Coaches Corner

Revised 05/03/2016

Although MABGA encourages all blind golfers to find their own coaches, we do have a coaches committee which will assist the blind golfer to find a coach for an outing or even permanently when possible. You can email the Coaches coordinator at coachescorner@mabga.org, or call at the number listed below:

Jerry Yablin
215 922 1404

Below is a brief definition of a coach and their responsibilities on the course.  Note, the definition below is for competitive rounds and most of the golf played in a MABGA event is considered casual and therefore we do not strictly adhere to the USGA definition of coach.

Coaches General responsibilities:

A coach is an individual who is able to provide the blind or visually impaired golfers with transportation to and from the course along with assisting the golfer in alignment for all shots from the tee box to holing the ball into the cup.

Depending on the sight level of the golfer, the coach’s duties may be different   for a visually impaired person versus a blind golfer.  Some visually impaired golfers may be self-sufficient walking from the cart to the ball and back to the cart again.  The coach should always be near their golfer, as even the most sighted visually impaired golfers can miss unexpected changes in the terrain or unforeseen obstacles.

Other golfers are completely blind and need assistance walking to and from the golf cart, and around the clubhouse.  Even among the completely blind golfers, there could be differences   in the amount of assistance required and that will come with experience playing rounds of golf with that individual.

The most common requirements are for the coach to give distance, direction and help in alignment to the target.  Sometimes describing the layout of the terrain to give the golfer a better mental image of the shot required to advance the ball.  Some golfers want to know if there is a hazard in play while other golfers prefer not to know and only find this information a distraction.

USGA Rules for Golfers with Disabilities

BLIND GOLFERS

  • Definition of “Coach” – The status of the coach and the duties which he may perform should be defined clearly. Without such clarification, it would be difficult, for example, to determine how a blind golfer must proceed if his ball were to strike his or another player’s coach after a stroke. Therefore, the following definition is suggested:

Coach

  • A “coach” is one who assists a blind golfer in addressing the ball and with alignment prior to the stroke. A coach has the same status under the Rules as a caddie. NOTE: A player may ask for and receive advice from his coach.
  • Rule 6-4 (Caddie) – There is nothing in the Rules which would prohibit the coach of a blind golfer from functioning as his caddie. For a variety of reasons, however, a coach may not be able to perform the duties of a caddie. Therefore, there should not be a prohibition against a blind golfer having both a coach and a caddie. In such circumstances, however, the coach may not carry or handle the player’s clubs except in helping the player take his stance or align himself prior to making the stroke, or in assisting him as permitted by analogy to Decision 6-4/4.5. Otherwise, the player would be subject to disqualification for having more than one caddie.
  • Rule 8-1 (Advice) – In view of the Definition of “Coach,” it is suggested that Rule 8-1 be modified as follows:
  • 8-1. Advice – A player shall not give advice to anyone in the competition except his partner. A player may ask for advice from only his partner, either of their caddies or, if applicable, their coaches.
  • Rule 13-4b (Grounding Club in Hazard) – The following additional Exception under Rule 13-4 is suggested:
    • Exceptions – Provided nothing is done which constitutes testing the condition of the hazard or improves the lie of the ball, there is no penalty if a blind golfer grounds his club in a hazard preparatory to making a stroke. However, the player is deemed to have addressed the ball when he has taken his stance.
  • Rule 16-1f (Position of Caddie or Partner) – Due to the complexities involved in aligning a blind golfer on the putting green, it may be difficult or unreasonable to expect the blind golfer and his coach to comply with Rule 16-1f. Therefore, there should be no penalty if a player’s coach positions himself on or close to an extension of the line of putt behind the ball during a stroke played from the putting green provided the coach does not assist the player in any other manner during the stroke. However, given the intent of Rule 16-lf, it may be appropriate to prohibit a coach who is simultaneously functioning as a double caddie from remaining in a position which contravenes this Rule.
  • For more information regarding these rules, contact the USGA:

    P.O. Box 708
    Far Hills, NJ  07931-0708
    Phone: 908 234 2300
    fax: 908 234 986