Mission

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The United States Deaf Golf Association promotes active participation of golf by individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, and ensures protection of the game's integrity and valued traditions through:

  • Sponsorship of national championship caliber tournaments among deaf and hard-of-hearing men, women, seniors and youth in the United States.​​

  • Provision of outreach and organizational support to generate opportunities and awareness in the general mainstream to protect the best interests of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons to fully engage in the game of golf.

  • Education on the rules and etiquette of golf, ensuring support for development of a lifelong recreational activity, and emphasizing good sportsmanship/self-discipline for an enjoyable experience by all in any given setting.

  • Development of deaf and hard-of-hearing youth under the age of 18 via golf camps and structured golf clinics/classes that are conducted by qualified instructors who are competent in American Sign Language and other communication modalities.

  • Management of Advocacy/Public Relations program to minimize barriers, financial or otherwise, that might prohibit/discourage deaf and hard-of-hearing participation in the game of golf, thereby ensuring inclusion of this special population in the official golfing community in the United States and the rest of the world.

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USDGA Board 2021-2023
Mike Finneran
Mike Finneran

President California

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Jerry Mabashov
Jerry Mabashov

Vice-President Maryland

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Brandon Babineaux
Brandon Babineaux

Secretary Texas

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Susan Zupnik
Susan Zupnik

Treasurer Florida

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Tim Dapp
Tim Dapp

Team Director Florida

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Bill Roberts
Bill Roberts

Board Member Missouri

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Paul Rutowski
Paul Rutowski

Board Member Texas

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Pono Tokioka
Pono Tokioka

Board Member Hawaii

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Keith Worek
Keith Worek

Board Member New York

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UNITED STATES DEAF GOLF ASSOCIATION


BYLAWS

Article 1

Title

The name of the Association shall be “United States Deaf Golf Association” (USDGA), hereinafter referred to as USDGA or the Association; and it shall operate pursuant to the laws of the State of Maryland and the United States of America. The USDGA is very much committed to the operations and ideals of the USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) and fully acknowledges USADSF’s role and responsibilities as a national sports federation in the following areas: a) establishing performance criteria and affiliation requirements; b) assessing our organizational performance and compliance, and c) revoking, with cause our status as an affiliate.

Article 2
Purpose

The purpose of the Association is to receive, administer and distribute funds for educational, and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare, and for no other purpose. The Association intends to provide funds in scholarships for needy deaf golfers that are attending college. And to raise funds by holding biennial golf tournaments at alternate sites in the United States of America. To sponsor clinics for aspiring young deaf golfers who want to improve skills for the game. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the Association shall not carry on any other actives not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provision of any future federal tax code, or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provision of any future federal tax code.

 

1980

  • National Deaf Golf Association (NDGA) formed

  • ​First Annual NDGA Tournament was held at Meadow Hill Country Club in Denver, CO

  • 20 golfers participated

  • Joel Jordan won the tournament

 

1993

  • Jim Hynes learned that there were several national deaf golf associations in Europe

  • Someone approached him on whether the United States has deaf golfers that would be interested to compete against the European teams

 

1994

  • The 15th NDGA tournament was contested at Marywood GC in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Representatives from five countries (Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, and USA) met during this tournament.  They agreed in principle to play the first World Deaf Golf tournament and to establish a new World Deaf Golf organization in England the following year.

 

1995

  • Jim Hynes initiated efforts to establish a new United States deaf golf organization.

  • While the Championship was held, the World Deaf Golf Federation (WDGF) was formally established to oversee and sponsor the biennial world deaf golf championships under auspices of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD)

  • Jim Hynes of the United States was elected as First Vice President of the Federation.

  • The United States’ deaf golf men’s team captured first place team honors while its captain, Doren Granberry scored the lowest combined individual scores to win as the first official world deaf golf men’s champion

 

1996

  • On November 2, 1996, United States Deaf Golf Foundation (USDGF) established

 

1997

  • USDGF was formally approved as a national sports organization to be affiliated with the USA Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF)

  • Recognized as a non-profit incorporation with the state of Maryland

 

1998

  • USDGF hosted the 2nd World Deaf Golf Championships in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania

  • 11 countries participated

  • The USA deaf golf men’s team captured first place team honors for the second straight time, and Eric Brumm of Missouri won the top world individual honors

  • Neil Johnson served as an honorary captain with the team

  • NDGA Tournament concurrently held with the second World Deaf Golf Championships in Abbottstown

 

1999

  • USDGF formally was approved as a 501 © (3) nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • In order to retain its incorporation status with the state of Maryland, and its 501 © (3) nonprofit status with the IRS, the USDGF outlined its mission and goals as follows:

 

  1. To organize and operate national level deaf golf tournaments under the auspices of USADSF in order to send official USA deaf golf teams to the World Deaf Golf Championships (WDGC). The Championships are held biennially for both team and individual competitions at an alternate host country.

