07 Jun 2024

G4D inclusion is a major boost for golf

The week of 13th May saw the second Major championship of the year – the PGA Championship – take place in Kentucky, USA. But that same week another Major championship was also taking place, the G4D Open at Woburn Golf Club, England. 

 

Sport class winners (L to R) Chris Willis, John Eakin, Thomas Blizzard. Terry Kirby, Erika Malmberg, Kipp Popert, Daphne van Houten, Richard Kluwen, Aimi Bullock, Ellie Perks, Cameron Pollard, Alessandra Donati, Juan Positgo Arce, Brendan Lawlor, Paul O’Rahilly pictured after the G4D Open at Woburn Golf Club

Major platform

Run in partnership between The R&A and the DP World Tour, the G4D Open is a major championship for golfers of determination and is a cousin of golf’s oldest Major championship – The Open Championship. Each of the 80 qualifying players, who came from 19 countries, had a designated Sport Class which are split into four categories – standing, sitting, intellectual, and visual. This meant that at the end of the three days of competition there were nine individual Sport Class champions, alongside the overall leading male and female winners – Kipp Popert from England and Daphne van Houten from the Netherlands.

 

Paralympics

With the G4D Open taking place in the same week that the men’s Olympic Gold Medallist, Xander Schauffele, became a Major champion, our long-term aim remains to one day enable the G4D Tour players to not only play a Major championship like the G4D Open, but also to compete in the Paralympics. 

 

The DP World Tour has been on a mission to build new opportunities for golfers of determination. This is based on a belief that golf has the potential to be the most inclusive sport in the world. The game has inherent advantages in this respect – the handicap system allows people of all standards to compete on a level playing field; the ball is stationary; and your destiny is entirely in your own control because you are not reliant on someone passing you a ball. 

 

2022

We founded the G4D Tour in 2022 as a way of giving athletes of determination a high-profile platform to showcase their skills by playing on the same course, the same week, as able-bodied professionals on the DP World Tour. Now at nine events, with two in the UAE this year in Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, it was only logical that a major championship would find its way on to the schedule. We promote the Tour heavily across our various media platforms and we have had over 250,000 social media engagements – a sign that golf fans around the world are following these events. 

 

Life changing

I have spent time in my role as Head of Sustainability speaking to golfers of determination and hearing their stories, learning about how they got into the game, and the challenges they face. A common theme I hear is that embracing golf has changed their lives. It has given them a new drive, enabled them to make new friends, and the many physical and mental health benefits are improving their daily quality of life. We want the G4D Open to be a catalyst for encouraging others to get out there and give golf a go.

 

Skill

The technology and skill on display at Woburn was incredible and shows that there are many ways to swing a club and get the ball in the hole. This included adapted buggies to support those with limited or no movement in their legs; prosthetics with special sleeves that allow those with lower arm limb differences to hold the club; and blind golfers whose caddies line them up. I was in awe of how good these players are and the winning score of +1 by Kipp Popert around a tough Duchess Course at Woburn is testament to the quality on display.

 

Proud

I’m proud of the work we are doing in this area and the season ending event on the G4D Tour will once again take place at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai this November. At last season’s tournament we saw the DP World Tour Championship winner Nicolai Højgaard, Race to Dubai rankings in partnership with Rolex winner Rory McIlroy, and the G4D Tour event winner Mike Browne all stood together on the 18th green holding their trophies – it was a powerful symbol that showed just how far we have come in profiling golfers of determination.

 

Maria Grandinetti-Milton
Head of Sustainability, DP World Tour

Related articles

US OPEN: Get Set For A Short Game Battle

This time of year, the Majors come thick and fast. Valhalla...

Scheffler is the man but keep an eye on Brooks

Having just got home from four straight weeks on the road...

Pete Cowen: Golf is at a Major crossroad

I’m in America at the moment, working with my players, but...