If you are blind and live near the city of Wichita in Kansas, you could be missing out on one of the best times of your life if you aren’t getting involved with the Envision Golf Clinic. It can be challenging to stay active when you are dealing with certain trials every day relating to blindness, but the Envision Golf Clinic makes the process as smooth as possible, and they make sure you have a great time.
We spoke with Bonnie and Hannah Christenson who both work at the Envision Golf Clinic, which is located at MacDonald Golf Course in Wichita, Kansas. The Envision Golf Clinic is a great program that does everything for you, except the golfing part. With ease you can find your way into their program and work within an incredible community that only knows how to have a good time.
How Does Blind Golf Work?
“Golfing is all about muscle memory, Understanding the right positions that you need to take, your swing, and how you are facing the ball, the direction you want to go. It’s all about getting that positioning right.”Hannah Christenson
When it comes to golf, being able to see isn’t necessary when you have a coach or aid by your side. The Envision Golf Clinic has volunteers who pair with the athletes, helping the athlete get the ball where it needs to go.
“As a sighted person, you would make adjustments. Someone who cannot see will have a mentor who helps them by positioning them or giving them directional cues.”
Because the athletes are blind, the Envision Golf Clinic has volunteer golfers to help the athletes out on the green. When they get these volunteers, they provide training for these mentors to know the best way to assist their blind athlete with understanding the game of golf and the skills needed to play.
Most of the volunteers that the Envision Golf Clinic gets are from word of mouth. “Our program has grown slowly,” Bonnie explains. “But once a person comes and volunteers, they generally want to stay with us. They’ll tell their friends at work, or they’ll tell their friends at church or their golf buddies, and so a lot of it is word of mouth.”
How To Start Blind Golf
When a blind athlete approaches the Envision Golf Clinic wanting to become a golfer, they are first asked what challenges they face when it comes to their vision. The blind athlete is then paired with a sighted mentor and gets their very own set of clubs.
Blind golfers may need to make some adjustments to their golf clubs that people who are fully sighted don’t need to worry about. At the Envision Golf Clinic, they modify wraps based on the golfer’s needs like certain colored hand wraps so the golfers can see the ends of the clubs more easily. The Envision Clinic lets the blind athletes keep these golf clubs for as long as they want to enjoy the sport of golf.
“In our 8-9 years of playing, I think we have had less than 5 sets returned,” Bonnie says when explaining how most people haven’t returned their clubs because they have fallen in love with the sport. The Envision Golf Clinic is passionate about bringing people to the game of golf, which is why they take it even a step further to make sure blind athletes have ever opportunity to golf.
Benefits of the Envision Golf Club
If you fall in love with golf and don’t only want to play during the hours of camp, the Envision Golf Clinic will pay for your green fees and cart fees on Mondays when the clinic isn’t meeting. If you are wanting to go on the green to get some extra practice in, they will even send you their coach!
Len Hudson has been arduously researching blind golfing to make sure that everyone in the clinic gets the attention they need to succeed in the game of golf. If any athletes are wanting some one on one time with him to get a competitive edge, the Envision Golf Clinic is happy to lend him on those Mondays.
If you have difficulty with transportation, have no fear! The Envision Golf Clinic will also help those who need transportation to and from the program.
It’s Joining a Community
When you join the Envision Golf Clinic, you aren’t just playing golf, you’re having fun with people who are just like you. The rush and excitement of physical activity along with the comradery, is unparallel. One of Hannah’s favorite parts is the end of the night, but it isn’t because the clinic is over.
“My favorite part of the clinic is [when] we are supposed to finish on the course at a certain time at night. I enjoy doing the last rounds to get people off the course because they don’t want to stop. And I think for many people in the blind community, that sedentary lifestyle that is a real hardship, they don’t realize that they can do some physical activity. And to see them so engaged in it and I have to be like, ‘come on guys, we are going to get kicked off the course now…’ I think that’s my favorite part because they are just having a great time.”
How to Sign Up for Blind Golf
If this sounds like the perfect sport for you, whether you are a child or maybe a bit on the older side, the Envision Golf Clinic has clubs and a set of eyes waiting for you. They have at least 5 athletes that are golfing at a competitive level with sighted golfers, could you be the next one?
If you want to sign up for the Envision Golf Clinic, just go to their website here.
Envision Golf Clinic has clubs for children and the activities are stimulating and fun enough for any age to enjoy.
How to Volunteer to Help Blind Golfers
If you are a sighted golfer in the Wichita area, this may be your calling! When we asked what the biggest requirement was for volunteer golfers, Bonnie says it’s all about wanting to help people.
“[We are looking for] People who love to help people, they love to help someone do something that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.” Bonnie says. This is the first time that many people have been involved in the blind community. “They don’t get it, until they get it,” Bonnie explains, discussing the rush of being on the green.If you have a passion for people and love to play golf, you can also contact them on their website here to change lives and have a blast doing it! If you can’t donate your time, you are always welcome to donate fund toward the clinic to help them continue to help blind athletes succeed.