New opportunities in Golf for players with intellectual impairment
In 2019 Virtus: World Intellectual Impairment Sport established a partnership with EDGA, a European-based international organization that promotes golf for players with disabilities through their “WR4GD” and “Access” Pass initiative. Golf is one of the most popular participation sports worldwide, and the aim of this collaboration to increase both the number of players and the competitive opportunities available. While players with physical impairment apply directly to EDGA for a pass, athletes with intellectual impairment apply for Virtus Eligibility through their Virtus Member Country organization — here in the US that’s us! Athletes Without Limits. Athletes can apply directly to EDGA for an Access pass for EDGA-badged events, but require International Level Virtus Eligibility to obtain a World Ranking WR4GD Pass. Here in the US we are working closely with the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Special Olympics National to help guide U.S. players with intellectual impairment through the eligibility pathway and to develop opportunities.
Upcoming EDGA Events:
View the EDGA International Event Calendar
EDGA events may be open to athletes in three Virtus Eligibility Groups depending on event:
II-1 Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower)
II-2 ID w/Additional Impairment/Down Syndrome
II-3-High Functioning Autism (IQ of 76 or higher)
USGA events are open to athletes in Virtus II1 Group for Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower)
(registration closed May 4, 2022)
(Registration opens Feb 27, 2023 – interested athletes can apply to Athletes Without Limits to complete Virtus eligibility described below)
Golf FAQ for players with intellectual impairment:
(See also the official USGA.org event webpage for general FAQ)
- Should I apply for National or International Level Eligibility?
Players seeking EDGA’s WR4GD Pass (required for the USGA 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open Championship) should complete our Eligibility application for Virtus International Level, so they can be added to the Virtus Master List and then register for a WR4GD Pass.
- Which Virtus Eligibility Groups can apply for a Wr4GD Pass in Golf?
You’ll notice three eligibility groups on the Virtus Eligibility application (II-1 Intellectual Disability, II-2 Additional Impairment/Down Syndrome and II-3-High Functioning Autism w/IQ of 76 or higher). Athletes in all three groups may be eligible for EDGA badged events and can apply for a WR4GD Pass. However, some events (like the 2022 USGA Adaptive Open Championships) follow the Paralympic model and are only open to athletes who meet the Virtus II1 Intellectual Disability criteria. (IQ 75 or lower). We encourage athletes in all three groups to apply to in order to connect to emerging opportunities.
- Are athletes with High Functioning Autism eligible for the WR4GD Player Pass?
Athletes in the Virtus II3 competition group for athletes with High Functioning Autism (IQ of 76 or higher) are eligible for a WR4GD Pass for EDGA badged event that offer II-3 competition. However, some events (like the 2022 USGA Adaptive Open Championships) follow the Paralympic model and are only open to athletes who meet the Virtus II1 Intellectual Disability criteria (IQ 75 or lower). We encourage athletes in all three groups to apply to in order to connect to emerging opportunities.
- Which Virtus eligibility group should players with Down Syndrome apply for?
We recommend athletes with Down Syndrome apply for dual eligibility in the Virtus II1 and Virtus II2 groups and provide all required evidence for both in order to be eligible for more events. Some EDGA badged events may offer separate II2 competition, however, some events (like the 2022 USGA Adaptive Open Championships) follow the Paralympic model and are only open to athletes who meet the IQ and Adaptive Behavior Criteria for Virtus II1-Intellectual Disability.
- Do players with Down Syndrome need AAI Clearance?
To apply for Virtus eligibility players with Down Syndrome must have their doctor sign and complete the Virtus AAI Clearance form (application page 3) and provide a copy of their scan.
We’d love to hear from you!
Click below to contact Athletes Without Limits, USA Member of Virtus