What does BGC stand for, and what does that mean for new or existing members?

Golf brings all walks of life, age groups, genders, and nationalities together. Anyone that has a desire to golf can do so, in the case of a disabled person not having the financial resources, BGC subsidizes and supports them to the best of our abilities. Blind golfers compete in gross, and net competitions based on their level of vision. Competitive divisions, recreational and social divisions ensure any and all blind golfers can play. Our intent is to provide a level playing field for all by ensuring that competitors in a particular flight have similar visual acuity, and are able to enjoy the game and compete in a way they feel most comfortable.

Blind Golf Canada is about promoting integrity, sportsmanship, socialization and relationship building, helping our members and the blind community to have the confidence, and perseverance to achieve whatever they want to.

Anything is possible. We advocate for the removal of conscious and unconscious biases like ‘blind people can’t golf’ and ‘perceived’ limitations and negative inferences about being blind, the removal of systemic barriers to ensure a truly accessible and diverse golf eco-system in Canada, North America, and the World.

What does sight classification mean?

If you want to compete in certain tournaments, whether in Canada, North America, or internationally, you need to consider your sight classification, and be qualified. BGC currently adheres to sight classifications as defined by the IBGA. There are 3 sight categories that were established in the late 1990’s. Ranging from the ever-inspirational B1 blind golfer with 0% vision, B2 blind golfers with 0-5% of their vision, and B3 blind golfers with 5-10% of their vision. BGC also recognizes, at certain events, a B4 category that is also being considered by the IBGA. B4 which is a newer division, will be able to accommodate the next classification level. BGC offered it’s first ever B4 division in 2023, and we plan on continuing to do so, and we hope that the provincial and regional blind golf associations follow our lead.

How much does it cost?

Annual Membership is $75. The majority of this is paid to Golf Canada to ensure each member has a Golf Canada membership. Golf Canada membership provides member golfers a World Handicap System (WHS) handicap which is the system used world-wide by golfers who wish to track their scores and handicaps, whether that is for competitive play, or simply to help understand your progression in the sport. Golf Canada also provides access to their Mobile App with GPS distances for over 1,500 facilities across Canada, deals on event tickets, hotels, car rentals and golf apparel, free online Rules of Golf training, and for Juniors, access to the Youth on Course program, which provides unlimited $5 greens fees at participating courses in Ontario, Alberta, and the USA.

The membership dues also allow you participate in BGC sanctioned events, which include the ISPS Handa Canadian Open Blind Golf Championship, and the annual provincial and regional championship that is hosted in different parts of Canada each year. Tournament fees are capped, and subsidized, and each event includes four (4) night accommodations, three rounds of golf, including a practice round where coaches are welcome to play, certain meals, closing banquet, awards and recognition.

BGC is only able to do what we do because of our relationship and partnership with the International Blind Golf Association (IBGA), major sponsors and partners, philanthropic and charitable donations, our volunteers and supporters, and the Board of Directors. If you can Donate please go here, and/or if want to Volunteer at either of the premier 2024 events, please click on the appropriate link.

Does BGC have a home course?

The Greens at Renton in beautiful Simcoe, Ontario is the proud home club of Blind Golf Canada.

BGC is proud of ‘The Greens’ who have made a multi-year commitment be the home of BGC. The first official events were held in 2022. The ISPS Handa Canadian Open Blind Golf Championship, and the Ontario Blind Golf Provincial Championship. In addition to these top class events in 2024, The Greens is a proud partner of the 2025 ISPS Handa World Blind Golf Championship and the 2025 ISPS Handa Canadian Open Blind Golf Championship.

For more information about The Greens at Renton please visit them here. If you are ever in the Niagara region, you really need to visit the friendliest, captivating 27-hole course in Ontario, Canada.

I used to golf, and then I lost my sight. Now I don’t play golf. Can I play blind golf?

Our motto, “We can still play” includes you! If you have golfed in the past and want to pick it up again it’s as easy as reaching out to us on our Contact page and we can help make that happen for you. It is kind of what we do. Remember, you will be golfing with your Coach, so if you have family or friends that can coach, great. If you don’t have a Coach, we can help find a Coach who will assist you at the event. As far as BGC is concerned, you simply paused your golf game, and we are now part of your new blind golf journey. We can also help connect you with the appropriate provincial or regional blind golf organization so you can participate in even more blind golf events!

