The 2020 New Zealand All Abilities Open will be a 54-hole stroke play event, with 18 holes to be played at Jack’s Point and The Hills on the second and third days of the 2020 New Zealand Open. After 36 holes, a cut will be made and the leading six players will join the New Zealand Open field on Sunday, being the first players to tee off in the final round at Millbrook Resort.
To showcase the inclusive nature of golf, the New Zealand All Abilities Open will be played from the same tees, under the same conditions, and at the same time as the New Zealand Open. The winner of the New Zealand All Abilities Open will be handed the trophy at the same presentation for the 101st New Zealand Open Championship.
The field will be made up of players with a range of disabilities and impairments, including physical, intellectual and visual and will involve the top twenty-four players from New Zealand based on the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) and the top four Australians on the WR4GD, plus four invitations.
The R&A and the United States Golf Association announced the launch of The World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) in 2019 with events being played in more than 20 countries to grow awareness and inclusivity globally.
New Zealand’s first world ranking event was held earlier this year at Maraenui Golf Club in Napier, won by Guy Harrison. The 18-year old Napier Boys’ High School student and prefect is one of the first players to qualify for the event. Guy had a seizure when he was just two years old causing brain damage and cerebral palsy like symptoms, unable to use his hands or not able to walk. After being advised by doctors to be as active as possible, golf came to mind and started with walking around on the local nine-hole golf course with his father. When asked about his upcoming opportunity Guy said, “I just can’t believe it, just to go and rub shoulders with all those famous golfers like Ryan Fox would be such an awesome opportunity”.
“New Zealand Golf adopted an Inclusion Charter in 2018, a commitment to an ongoing journey to develop and foster an inclusive and diverse sport which reflects our communities and our changing society,” said Dean Murphy, Chief Executive.
No Exceptions, a fund administered by Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and Sport New Zealand is supporting New Zealand Golf to deliver a new project with a select number of venues across New Zealand for young people with a disability to start their journey in golf to learn new skills, have fun, make new friends and to just have a go.
“Further, to provide educational opportunities for coaches and club administrators to create an inclusive and accessible environment and to provide modified equipment to make it easier young people with a disability to learn and play golf,” said Murphy.
The launch of New Zealand All Abilities Open aims to showcase the uniqueness of golf as a game that can be played by anyone and to inspire people to play golf in a way that is meaningful to them.
To watch Guy Harrison’s interview with NewsHub, please click here.
To watch and hear from young people and parents getting involved our LOVE Golf All Abilities programmes across the country, please click here.