Adaptive Golf Expo

NCH Healthcare System and the Adaptive Golf Foundation of America co-sponsored the second annual Adaptive Golf Expo on Jan. 25 at Arrowhead Golf Club in Naples. The event was well attended and enthusiastically embraced by prior attendees, former patients and community members.

The Adaptive Golf Expo is designed to encourage individuals who have stopped playing golf due to illness, injury, or other physical challenges to return to the game or to learn a new sport. Tailored instruction was given by golf instructors certified by the Adaptive Golf Foundation of America.

“We are not re-inventing the game of golf, but modifying how the game is taught, learned and played, regardless of physical limitation or disability. We help people enjoy the benefits of the game for a lifetime,” said Ken Walters, president and CEO of the Adaptive Golf Foundation of America.

Licensed physical and occupational therapists from NCH’s Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Rehabilitation and the NCH Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers accompanied current and former patients along with members of the community onto the practice greens. Golf instructors from the Foundation provided adaptive golf instruction and guidance.

Walters brought an adaptive golf cart to the event. “This experience has been life changing for people who thought they would never play the sport again or wanted to learn the game,” he said.

Allan Goodfriend, who plays golf at LaPlaya Golf Club in Naples using an adaptive cart, also attended the event. “The Adaptive Golf Expo was a wonderful event,” he said. “I couldn’t stand independently and swing a club without the cart; and now I play three to four times a week with my friends.”

Golf is also a vehicle for rehabilitation. Bernadette Marks battled Synovial Cell Sarcoma, which eventually resulted in the amputation of her right leg in 2011. When her physical therapist asked Bernadette for her recovery goals, she said, “I want to get back to golf and go dancing.” Her determination, positive attitude and commitment to physical and occupational therapy resulted in achieving both goals.

“We are very pleased with the interest and support by the community and hope to continue to cosponsor adaptive sporting events in Collier County,” said Karen M. Judd, OTR, MSHA, NCH Director of Therapy Operations.