  2. To sponsor a summer golf camp for deaf and hard of hearing youth.

 

  • There was a national qualifying tournament held jointly by NDGA and USDGF in Utah to determine the USA deaf golf men’s team for participation in the 3rd WDGC in Sun City, South Africa

  • NDGA ceased operations and merged to USDGF

 

​2000

  • During the WDGC in South Africa, 3 deaf golf women submitted a proposal to the WDGF asking that there be separate Championships for deaf golf women’s play (team AND individual competition) and approved starting next tournament, respectively

  • Susan Zupnik was one of three women pioneers that contributed to the establishment of the world deaf women’s championships

  • The USA deaf golf men’s team captured first place team honors for the third straight time, however top individual honors in men’s competition went to Ryan Lotz of South Africa

 

2001

  • USDGF held its first United States Deaf Golf Championships (USDGC) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

 

2002

  • For WDGC in Ireland, Verizon Communications donated $5,000 and Jack & Barbara Nicklaus made an anonymous donation to the USA deaf golf team’s fund

  • In the world deaf golf men’s team and individual competitions, the United States finished for third place with team honors

  • For men's individual, champion was Cedric Touzard of South Africa

  • Patty Sue Ploysa of New York won the first official women’s individual championship while the USA deaf golf women’s team came in first in team competition

  • Susan Zupnik was the first female to serve on the Federation Board of Directors

 

2003

  • USDGF selects Mid-Pines Inn and Golf Club as the site of 2nd USDGC on July 9-12, 2003, in Pinehurst, North Carolina

  • Seniors Division includes for the first time in the competition

  • WDGF adds Seniors Division, for individual competition only

 

2004

  • In the world deaf golf men’s team competition in Sweden, the United States recaptures first place

  • The individual men’s champion is Cedric Touzard of South Africa, successfully defend his title

  • The United States women’s team also successfully defend their title

  • Linda Davis of Australia wins first place in women’s individual competition

  • Jun Oishi from Japan wins the first official seniors’ individual championship

  • In the fall, the USDGF board increases to the number of Board members to a total of 10.

  • USDGF selects Greater Rochester Deaf Golf Association to host 3rd USDGC at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor, New York

 

2005

  • 48 golfers participate in the USDGC at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor, New York

  • Doren Granberry of California won the men's individual competition on the first hole of sudden-death playoff over Bill Roberts of Missouri

  • Patty Sue Ploysa of New York accomplishes her defending title with the victory for women's division

  • Wally DeVe of Oregon wins the individual seniors' division

  • USDGF name has changed to United States Deaf Golf Association (USDGA)

 

2006

  • USDGA's dominance continues by winning the overall team and individual titles at the 6th WDGC at Red Tail Landing Golf Club in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  • Brandon Babineaux of Minnesota won the men’s individual title

  • Linda Davis of Australia won the women's division

  • The USA women win the team title

  • Wally DeVe of Oregon won the seniors' division

  • USDGA announced exemptions policy for champions and runner-ups of state and local deaf golf associations to participate in the 4th USDGC in Caseyville, Illinois

 

2007

  • United States Golf Association (USGA) extends $20,000 grant for the Championships, a first in USDGA’s history

  • A Hall of Fame program will be held during the banquet of the Championships, also a first-time ever

  • 11 deaf golfers, 9 men and 2 women, will be inducted in the Hall of Fame on basis of their exemplary championship play and/or leadership at national, regional, state, and/or local deaf golf association levels, they are: Roy DeMotte, Jim Hynes, Harold Deuel, Neil Johnson, Ray Kessenich, Gil Lentz, Patty Sue Ploysa, Jack Lunz, Francis Mog, Anna Prinzevalle, and Wilbur Sawhill

 

2008

  • The 7th WDGC was held in Perth, Australia on the Joondalup Resort designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.  It was a crazy golf course!  Very challenging! 

  • The USA men’s team captured their 6th WDGC Championship.  They only had four players!  Still the only time in WDGC history less than 6 players won the Men’s Team WDGC Championship.  Brandon Babineaux finished 3rd, Tim Dapp 8th, Dano Aldaz 12th and Darrell Hovinen 16th as individuals.

  • The USA women’s team finished second to Australia.  Patty Sue Ploysa, age 66, finished second place while Susan Zupnik finished fifth place.

  • Two seniors represented USA.  Neil Johnson and Mike Yance, they finished 6th and 7th.

