LifeLinks – The Arc of Alameda County’s golf program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – isn’t really about teaching golf. It’s about exercise, improving balance and hand/eye coordination, and teaching the values of golf -such as honesty, integrity, perseverance.
It’s also about inclusion. Our golfers spend at least 2 hours a week at a local driving range. To be sure they are in their own group but our golfers are within sight of non-disabled golfers and share in the misery everyone encounters when trying to improve their golf games.
Even with that commonality, however, there was something separating our golfers from the others. Golf shoes. Golfers have golf shoes with (now) plastic spikes on the soles to improve traction and stability. Our folks had sneakers. Thanks to the generosity of golfers (the ones with the shoes) at our Bogey Bash golf event in May, we were able to afford to buy shoes and give them to our golfer-clients.
If you feel like a golfer and look like a golfer, you’ll play like a golfer. That’s what they say, anyway. If they looks on the faces of our folks are any indication, one of them will be competing in the Masters next year.
Here’s the news release:
22 Golfers with Disabilities Attempt 44-Foot Putt
It comes on the heels of a campaign to raise money for golf shoes
The Arc of Alameda County, a leading provider of life skills and vocational training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced today that it will provide 22 of its clients with golf shoes at a ceremony at Monarch Bay Golf Course on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. The clients are part of The Arc’s 5-year old “LifeLinks” golf program.
Ron Luter, President and CEO of The Arc of Alameda County, is proud of the LifeLinks program he created, which teaches balance, focus, and etiquette in addition to golf, but something always bugged him.
“They are practicing at Monarch Bay in San Leandro and Las Positas Golf Course in Livermore, both integrated settings; that’s good,” commented Luter. “Our golfers are getting exercise and learning the values of the game. That’s good. Turns out what was bothering me was they didn’t look like golfers.”
In addition, The Arc’s annual client golf outing had to be postponed four times this year because of rain. “We postponed two of the rounds, not because it was raining at that moment, but because the overnight rain made it too slippery for often-unsteady clients to walk around the golf course in sneakers,” said Richard Fitzmaurice, Director of Public Information at The Arc.
At a recent fundraiser, Luter conducted a separate mini-campaign to raise money to purchase golf shoes.
Golfers will be fitted on June 21, 2017 starting at 10 a.m. on the patio at the Marina Golf Course at Monarch Bay Golf Complex in San Leandro. Volunteer coaches from the LifeLinks program will assist. Then the golfers will use the nearby putting green as a kind of runway to show off their new shoes, line up for photos and attempt a 44-foot putt.
About The Arc of Alameda County
The Arc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency serving some 400 clients at three campuses in Alameda County; San Leandro, Hayward, and Dublin. Clients are people with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down Syndrome. It was founded in the early 1950s when parents rebelled at the advice to send their children to state hospitals and began lobbying for services close to home. The Arc serves mostly adults but has a preschool program for children with developmental delays.