New Opportunities in Golf:
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.
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 some EDGA-badged events, but International Level Virtus Eligibility is required 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.
EDGA International 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)
The USGA events below are open to athletes in Virtus II1 Group for Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower), including players with Autism, Down syndrome or other intellectual impairments who have an IQ of 75 or lower and significant limitations in Adaptive Behavior:
(registration closed May 4, 2022)
(Registration opens Feb 27, 2023 – interested athletes can apply to Athletes Without Limits to complete Virtus eligibility described below)
Steps to Enter U.S. Adaptive Open as Player with Intellectual Impairment:
- APPLY FOR VIRTUS ELIGIBILITY (Through Athletes Without Limits): Note: We are unable to guarantee Virtus can confirm applications in time for the event for applications received after March 1, 2023.
To be eligible to compete in the U.S. Adaptive Open Championships, athletes must meet the Virtus-II1 criteria for Intellectual Disability (IQ 75 or lower, Significant Limitations in Adaptive Behavior, and onset by Age 18) and provide the documentation listed below when they submit their Virtus International Level Eligibility Application to Athletes Without Limits:
a. Full scale IQ score of 75 or lower on a WAIS, WISC or Stanford Binet given within the last 5 years (provide psychologists report and summary of scores).
b. At least one domain score of 70 or lower (or overall score of 70 or lower) on a Vineland, ABAS, DABS or AAMR Adaptive Behavior Assessment given within the last 5 years (provide psychologists report and a summary of scores)
c. Provide report that references IQ score or other evidence that disability was present before age 18
d. Provide Headshot
e. Provide copy of Passport or State ID as proof of identity.
f. There is a one-time application fee of $150. (Special Olympic athletes may be able to ask SO to cover this fee).
Athletes Without Limits will work with you to review your application and determine if any additional information is needed. Once complete, we will endorse the application at the National Level (post to our National Golf Masterlist) and will then submit your application to Virtus International for International review and confirmation to the Virtus International Masterlist.
AWL VIRTUS ELIGIBILITY APPLICATION
- REGISTER FOR THE EVENT:
Registration will open late February (in 2022 it remained open through May – the closing date for 2023 has not yet been announced). In 2022 USGA guidance was that players can simultaneously register for the event on the USGA event page while you work on your Virtus Eligibility. The event website states that date of entry is not the primary factor in determining the final field – entries received up until May 4th will be considered. Athletes Without Limits will keep the USGA posted on interested athletes and their progress through Virtus Eligibility. If an athlete is deemed not eligible for the event or is not selected for the event the USGA event registration fee will be fully refunded.
USGA EVENT PAGE
- OBTAIN HANDICAP INDEX:
Players must have have a World Handicap System (WHS) Handicap Index® of 36.4 or less to enter. While you work on your Eligibility application above, you can simultaneously be working on the steps to obtain a Handicap Index listed on the USGA event page:
USGA HANDICAP INDEX
- APPLY FOR EDGA WR4GD PASS:
Once the Virtus Eligibility Committee confirms your International eligibility athletes will be posted to the Virtus International Master Listand assigned a unique Virtus Athlete Number (we will email you) that can be used to register with EDGA for a WR4GD pass (this is referred to as “Virtus Certificate” on the EDGA Registration Website. (Athletes who do not have full Virtus eligibility may be able to apply for an EDGA Access pass for some events):
- NEW REQUIREMENT IN 2023:
By the close of entries, players must have posted the equivalent of at least eight new 18-hole scores since May 4, 2022 (this part does not apply to exempt players.
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