The One-Handed Lady Golfer Empowers Community through Golf
Meet Gianna Rojas of Oak Ridge, New Jersey, known globally as the "One Handed Lady Golfer." Yes, you read that right, Gianna was born with no fingers on her left hand, although you would never know it after 30 seconds of meeting her. But there is much more than meets the eye.
Ten years ago, Gianna was finding it difficult to meet her own needs when seeking information about adaptive golf. There was no one readily available that had taught someone with no fingers to swing much less play the game, so she decided to do something about it. Gianna turned her birth defect into a powerful tool to inspire others to play a game she truly loves.
Adaptive Golf Therapy Gets People with Disabilities on the Green
In 2017, Gianna founded ADAPTIVE GOLFERS SM. Adaptive Golfers' mission is to help empower individuals with different abilities to take equity in their health and improve the quality of life, mind, body and soul through adaptive golf. They provide adaptive golf resources, programs, clinics, training and equipment to individuals with all different abilities as a form of therapeutic activity. Adaptive Golf Therapy!
There are 57 million individuals with disabilities as of the last US Census in 2010. Of those, a study done by the Indiana and Clemson Universities and the National Council on Accessibility found that 35% of those would like to learn to or get back to golf. So you see, golf is much more than just a game as you may have come to think of it. Golf provides empowerment, independence, camaraderie and, in some cases, has even saved lives. Adaptive Golfers provides programs that use golf as a therapeutic activity, a leisure game, or a competitive pathway.
"The only limitation is what you tell yourself. We are turning the question 'Can I?' into 'How CAN I?' When you ask yourself 'How?', you have already decided that you are going to do it, you just need guidance with the 'how' part. Golf is just the conduit," says Gianna.
Golf lends itself so well as therapy because of it is physical and cognitive benefits. Golf is an individual activity meaning it is just between you, the ball and the hole, and neither the ball or the hole cares if you roll it with your nose or how many swings it takes to get there. "We are using golf help individuals uncover the best of their own ability and potential and improve the quality of life, shared Gianna. "Golf can help bring a sense of dignity, self-confidence, camaraderie and inclusion."
For more tune in to the Abilities Virtual Experience where you can join Gianna as she shows us the ways golf can be adapted to meet anyone's ability and tells us about the many benefits golfing has to offer. The Abilities Virtual Experience is free and available online until May 2, all you have to do is register here.
Depending on COVID, Adaptive Golfers will resume the monthly community clinics this summer. A collaborative effort of the PGA TOUR Superstores, the clinics take place from 6:30 – 8:30 pm on the last Wednesdays and Thursdays of the month in Paramus and East Hanover, respectively. All individuals and organizations from the community and surrounding area are invited to participate in our clinics. A series of clinics are also available around the country. Keep watching AdaptiveGolfers.org for more details.
In addition, this summer will bring the new Adaptive Golfers Player Development Accreditation Series. Our workshops are attended by PGA and LPGA teaching professionals, golf coaches and instructors, rehabilitative and therapeutic specialists and coordinators, support staff, family and friends. This educational series will help you begin your own programs for your community's juniors, adults and veterans with physical/mobility issues, and anyone with sensory, health, age and/or cognitive challenges, so they too can learn to play the game.
Pre-Register for Abilities Expo Today...It's Free!