The G4D Open

The G4D Open to thrill and inspire – on and off the course

The R&A
10 May 24
4 mins

Eighty leading golfers with a disability from 19 countries will enjoy the buzz of competition ‘inside the ropes’ at The G4D Open at Woburn next week (15-17 May). 

But elsewhere at this famous venue, quietly – and not so quietly – there will be much activity and discussion in the week around radically enhancing the game’s offer for people with a disability so they too can enjoy all of golf’s health and social benefits.  With the backing of The Duke of Bedford, President of Woburn Golf Club, Championship organisers – The R&A partnered by The DP World Tour and supported by EDGA – the second staging of The G4D Open will bring together some of golf’s most influential figures, including leading administrators from national federations, business innovators and sports industry specialists.  On learning about the opportunities in G4D, their role will be to discuss how to build a better game for golfers with a disability and expand the ‘competitive pathway’, which includes inspiring first-touch ‘samplers’, more regular ‘participants’ and also the ‘competitors' who may dream of playing in The G4D Open themselves, a Championship set to continue to grow in stature.   EDGA is the acknowledged expert body for G4D. Its President, Dr Tony Bennett, said, “With approximately 16 per cent of the world’s population having a disability, the industry’s full attention around this year’s G4D Open can make it a significant week for those in the vanguard of making golf more open to everyone, and for those who could, and should, benefit from positive change.  “The early adopters of G4D have shown that welcoming Golfers with Disability is not only the right thing to do, but also helps shift the preconceived public perception that golf is only available to some. The second movers will help G4D shift gears and embrace people of all abilities and backgrounds.”  


Delegates from countries including Egypt, Norway, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine and South Africa will be sharing their expertise in The G4D Open workshops. On Wednesday 15 May, golf’s national federations will be encouraged to chart the future by building capacity in G4D: themes including the improvement of venues, communications, competitions, coaching and workforces.  Out on the course – the Championship offers free spectator entry and car parking – those in an attendance will see golfers who have physical, neurological, sensory and intellectual impairments. They will be able to learn how a blind golfer plays the game, or how golfers hit with one arm, swing with an above-knee amputation, or play from a powered chair. Media coverage of the event will give thousands of potential new samplers a taste of G4D, while ‘outside the ropes’ at Woburn, samplers of all ages will enjoy access-all-areas opportunities to try golf there and then. 
Two groups of youngsters are invited to The G4D Open supported by the LimbBo Foundation and by prosthetic engineering specialists Koalaa and will receive coaching at the venue. 


The ‘Visual Putting Challenge’ near the clubhouse is to be both an awareness exercise for all present and be used in organised training for new Guides for players with visual impairment. Everyone having a go will gain an insight into what golfers who are visually impaired must contend with on every green. Helped by an attending ‘Guide’, ‘simulation glasses’ will make the putting process gradually more difficult, and samplers will rely on their ‘Guide’ and their own sense of feel and balance to succeed.  In the period before The G4D Open, EDGA’s Head of Instruction and Education, Mark Taylor, gave training to Woburn’s PGA Professional coaching team in how to work successfully with golfers with a disability and help them reach their desired aims. EDGA, with the support of The R&A is sharing its coach education programme with national federations, PGAs, golf facilities and education organisations all over the world. One coaching and playing element that is highly beneficial for new samplers and those with challenging disabilities is called ‘D3’. At Woburn, Taylor and EDGA eligibility assessor Lee-Ann Clarke (Golf Ireland) will welcome a group of mental health patients from the East London NHS Foundation Trust, offering The R&A approved D3 first-touch golf format which uses safe, light, colourful, adapted Golfway chippers and putters with soft balls. These can be used in non-golf venues, such as hospitals and schools.   Steve Muggridge, Health Development Coordinator for the Trust, said, “We have been using the kit on our mental health in-patient ward to promote physical activity and movement. This has offered a fantastic lift to many of our patients and shows how golf can help them in exercise and wellbeing.”


Younger spectators should certainly value the experience, with planned introductions to G4D Open players.  Two groups of youngsters with limb difference are visiting The G4D Open. Invited children supported by the LimbBo Foundation and by prosthetic engineering specialists Koalaa will receive first coaching at the venue. Koalaa, supported by EDGA, is testing prosthetic technology at Woburn that can have a lasting impact for a great many youngsters. Some of the children will hit their very first golf shots and receive their first tips on how to swing the club from an expert PGA coach.    LimbBo’s Katie Dengel said, “Our children are really excited about the visit: giving them the opportunity to play golf and meet other children and adults with a limb difference, while learning a new skill which will do wonders for their self-esteem.”

Kevin Barker, Director – Golf Development GB&I and Africa for The R&A

“We know that golf can be the most inclusive of sports and can be enjoyed by people irrespective of age, background, gender, ethnicity, ability, and whether or not they have a disability."


With competitors at Woburn playing across all sport classes , EDGA’s leading research in this field alongside The R&A will be further boosted by the capturing of performance data on the practice days to gain further understanding of how golfers with a disability maximise their performance. Meanwhile, all 80 players have been offered access to the European Tour Group Performance Truck, where club fitting experts can help ensure their golf equipment will give them the best chance on the course.  Kevin Barker, Director – Golf Development GB&I and Africa for The R&A, said, “We look forward to another successful week at Woburn and thank everyone involved for their support, especially EDGA, our hosts Woburn Golf Club and our partners at the DP World Tour. “We know that golf can be the most inclusive of sports and can be enjoyed by people irrespective of age, background, gender, ethnicity, ability, and whether or not they have a disability. The G4D Open will again shine a light on golf for the disabled and encourage many others into the sport.” EDGA’s Dr Tony Bennett added, “The activities will all add to a landmark championship and we are indebted to the continued support of The R&A and the European Tour Group. These organisations have been instrumental in helping EDGA raise awareness, confirm eligibility, organise championships, facilitate golf development, conduct research and development, and train coaches and educators worldwide.” If The G4D Open can showcase just what can be achieved on the fairways and greens, and those experts present from the golf industry can improve best practice and thinking at the same time, golf’s pathway to being the most inclusive of sports will be all the smoother.  If you or someone you know want to learn more about the pathway into G4D, please visit