James Gribble, who is one of Australia’s only quadriplegic golfers commented: “We are excited to partner with Special Olympics to grow our great game and provide greater access, enjoyment and integration for people of all abilities nationally.’