I have never tried to golf before. How can I try it out? Does BGC offer lessons?

Take the first step, and reach out to us on our Contact page. It’s that easy. BGC has clinics at our events, and has a Junior Blind Golf Program that is available to any youth who want to play. We also have female divisions that are also top of mind. We want to be representative of the blind community, and that includes our valued youth and female blind golfers. If you want to start off closer to home, we can get you in touch with your provincial or regional blind golf program. In fact, if you want to try out a game locally, and we know of some local blind golfers and coaches, we can help you get your first round played for free. Outdoors, exercise, great people, and the greatest game on the planet. Can’t go wrong.

What are some basic things to consider before coming out to a BGC, provincial or regional blind golf event?

First, keep an open mind. These events, even the competitive ones, are still focussed on having fun, sportspersonship, and advocacy through action. Regardless of your skill level, head out to the local driving range or a course with practice facilities and swing the clubs. There are always clubs you can use or rent, and there is more than likely we can help you connect with if you don’t have a coach. If you do have a Coach who is a golfer, understands the mechanics of golf, knows the rules, and is interested in making things happen – you are well ahead of most. You must communicate actively with your coach, so have a conversation about what they think works, and how you can start the journey. Just let us now. The Coach is effectively your eyes, a guide for every shot during the round, that is here for you. Just like BGC is. There are dozens, and dozens of people involved with BGC that would love to help. We can still play!

What about handicap calculations? They seem intimidating. Do I really have to keep track?

Simply put. Of course not, but it could help and it also supports your entry into certain tournaments. Embracing a golf handicap is not a cumbersome task; in fact, it enhances the essence of golf as a sport accessible to everyone, regardless of skill level. The primary purpose of a golf handicap system is to create a fair and inclusive playing environment by leveling the field for golfers with varying abilities. The system achieves this by allowing weaker players to deduct strokes from their scores on specific holes, ensuring that golfers of different skill levels can compete on an equal footing. It is about trying to balance the challenges, to make the sport enjoyable for all blind golfers.

Don’t worry, managing your handicap is a simple, and straightforward process. With your BGC, and Golf Canada membership, all you need to do is take your scores from your scorecard and post them. Select the course, specify the date and tees. Boom. The “intimidating” online tracking system magically becomes simple, and accessible. You can monitor your progress, identify areas for improvement, and compete against all golfers ensuring you get the most out of the game.

Tell me the truth, what are the worst things about blind golf?

If you are new to golf, there is nothing that is a deal breaker. Limited visual clues, navigating the course, estimating distances, and understanding the lie of your ball, or to put it more simply where your ball is and the surrounding area – well, all of that is part of what a Coach helps with. At all of our events there are volunteers on course, and off course to help also. Then there is the equipment, which is solved by renting or accessing equipment through BGC at certain events. Until you are ready to buy a set. Shoes? Not an issue, where some shoes with some soles that are able to keep your feet in position and you are ready. That is about it. There really is no downside when it comes to help and equipment you need. Getting rained out, when you have been counting minutes and seconds until you get to play again is a pretty tough. When you overcome the challenges of blindness and vision impairment, golf is a walk in a park. It truly is

Are there special formats for playing blind golf?

Special formats are occasionally employed in blind golf events. While the traditional Stroke Play format is a common choice, adaptations may be made to enhance the speed of play. Blind golf organizations may adopt local rules, like stroke and distance, or opt for alternate forms of competition such as Stableford, Scramble, or Match Play. Notably, in certain high-profile events like championships or international tournaments, golfers may be mandated to possess a recorded and tracked handicap, introducing an additional layer of competitiveness and standardization to the game. At the majority of events, recreational play is also offered. The flexibility in formats accommodates the unique needs and circumstances of blind golfers while maintaining the integrity and competitiveness of the sport.

Is there such a thing as the Ten (10) Commandments of Blind Golf?

Etiquette is another word for the ‘commandments’, but it really comes down to common courtesy for the blind golfers and participants. Understand the basics of accessibility, and accommodations. It’s simple, and they are easy.

