European Golf Association Partners with Special Olympics

Partnership will promote greater opportunities in golf for athletes with intellectual disabilities across Europe

Brussels, Belgium, May 8th, 2013: The European Golf Association (EGA) took time out of their European Golf Exhibition at the EU Parliament Building on Wednesday, May 8th to sign a partnership agreement with Special Olympics that will promote greater opportunities for golfers with intellectual disabilities.

Golf is one of the five priority sports of Special Olympics and partnership with the European Golf Association is an important step in achieving the goal of expanding golf to 18 national programmes and reaching 4,000 golf players and 800 golf coaches by 2016. Currently golf is offered in 10 Special Olympics programmes worldwide and has currently registered 2160 golf players and 500 golf coaches.

The agreement was signed by Richard Heath, Secretary General of EGA and endorsed by EGA President Antti Peltoniemi who is expected to attend the Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Sports Conference in Antwerp in September this year.

“We are very pleased to sign an agreement that will promote more inclusion in the game of golf and help grow its popularity” said Richard Heath, Secretary General of EGA. “We endeavour to support the mission of Special Olympics that children and adults with intellectual disabilities will have opportunities to transform their lives through the joy of golf.”

Special Olympics is making significant strides in growing ties with the international golfing community. This partnership agreement follows the participation of Special Olympics at the EGA Summit for East & South European countries held in Warsaw, Poland earlier this year. Furthermore international golf star Padraig Harrington serves as a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and has raised significant awareness for the movement by wearing red Special Olympics emblazoned shoe laces during international tournaments.

According to Mary Davis, Managing Director of SOEE: “Partnerships with sporting federations such as the European Golf Association are key to our ability to reach and include more people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics is about empowering people with intellectual disabilities through sports while changing attitudes and promoting respect and inclusion. We are very excited about the new opportunities a collaboration with EGA will open as well as the growing momentum for golf in our movement and around the world.

For more information on Special Olympics Europe Eurasia visit

About European Golf Association
The EUROPEAN GOLF ASSOCIATION was founded during a meeting held in Luxembourg on the 20th of November 1937. The Association declares as its foundation the observance of the Rules of Golf and Amateur Status as laid down by the R&A Limited.

The Association concerns itself solely with matters of an international character. Membership is restricted to European National Amateur Golf Associations, Federations or Unions.

The Association is presently composed of 43 member countries and is governed by the following Committees:

– Executive Committee (10 members)
– Championship Committee (12 members)
– EGA Handicapping & Course Rating Committee

About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs.  Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in all countries of the world  to the community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics;;, and

Media contact:
Suzanne Coogan
m: + 353 87 221 5745