 

2009

  • 5th USDGC was held at Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor, Colorado. It was recorded longest total yardage in USDGC history, playing at 7,264 yards due to high altitude.

  • Long bomber, Brandon Babineaux of Texas used his distance advantage to navigate around the golf course winning by 6 strokes in the Open Division. There were 4 international golfers competing in the tournament, two from Australia, one from Canada and one from England.

  • Tim Dapp of Maryland won a whopping by 21 strokes in Seniors’ division.

  • Patty Sue Ploysa of New York, won in Women’s Division.

  • Bill Roberts and Susan Zupnik were inducted to the Hall of Fame.

 

 

2010

  • The United States Deaf Golfers competed against 15 countries at Sam Torrance Golf Club in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

  • Melissa Stockton of Utah was declared the world deaf women’s champion

  • The USA Women’s team earned a first-place berth

  • The USA Men’s team did not play up to their defending championship expectations, Doren Granberry was the sixth best individual with Tim Dapp who also played well but had to withdraw after hurting his back in bad fall on the course

  • However, with help from Jed Barish, Daryn Taylor, Mike Houston and Dano Aldaz, the USA team struggled to fifth place finish against a very strong field of European golfers

  • The USA Senior Team did not do better with Jose Sermeno’s ailing case of flu and chills. Joe Rourke didn’t play to his par and 75-year-old George Dyess got disqualified on the first day when he failed to sign his scorecard

  • For the first time, USDGA collaborated with Jason Scarth of Britannia Golf travel agency to handle logistics for golfers and non-golfers

  • From this experiment, it is believed that this type of collaboration should be done again when the USA teams compete at 2012 WDGC to be held in Japan.

 

2011

  • The Golf Club at Yankee Trace in Centerville, Ohio hosted as the site of the 6th USDGC

  • Norman Artz, Gordon Bachman, Doren Granberry and Jim Potter were inducted into the USDGA Hall of Fame

 

2012

  • The very first World Deaf Golf Championships to be held in Japan were very successful.

  • Total Number of volunteers came to over 400

  • Australian Jack McLeod won the Men’s Open with 290 by 13 strokes over Denmark’s Han Elgaard.

  • Seniors’ Kenneth Hoffman of Canada won with 330 by 3 strokes over Japan’s Akio Wantanabe

  • Loentine Warringa of Netherland, won by 21 strokes over USA’s Melissa Stockton.

  • Team Men’s – Australia in 1st; Sweden in 2nd; and Denmark in 3rd

  • Team Seniors’ – Japan in 1st; Canada in 2nd and USA in 3rd

  • Team Women’s – USA in 1st; Australia in 2nd; and Japan in 3rd

 

2013

  • 7th Beinnial USDGC was held at Omni Tucson National Resort in Tucson, Arizona on June 4-7, 2013.

  • Louis Pedroza of California drained a long par putt on 18th hole to edge out Dano Aldaz of Colorado and Bill Roberts of Missouri by a shot for his first USDGC Championship.

  • Tim Dapp of Maryland claimed his first USDGC Senior title over runner- up Keith Worek of NY with Gerald Isobe finishing 3rd.

  • Patty Lopez of Arizona won her first USDGC Women title with Melissa Stockton of Utah getting 2nd place. Susan Zupnik of New Jersey claimed 3rd.

  • Helen DiFalco, Linda Nelson, George Dyess and Heyward Thompson were inducted to the Hall of Fame

 

 

2014

  • WDGC played at Grand Traverse Resort in Michigan, USA. Two golf courses (The Bear by Jack Nicklaus and Wolverine by Gary Player) were first ever played at the same time.

  • Jack Besley (Australla) won 1st place in Men flight by 7 strokes.

  • Patty Lopez (USA) won 1st place in Ladies flight. Note that she made a hole-in-one at 9th hole.

  • Kenneth Hoffman (Scotland) won 1st place in Senior flight by beating Keith Worek (USA) in a sudden death playoff 1st hole when making a long birdie.

  • What a sweep! All three USA Men, Ladies and Senior teams won in 1st place in Team completion.

 

2015

  • USDGC was hosted at Worthington Manor Golf Club in Ijamsville, Maryland

  • 55 golfers participated

  • Brandon Babineaux won the Open Division Crown

  • Bill Roberts won the Seniors Division

  • Patty Lopez continue to hold the Women's Division

  • Claude Stout, Darrell Hovinen, Gerald Isobe and Bernie Brown were inducted to the Hall of Fame

2016

  • WDGC played at Royal Golf Club in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Allen John (Germany) won 1st place in Men flight while Brandon Babineaux (USA) came up in 3rd place

  • Lydia Ingman (England) won 1st place in Ladies flight.