  • Silence is Golden: Avoid unnecessary noise and distractions while the blind golfer is preparing to swing. Blind golf is a game of concentration.
  • Guide Dogs Stay on the Sidelines: While guide dogs are invaluable companions, they aren’t equipped with golf etiquette. Keep them off the greens and fairways, and don’t disturb them they are still working when in a harness.
  • Announce Your Presence: Make your presence known, especially when approaching or leaving a group. A simple “Excuse me” can prevent accidental disruptions.
  • Offer Assistance, Don’t Assume: In some instances, like looking for a ball, or helping guide the blind golfer if the coach is preoccupied, offer assistance. Always wait for acceptance before jumping in. Not every blind golfer requires the same level of help.
  • Describe the Surroundings: When providing directions or details about the course to the blind golfer, use clear and descriptive language. “The hole is to the left” is more helpful than “over there.”
  • Respect the Pace of Play: Blind golfers might take a bit longer, so patience is key. Be understanding and focus on enjoying the game rather than rushing. Although golf may not be a race, it’s also not a nap. Keep things moving at a reasonable pace.
  • Retrieve Lost Equipment: If a club is left behind or some equipment or clothing goes astray, lend a helping hand. The blind golfer and their coach are pretty busy through all eighteen (18) holes, and could be distracted.
  • Guide, Don’t Swing: Guides will help with alignment and positioning, but they can’t catch it all. If you see something, share with the guide and blind golfer. But resist the urge to tell them during their setup and process, it can wait. Let them take their own shot and then let them know.
  • Celebrate Success: Whether it’s a well-struck ball or sinking a putt, celebrate the victories on the course. This is a social game, and a philanthropic undertaking. It takes a lot of work from all parties, volunteers and sponsors. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
  • Include Everyone: Blind golfers are here to enjoy the game, as is everyone involved. Blind golf stands for, and advocates for diversity, equity, inclusion. Inclusion in blind golf fosters a sense of community and belonging, breaking down barriers that may otherwise isolate blind individuals. A shake of a hand, a bump of fist. An embrace, laughter. Blind golf.

What do we know about the history of BGC and blind golf in Canada?

Blind Golf Canada was founded in 2012 by a group of blind golfers who understood we needed a national regulatory body that would unite golfers from across Canada for three purposes. Re-establish the Canadian Blind Golf Association (CBGA), promote the sport of blind golf, and advocacy.

Although blind golf has a long history, the first organized blind golf event was held in 1938 in the United Kingdom, competitive blind golf in Canada has been around since the 1950’s. Initially, it was about profound blindness, or what many consider to be total lack of visual acuity and no light perception. In the 1980’s blind golfers like Nick Genovese, Claude Pattemore, and others heralded a new era in blind golf as they travelled all around North America promoting the sport. Visually impaired golfers, peekers, were advocating to be included. The time had come to truly embrace the term blind, and include the vision impaired.

Since 2012, the volunteers, past and present Board members, all of the blind and visually impaired golfers have gotten Blind Golf Canada to where we are today. Our “Second Decade of Excellence.” Times have changed, but blind golf continues today. Now more than ever we are at the crossroads, and the time is now to continue to grow our charitable efforts, philanthropy and expand our positive impact on the community. Through charitable endeavors and philanthropy, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of those who need it most. Come out and see for yourself, we can still play.

How can I find blind golf events and communities?

Various organizations and communities support blind golfers both across Canada and internationally. To begin your journey check with provincial blind golf associations, and local golf clubs, or better yet reach out to BGC to discover events, connect with other blind golfers, and access resources. You will find that the community is diverse, and for every single question, or need, there is a blind golfer, Coach, volunteer, community member standing there to happily answer any questions we may have missed on this FAQ page.

Are there any age restrictions?

BGC welcomes all golfers, regardless of age. The vast majority of our golfers are adults, and we do have a senior category for our events. We also have female categories/divisions. At all BGC events, we host a Youth division, which allows for both competitive and recreational play. At the Canadian Open Blind Golf Championship the Youth division is for golfers 13+ years old.

There are also opportunities for our Youth clinics, which is for ages 8+, as well as opportunities at your local provincial or regional blind golf association. If you can any questions please reach out using our Contact page.