Safety and performance standards established for adaptive golf cars.
As a result of a three-year effort led by Mobility Golf, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has approved safety and performance specifications for adaptive golf cars. These standards are based on existing standards for regular golf cars and motorized wheelchairs and scooters and were developed by a committee of manufacturers, golf course operators and disabled golfers. To order a copy, go to http://resna.org/store/.
In order to encourage accessibility and assist small businessís in complying with the ADA, Congress provided for a "disabled access credit." Tax attorney Dale Heider has written an opinion explaining how the tax credit may be available for the purchase of an adaptive golf car.
See attorney Heider's opinion letter.
A report of the Air Force and Army technical assessment of three accessible golf cars. (PDF) (January 2009)
Prior to ordering accessible golf cars for its golf courses, the Air Force and Army conducted a joint evaluation of three accessible golf cars: SoloRider, GolfXpress and EZ-GO Eagle. This is the only side by side written evaluation that has been performed and should be informative to those who are considering purchasing an accessible golf car.
Department of Justice says no need for special rule on accessible golf cars because existing regulations are adequate to address the issue.
On June 17, 2008, the Department of Justice, DOJ, filed a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), 73 FR 34508, in which it announced that it would not be issuing a regulation specifically addressing accessible golf cars. The reason it gave was: "As with free standing-equipment, the existing regulation is adequate to address this issue." 73 FR 34518.
In its discussion of free-standing equipment, DOJ stated:
"If a person with a disability does not have full and equal access to a covered entity's services because of the lack of accessible equipment, the entity must provide that equipment, unless doing so would be a fundamental alteration or would not be readily achievable." 73 FR 34517. (Emphasis supplied.)
Obviously, a person with a mobility disability does not have "full and equal access" to a golf course that does not provide an accessible golf car. Therefore, a golf course that does not provide an accessible golf car is in violation of the ADA unless it can prove that an accessible golf car would be a "fundamental alteration" of the game of golf or it is not "readily achievable."
These defenses are not applicable to golf courses. Since regular golf cars are not a "fundamental alteration" of the game of golf, it cannot be shown that accessible golf cars are either. Similarly, since accessible golf cars are commercially available, they are "readily achievable." Accordingly, under current DOJ regulations, accessible golf cars are required by the ADA.
Department of Defense orders two accessible golf cars for each of its golf courses.
After three years of effort by Mobility Golf, the Defense Department has finally ordered accessible golf cars for each of its 174 golf courses. It will take some time for the cars to be delivered and it is expected that they will all be on-site by the Spring of 2009. More than half of these courses are open to the public so they will be accessible to all disabled golfers. The courses will be added to the Mobility Golf website as the cars are delivered.
Judge rules that Marriott's refusal to provide accessible golf cart is a violation of the ADA. (PDF) (January 2008)
In a very detailed and well reasoned 32 page decision, Judge Hamilton of the
Federal District Court for Northern California ruled against every one of
Marriott's contentions. The essence of the decision is:
"Marriott's current policy does not provide plaintiffs, mobility-impaired
golfers, with an experience that is functionally equivalent to that of other
non-disabled golfers. Plaintiffs here have presented overwhelming evidence
that they are unable to golf at Marriott's courses under the current policy.
By contrast, non-disabled golfers can simply show up at the course and
Marriott will provide them with a functional cart as part of the cost of
their round of golf. Accordingly, Marriott provides golf carts for
able-bodied golfers, but does not provide accessible carts for
mobility-impaired golfers like plaintiffs. Because Marriott's policy places
plaintiffs in a distinctly unequal situation, as compared to their
able-bodied counterparts, it is discriminatory under the ADA.'
See Judge Hamilton's Order.
Department of Interior requires all State and local government golf courses to provide accessible golf carts. (PDF) (November 2007)
Mobility Golf has received a letter from the Department of Interior (DOI) specifying that golf courses owned or operated by State of local governments must provide accessible golf carts. This is similar to prior letters from DOI but this letter is not related to a specific golf course. It can be used to advise any golf course owned or operated by a public entity of their obligation to make their course accessible.
Department of Interior Letter.
Updated legal memo on ADA requirement for accessible golf cars at privately owned courses owned open to the public. (PDF) (December 2008)
Mobility Golf is prepared to assist any mobility impaired person who wishes to file a complaint for denial of access to any privately owned golf course that is open to the public. Send email to email@example.com.
Updated legal memo on ADA requirement for accessible golf cars at courses owned by public entities. (PDF) (October 2012)
Mobility Golf is prepared to assist any mobility impaired person who wishes to file a complaint for denial of access to any golf course operated by a State or local government. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Department of Interior letter (PDF)
U.S. Access Board Guidelines for Golf Courses (PDF)
On October 2, 2002, the U.S. Access Board issued guidelines for the use of accessible golf cars on golf courses, including tees and greens.
Access Board Pamphlet on Making Golf Courses Accessible
City of Indianapolis Settlement Agreement
A federal court settlement agreement requiring the City of Indianapolis to provide accessible golf cars at golf courses operated by the City
Department of Justice Press Release: Las Vegas Golf Association Agrees to Modify Rules to Allow Golfers with Disabilities to Use Carts Throughout the Course