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Independence to host 2019 U.S. Disabled Open Golf Championship

October 4, 2018

U.S. Disabled Golf Association website [icon name="external-link" class="" unprefixed_class=""]

Jason Faircloth, a longtime golfer with Cerebral Palsy, was invited to play in the Disabled British Open in 2011. When he arrived in the U.K., he was astonished to find that the event—which is supported by the R&A—was run in such a professional manner.

When he returned to the U.S., he wondered, “Why not have something like that here?”

So the idea for the U.S. Disabled Open Golf Championship was born. After tireless work from Faircloth and the U.S. Disabled Golf Association, which he founded, that idea became reality in 2018 when the first U.S. Disabled Open was held in Orlando, Fla.

On Thursday, Faircloth announced the site for the 2019 championship—VSGA member Independence Golf Club in Midlothian. The championship will be held May 14-16 and is open to competitors who have physical and intellectual impairments.

“Our goal is to give our golfers the experience of playing in a big-time event,” Faircloth said at a press conference at Independence on Thursday. “I think we’ve already received more support than we had all of last year.”

The inclusive event is open to players with physical and intellectual impairments and golf handicap indexes not exceeding 30. The event will be flighted into three divisions, and awards will be given in each of the divisions (net and gross). Golfers with various impairments such as amputations, blindness, Cerebral Palsy, MS and more will compete.

The USDGA is partnering with Richmond Region Tourism, 288 Sports and Powhatan County Economic Development in holding the event.

The 2018 championship in Orlando featured 48 golfers, and Faircloth said he is anticipating an increase in participation next May. One of the most pressing immediate needs is finding and identifying volunteers for the event. Brian Edmonds, the owner of 288 Sports, said the goal is to have one volunteer per player. Volunteer responsibilities include ball spotting, walking scoring and video production.

“We’re excited to welcome incredible golfers of all abilities,” Independence president Giff Breed said. “At Independence, we strive to be so much more than a golf club, and we look forward to showcasing the friendly grounds of the club to all of the athletes, spectators and volunteers.”

The tournament will be free and open to the public. For more information and for ways to volunteer and support the event, visit the U.S. Disabled Golf Association website [icon name="external-link" class="" unprefixed_class=""].