Golf is a sport enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, gender, physical condition or physical challenge. It's a great way to enjoy nature, friendship and exercise while providing an opportunity for personal challenge and growth.
There is no reason why the sport should not be enjoyed by everyone, and that includes people with limited or no vision. While we think of golf as an activity requiring eyesight, that's not necessarily the case. The game is enjoyed by thousands throughout the world who have someone else be their eyes.
The International Blind Golf Association is the governing and sanctioning body of blind golf events world wide. The IBGA is dedicated to promoting the sport, and assisting blind golfers enjoy golf.
Blind Golf is played strictly to the Rules of Golf produced by the Royal and Ancient (R&A). The R&A has published 'A Modification of the Rules of Golf for Golfers with Disabilities' which allows blind golfers to ground their club in a hazard.
Click here to download a summary of the full rules of golf that has been simplified where possible
A player uses a sighted coach or guide to give verbal information about each hole, help with club selection and then place the club head directly behind the ball. From then on it's down to the blind golfers' swing.
The competition is broken into classes determined by the golfer’s level of sight (B1, B2, B3).
The sport can be traced back to 1924. Clint Russell of Duluth, Minnesota lost his sight when a tire exploded in his face. In 1925, he began playing blind golf. Clint slowly reduced his scores and by early 1930 had shot an 84 for 18 holes.
Blind golf has many competitions around the world. The 2004 World Championships was held in Australia. The IBGA was formed in 1998.
The World Blind Golf Championship is one of several tournaments sanctioned by the International Blind Golf Association. Other sanctioned tournaments include National Open events in Japan, Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.
The rules of the game are same as that followed in case of normal golf, the only exception being that blind golfers may use a sighted coach in addition to a caddy. The coach explains the hole's layout and advises which club might work best. The coach also assists the blind golfer to align his hips, shoulders, and swing.
Golfers who cannot see the ball require adaptations to addressing the ball, lining up to aim the shot, striking the ball during the swing, knowing the distance to the green, and knowing where the hole is while putting. Right handers address the ball properly without vision, by taking the proper left hand grip on the club, leaning down and placing the club head squarely behind the ball with the right hand, then standing up keeping the left hand grip steady. The club is then set to be swung properly.
Lining up to hit the ball in the proper direction can be done by having a coach or caddie lay a club on the ground that is aimed at the direction of the desired placement, then having golfers line up their toes along the club shaft.
Predicting distance is done as it is with a beginning golfer who can afford a caddie, which is have a caddie or coach who is familiar with the course predict the distance. The choice of club for proper distance is something that must be established with practice.
Putting can be assisted by using the end of the flagstick to "bang" around in the cup, to give the golfer a sound target. If the ball is extremely close to the hole, the golfer can place the left hand in the hole and tap the ball in with the putter held in the right hand.
Click here for more information concerning the rules of blind golf
Calendar of main competitive events
Click here for an updated list of international events in blind golf
Records / Landmarks
For scores from some past Blind Golf events click here
International Blind Golf Association