Driving the Power of Play For All: Topgolf to Become Global Medaled Event in Special Olympics

The announcement means Special Olympics athletes will be able to compete in Topgolf as an individual or with a team through Special Olympics Unified Sports, which brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team for training and competition.

Beginning in 2024, Dallas-based Topgolf will be an officially sanctioned event with Special Olympics, becoming the first brand to become a medaled event.

“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,” Topgolf Chief Brand Officer Geoff Cottrill said in a statement.

The announcement means Special Olympics athletes will be able to compete in Topgolf as an individual or with a team through Special Olympics Unified Sports, which brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team for training and competition.

Golf entertainment leader Topgolf said it’s committed to making the game of golf more diverse, inclusive, and fun.

Making the game open to all

Beginning January 1, 2024, Topgolf said that the local organizing committee for any Special Olympics event in the U.S. or around the world 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,” Topgolf Director of Charitable Initiatives Tiffany Brush said in a statement. “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.”

In fact, Topgolf’s very own playmakers (aka associates) may even be competing in upcoming Special Olympics events, as the company has 18 Playmakers who are also Special Olympics athletes.

Topgolf said it’s not waiting until the next National or World Games to kick off the partnership.

Beginning in May, Topgolf will offer free practice sessions and exhibitions to Special Olympics athletes and Unified Sports participants.

‘Season of Giving’

Beginning September 15, players who visit a U.S. or United Kingdom Topgolf venue will have the opportunity to donate to Special Olympics as part of Topgolf’s “Season of Giving,” lasting through October 31.

Each venue aims to raise $10,000, with an overall goal of more than $500,000. Additionally, Topgolf locations in the U.S. and U.K. will hold “Days of Giving” on October 26 and 27 as Special Olympics athletes visit Topgolf venues to support Playmakers and interact with players.

In 2024, Topgolf will host the first Unified Fore Joy fundraising tournament at five U.S. venues. The tournament will bring together Special Olympics athletes, Unified partners, professional golfers, celebrities, and supporters, the company said.

Topgolf is underwriting the tournament, which will raise a minimum of $500,000.

The power of sport

“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,” Lou Lauria, chief of sport and competition at Special Olympics, said in a statement. “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.”

A Topgolf Callaway Brands Corp. company, Topgolf offers more than 80 venues around the globe, industry-leading Toptracer technology, mobile games, and an app.

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. It fosters acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership.

Special Olympics has more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year.

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