Dr Haruhisa Handa and Blind Golf
In 1990 Mr Howard Lange, the President of Nedlands GC in Perth, Australia, invited Dr Haruhisa Handa to attend the inaugural Australian Blind Golf Event. They had previously spoken about the event and Dr Handa was keen to see how the visually impaired played the game of golf. At the prize presentation, Dr Handa spoke highly of the whole event and the spirit in which the competitors and their guides played as a team, and the importance of developing this unique team sport.
To this end he pledged $1 million US dollars to support the development of golf for the Blind over the next ten years.
In 1998, with Dr Handa’s help, it was realised that a more formal structure should be put in place to administer World Blind Golf. To this end, Dr Handa appointed Howard Lange to act as an advisor on his behalf and invited representatives from countries involved in Visually Impaired Golf to set up a structure:
- Howard Lange (Australia)
- Gerry Kelly (Scotland)
- Derek Sheridan (England)
- Bob Andrews (USA)
- Hiromi Fugimoto (Japan)
- David Blyth (Australia)
- John Ely (Canada)
At the first meeting with the group, Mr Lange outlined the aspirations of Dr Handa and his commitment to the ongoing development of golf for the blind. He wished all involved every success with the outcome of their deliberations.
A Steering Committee was set up with David Blyth elected Chairman. Kaye Hancock acted as Secretary. The remit given to the representatives was to discuss and draw up a formal Constitution for the progression and financial strategy and guidance for the development of Blind Golf worldwide. From the meetings held it was agreed that the organisation would be officially known as The International Blind Golf Association (IBGA).
The Steering Committee met daily at Nedlands Gof Club. After a week of intensive discussions, a draft constitution was drawn up. The meeting was then adjourned to deliberate and consult on the final draft. On reconvening, the Steering Committee agreed the final draft of the proposed IBGA Constitution.
In 1998 at Greenlefe GC in Florida, USA, the proposed Constitution was presented to the Inaugural General Meeting and formally adopted.