The Adaptive Golf Experience originated in the summer of 2014 as a joint effort between Steve Giammona, a Physical Therapist from Beaufort Memorial Rehabilitation Services Department and Andy Hinson, a PGA professional from the Legends Golf Course at Parris Island. Noting that they had a mutual client recovering from a total knee replacement who was receiving both Physical Therapy as well as golf lessons, they realized that golf was an excellent modality to help her increase her balance, strength and endurance so she could return to an active life style.
Following this realization – their next goal became clear. A young lady with a spinal cord injury was interested in trying golf using specialized adaptive equipment called the Paragolfer. At her first lesson with collaboration from a Physical Therapist (Steve Giammona), a PGA professional (Andy Hinson), and a member of the Adaptive Golf Association (Ron West) they realized her success would predict the need for ongoing adaptive golf services within the Beaufort area.
Initially, The Adaptive Golf Experience was under the umbrella of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation. On January 11, 2018 the Adaptive Golf Experience separated and elected an Executive Director and Board of Directors. Adaptive Golf Experience obtained an Employer Identification Number on January 29, 2018, became incorporated in South Carolina on March 2, 2018, and approved as a federal nonprofit 501 (c)(3) on March 23, 2018. The Adaptive Golf Experience was accepted as a charitable organization in South Carolina on May 15, 2018 and ByLaws were drafted and signed on May 10, 2018.
The ADAPTIVE GOLF EXPERIENCE holds free monthly golf clinics and annual Adaptive Skills Challenges that have been attended by over 800 people. The golf clinics target veterans and civilians that have physical disabilities or challenges including spinal cord injuries, strokes, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, Multiple Sclerosis, joint replacements or other conditions that may affect their ability to participate in outdoor activities. The Legends of Parris Island has several modified carts including the Ottobock Paragolfer, the Eagle Stand-up, and the SoloRider and other adaptive equipment such as adapted gloves, clubs, MGD, and Believe It Boards are also utilized. Our participants have been able to overcome their disabilities and return to an active healthy life style as well as provide a support group for sharing information to adapt and overcome physical challenges.
The Adaptive Golf Experience is possible with the support from local businesses, military and civic organizations, and countless volunteer hours from dedicated individuals. Locally, we have incorporated students from the Physical Therapy Assistant program from the Technical College of the Lowcountry as well as local military organizations including DAV, AMVETS, and the VFW. Nationally, we have received training from the Adaptive Golf Association and The PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) instructors. The Adaptive Golf Experience is a member of the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA) and attends meeting with the National Alliance of Accessible Golf (NAAG) at the Adaptive Golf Section of the PGA Show. Together we are raising awareness of people with physical disabilities that want to return to an active life style, play golf, and even compete. Internationally, the (USGA) United States Golf Alliance and the (EGA) European Golf Association have an initiative to start a circuit of golf tournaments and competitions for Adaptive Golfers in the United States and Europe. We would like to continue to support this movement and would like to see Adaptive Golf be a part of the Paralympics one day.