Americans with Disabilities Act

GCSAA recognizes and supports the standards set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, and similar state laws, which are designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. As golf course management professionals, the members of GCSAA will work to make golf accessible to all persons by promoting policies and practices that consider the needs and safety of all golfers, promote the growth and vitality of the game and maintain the agronomic integrity of the golf course. Every golf facility in the U.S. has a stake in growing the game of golf. The growth of the game is dependent upon new golfers of all abilities coming into the game. The purchase of single rider golf cars should be the decision of each individual golf facility weighing multiple factors including customer service considerations, safety of the devices, market demand and economic impact to the facility.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires reasonable modifications to golf course policies, practices or procedures to serve people with disabilities (as defined by the law) on an equal basis with the rest of the general public. A reasonable modification is one that does not present an undue burden to the golf course or alter the fundamental nature of the game. GCSAA has been active in working with golfers, lawmakers and regulators to address ADA issues since the law’s inception. GCSAA and its members have taken a proactive stance on golf course accessibility issues through the use of best practices to accommodate golfers with disabilities; through modification of policies; and through education and outreach to golf course owners and operators. On Sept. 15, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released final rules to update its ADA regulations and implement new accessibility standards for golf courses and other recreational facilities. The rules impact municipal and commercial entities and codify the architectural guidelines for barrier removal. The rules impact new golf course development and renovations to existing facilities. Alterations to existing golf courses include the redesign of teeing grounds and greens. Mowing and other general maintenance activities are not considered an alteration. After March 15, 2012, all new golf facilities must be accessible in accordance with the golf course accessibility guidelines and existing courses must remove barriers when it is “readily achievable” over time (easy to accomplish without much difficulty or expense). The golf course accessibility standards cover: accessible routes and/or alternative golf car passages; teeing grounds; putting greens; weather shelters; and driving ranges. Further, on July 26, 2010, DOJ issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) specific to accessible golf cars. DOJ is considering issuing regulations requiring golf courses that provide golf cars, when replacing or acquiring additional standard golf cars, to provide accessible golf cars for use by individuals with disabilities.

GCSAA is a founding member of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf (Alliance). The mission of the Alliance is to increase participation of people with disabilities in the game of golf. GCSAA serves on the Alliance board of directors.

The government relations session “ADA Accessibility Guidelines and NPDES Pesticide General Permits: Prepare Your Course for Compliance” was held at the 2011 GCSAA Education Conference.

In January 2011, GCSAA submitted comments to the DOJ on the ANPRM related to “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by State and Local Governments and Places of Public Accommodation; Equipment and Furniture”. GCSAA also provided public testimony in January 2011 on the ANPRM at a DOJ public listening session in San Francisco.

In September 2011, GCSAA offered a free webcast to its members on the new ADA accessibility guidelines for golf courses. The featured speaker was Peggy Greenwell, U.S. Access Board Accessibility Specialist.

In 2012, the Alliance published an updated Toolkit for Golf Course Owners and Operators to provide guidance to golf course owners and operators seeking ways to make their golf course more accessible to golfers with disabilities.

In 2013, the Alliance hosted the “Making Your Course Accessible to Individuals with Disabilities” presentation at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego as well as Alliance Awareness Week during June 24-28.

In 2014 The Alliance distributed an Accessible Golf Assessment to all U.S. golf facilities to help the golf industry undertand programming and accessibility at facilities across the country.

In 2014, GCSAA joined the Executive Committee on the Alliance Board of Directors.

In 2014, the Alliance distributed an Accessible Golf Assessment to all U.S. golf facilities to help the golf industry understand programming and accessibility at facilities across the country.

In 2014, the Alliance hosted the "Growing the Game at Your Facility Through Accessible & 'Inclusive' Golf Programs" session at the Golf Industry Show.

In 2015, GCSAA hosted the "Top 10 Myths about the ADA and Golf Courses" government relations program at the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio.

In 2015, the Alliance announced the launch of a search engine to assist individuals with disabilities in locating accessible golf facilities within their local area.

In 2016, the Alliance exhibited for the first time ever at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego and National Golf Day event in Washington, D.C.