Topgolf has been unveiled as an officially sanctioned event for the Special Olympics.
That means Special Olympics athletes will be able to compete in Topgolf as an individual or with a team through Special Olympics Unified Sports, which joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team for training and competition.
Topgolf is committed to making the game of golf more diverse, inclusive and fun, and with off-course golf participation at an all-time high, the partnership with Special Olympics was an easy “yes” for Topgolf, said Topgolf Chief Brand Officer Geoff Cottrill.
“We have a responsibility now more than ever to invite everyone into the game of golf, and our partnership with Special Olympics will help us further unleash the power of play and bring more joy to more people,” Cottrill said.
Beginning January 1, 2024, the local organizing committee for any Special Olympics event held across the US or around the globe will have the option to include Topgolf as a global medaled event, potentially including the Special Olympics USA Games and World Games.
“I’ve been at Topgolf for 14 years, and this partnership will go down as one of the things I’m most proud of,” said Topgolf’s Director of Charitable Initiatives Tiffany Brush. “Topgolf is changing the traditional definition of ‘golfer,’ and to see Special Olympics athletes so enthusiastic about Topgolf is a clear example of how we’re making the game more inclusive and open for all.”
Topgolf’s very own staff may even be competing in upcoming Special Olympics events, as the company currently has 18 employees who are also Special Olympics athletes.
To help Special Olympics athletes and Unified Sports participants prepare for the games, Topgolf is offering free practice sessions and exhibitions. While from September 15, visitors to to Topgolf venues throughout the US and the UK will have the opportunity to donate to the Special Olympics as part of Topgolf’s ‘Season of Giving’ lasting until October 31. Each venue aims to raise $10,000, with an overall goal of more than $500,000. On top of that, Topgolf locations in the US and UK will hold ‘Days of Giving’ on October 26 and 27 as Special Olympics athletes visit Topgolf venues to interact with players.
In 2024, Topgolf will host the first Unified Fore Joy fundraising tournament at five US venues, bringing together Special Olympics
athletes, Unified partners, professional golfers, celebrities and supporters. Topgolf is underwriting the tournament, which will raise a minimum of $500,000.
“A partnership with Topgolf will help Special Olympics demonstrate to the world how inclusive sport training and competition is a catalyst for inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Lou Lauria, Chief of Sport and Competition at Special Olympics. “Special Olympics and Topgolf are completely aligned on the belief in the unlimited power of sport. What starts on the playing field extends into classrooms, workplaces and communities.”