  • Mark Lothian (Scotland) won 1st place in Senior flight.

  • New Over 65-Year-Old Individual completion (called Super Senior), Michael Finneran (USA) won 1st place

  • USA Men Open and Senior teams came in 1st place in Team completion. USA Ladies team made 2nd place.

 

2017

  • 9th Biennial 2017 USDGC was held at Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City, MO on July 11-14.

  • Dano Aldaz of Colorado with a 9-stroke lead after 3rd round, held on to win his first USDGC title by a shot over EJ Brumm of Missouri. Brandon Babineaux of Texas and Bill Roberts of Missouri tied for 3rd.

  • Tim Dapp of Maryland started off with Senior record of 68 and won by 22 strokes over John Rush of Colorado to win USDGC Senior Championship. Scott Davidson of North Carolina finished in 3rd place.

  •  In Super Seniors, Mike Finneran of California prevailed in an exciting 1st hole sudden death playoff over Gerald Isobe of Hawaii. Dennis Berrigan of Florida finished in 3rd.  place.

  • Patty Lopez of Arizona won the Women title with Susan Zupnik of New Jersey nabbing 2nd place with Lauri Ponikiewski of Michigan taking 3rd.

  • John Rush and John Vaughn were inducted to the Hall of Fame.

 

2018

  • WDGC played at Carton House Golf Club in Maynooth, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Paul Waring (England) won 1st place in Men flight.

  • Diksha Dagar (India) won 1st place in Ladies flight. She was 9 under par.

  • Keith Worek (USA) won 1st place in Senior flight by 1 stroke and became the second USA Senior player who won in the flight since Wally DeVe who won the flight in 2006.

  • USA Men team came in 2nd place in Team completion. USA Ladies team made 3rd place. 

  • Gerald Isobe (USA) was awarded for 1st place in the Super Seniors Individual.

  • USA Senior team won 1st place by 9 strokes.

 

2019

  • Lyman's Orchard in Middlefield, Connecticut was site for 2019 United States Deaf Golf Championship

  • 45 golfers participated.

  • The champions were EJ Brumm (Open Division), Keith Worek (Seniors), and Patty Lopez (Women's)

  • The Super Seniors Division was added, and Michael Finneran got the first travel trophy.

  • Timothy Dapp and Patricia Lopez were inducted to the Hall of Fame.

2020

  • England was planning to host 25Th Anniversary but there was a pandemic COVID-19 all over the world therefore the event was cancelled.  They decided not to host 2022 World Deaf Golf Championships.

  • The USDGA Board was able to come up at the 11th hour with a bid for Hawaii to replace England.   The World Deaf Golf Federation granted the USA to host WDGC 2022 under the leadership of Pono Tokioka with the boards’ support.

 

 

2021

  • For the Bi-Annual qualifying, USDGA made their presence for the first time at the Lone Star State.   51 Golfers participated at the USDGC hosted by Falconhead Golf Club in Austin, Texas.  In a joint effort with the SWDGA's (Southwest Deaf Golfers Association) regional tournament with 18 players.  A combined of 69 players played from double tees.

  • On top of the Covid-19 pandemic, Central Texas experienced unprecedented rainstorms that lasted for a month. They had severe flooding and many golf courses were shut down.  There were threats to cancel the tournament. However, our fortunes changed - The rain finally stopped just the day before USDGC’s practice round.  The course was very wet and muddy.  We had to come up with local rules to allow pick and clean, free relief from bunkers, cart paths only, etc.  We were very fortunate that we were able to resume with a normal schedule, including the practice Round and 4 days of Tournament play.

  • New all-time record for USDGC Women’s registration with 14 players. 

  • Newcomer 14-Year-old Ashlyn Johnson (CA) won by 30 strokes in the Women’s Open Division.

  • Brandon Babineaux, the local hometown boy rallied from behind to steal the top position from McGowin Miller of Alabama by 1 stroke with a thrilling showdown on the 18th hole witnessed by fans and players.

  • Bill Roberts added another trophy to his long and illustrious golf career with a win at the Seniors Men Division over Darrel Hovinen and former World Champion Doren Granberry.

  • Lauri Ponikiewski of Michigan won the Women’s Seniors Division

  • Michael Finneran and Jose Sermeno had a tight battle until the very the end.  Finneran was able to capture the Super Seniors crown by 1.

  • Brandon Babineaux, Michael Finneran, Reynold Jennetti, Lauri Ponikiewski, Lorraine Stoltz, and Keith Worek were inducted in the Hall of Fame.

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