An evidence-based, sport-specific classification system that minimizes intentional misrepresentation is needed in vision-impaired (VI) golf, according to research published in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics.
A total of 20 individuals (17 men, 3 women) with expertise in golf for individuals with disabilities participated in a 3-round Delphi study. Among the panel, the mean duration of golf experience was 15.25 years.
According to the panel, the current VI golf classification system did not fulfill, or only partially fulfilled, the objective of minimizing the influence of VI on the outcome of competition (80% agreement). There was agreement among the panel that there should be the same classification irrespective of the level of competition (83% agreement). The participants also agreed that other measures of visual function should be implemented (75% agreement) in addition to VA, with visual fields reaching consensus as a measure that should be incorporated (85% agreement). The study identified intentional misrepresentation as a cause for concern.
“There is a clear need for an evidence-based, sport-specific, classification system that minimises intentional misrepresentation,” according to the report. “The minimum impairment criteria for VI golf needs to be determined and, once established, a classification system developed.”
Study limitations include an underrepresentation of women panelists and failure to represent the full range of golfing experience, handicap and VI type.
Hynes NJ, Beukes EW, Hawkes R, et al. Evidence-based classification in golf for athletes with a vision impairment: a Delphi study. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. Published online September 21, 2022. doi:10.1111/opo.13049