The Establishment of WDGF
The WDGF was founded on July 13, 1994 at the Battle Creek, Michigan. The founding members are:
|• Robert Cundy of Canada||• Tony Klimek of Australia|
|• Jonathan Rose of Canada||• Howard Elson of Australia|
|• Jim Hynes of United States||• Alan Brown of Scotland|
|• Tim Clark of United States||• Kevin Whalley of England|
This pivotal meeting was arranged after Mr. Whalley spent eight years searching for deaf golf organisations. He had the desire to initiate the 1st World Deaf Golf Championship. At the conclusion of the meeting, the attendees agreed to the 1st WDGC to be held in 1995, at England.
The first Board election was held on 8 August 1995. The first officers of WDGF were Tony Klimek of Australia, President; Jim Hynes of USA, Vice-President; Kevin Whalley of England, Treasurer/Secretary; Steve Earle of England, Director; Robert Cundy of Canada, Director; and Arne Lindquist of Sweden, Director.
According to Mr. Whalley’s research, several existing deaf golf associations were established as far back as 1969. A visit to New Zealand where he met deaf golfers had piqued Mr. Whalley’s interest in finding other deaf golf associations. He found English Deaf Golf Association (1983), Scottish Deaf Golf Association (1986), Australian Deaf Golf Association (1969), New Zealand Deaf Golf Association (1970s) and South African Deaf Golf Association (1980s). US Deaf Golf Association aka National Deaf Golf Association (1979) and Swedish Deaf Golf Association (1989) came in contact with Mr. Whalley. Canada and Ireland did not have an organisation until 1997 and 1995 respectively.
The First World Deaf Golf Championship
The 1st WDGC was held at Forest of Arden Country Club Resort in Meriden, Warwickshire, England. Fifty-eight (58) golfers from eight (8) countries participated in the inaugural event. The eight countries were Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States. The first Team Champion was United States and the individual Champion was Doren Granberry of USA.
The Growth of Deaf Golf
Since the establishment in 1994, the WDGC grew into three championships from a singular championship. At the Sun City Golf Resort in South Africa in October 2000, three women participated in the demonstration event. Susan Zupnik of USA, Marilyn Beernink of Canada, and Annette Verskin of South Africa were the first lady participants. Eventually, the Ladies’ championship was added at the 2002 WDGC in Ireland. The first Ladies champion was Patty Sue Polysa of USA. At the same event, the Senior Men’s (Veterans) was demonstrated whereas 8 Senior golfers participated. At the 2004 WDGC, the 3rd championship was added and the first Senior Men’s champion was of Jun Oishi of Japan.
As of 2016, the WDGF had flourished for 22 years through 11 events under leadership of Tony Klimek (AUS), Tony Heyns (RSA), Arne Lundquist (SWE), and Simeon Hart (ENG).
The Senior Men’s Team Championship was added to the 2012 WDGC program totalling 6 different categories on record.
The WDGF logo was created by the first board.
The logo resembles a golf club with a cross-tie – the purpose of the organization is to bring all the nations together for sportsmanship and friendship in Deaf Golf. The club face symbolizes global collaboration and competition by member nations on the golf course (represented by bunkers). The upper part is the grip of the golf club.
The flag was first introduced in 2004 at the site of Skytteholm Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. WDGF President Tony Heyns of South Africa (right) and Arne Lindquist of Sweden, 2004 WDGC Chair, presented the flag.