Golf Ireland and ISPS Handa today announced a new partnership to grow participation in Ireland for golfers with a disability. This innovative new agreement will see ISPS Handa become the title sponsor of the ISPS Handa Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability.
The 2024 event will take place at Roganstown Golf Club, County Dublin and will see golfers with a range of disabilities competing against players from Ireland and overseas.
In addition ISPS Handa will become the lead partner of Golf Ireland’s Golf4All programmes. Golf4ALL encompasses a range of initiatives and programmes to encourage people with disabilities to try golf and develop their skills.
At the launch event Mark Kennelly, CEO of Golf Ireland commented: “We are very excited to announce this partnership with ISPS Handa. ISPS Handa are committed supporters of golf globally in particular supporting golfers with a disability. In our strategic plan, Golf Ireland committed to grow participation levels for golfers with a disability and this support from ISPS Handa will help us encourage more people with disabilities to try golf.
Golf Ireland’s Golf4All programmes showcase the benefits of golf for everyone and will broaden participation among golfers with disabilities. Golf Ireland is also delighted to have ISPS Handa as principal sponsor of our High Performance team for golfers with a disability.
"This will enable us to grow the Golf Ireland team and the team will proudly wear the ISPS Handa logo on their uniforms when representing Ireland.”
The Golf Ireland Golfers with a Disability team are reigning European Champions having secured the title at Koksijde Golf ter Hille last year. The team of Brendan Lawlor, Aidan Grenham, Alan Gaynor and Conor Stone were resounding winners in Belgium.
This year, Lawlor, who is also an ISPS Handa ambassador, backed that up when he won the inaugural G4D Open at Woburn in England. The Louth man is currently second in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability and was present at today’s launch.
Fellow ISPS Handa ambassadors, including former New Zealand All Black and two-time Rugby World Cup winner Dan Carter, and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny were also present at the launch event in Dublin.
Former Taoiseach and ISPS Handa Patron Enda Kenny commented: “ISPS Handa are excited to partner with Golf Ireland to grow participation and events for golfers with disability in Ireland. ISPS Handa works with golf organisations all over the world to encourage people with disabilities to enjoy golf.
"We look forward to working with Golf Ireland’s team on innovative new programmes to develop interest among people with disabilities. In addition the ISPS Handa Irish Open for Golfers with a Disability represents a great opportunity to showcase these talented golfers and what they can achieve.
“This outcome is unique worldwide as it encompasses the complete sector of disability throughout the entire island of Ireland, North and South. It is therefore a model that can be replicated elsewhere. I wish the Venture every possible success and congratulate those who made it happen.”
The International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS Handa) was founded by Dr Haruhisa Handa, a Japanese philanthropist. He has founded numerous charitable organisations both in Japan and internationally and believes sport has the power to inspire, transform, and unite people and communities across social, racial and socio-economic barriers. Dr Handa has been passionately supporting blind golf in this aim for more than 30 years.
ISPS Handa’s support for golf stems from a firm belief in the “power of sport”. Sport has a unique ability to create hope, to break down educational and cultural barriers and to inspire people. Over recent years ISPS Handa has supported many global events across blind and disabled, able bodied and other charity and foundation events.