Golf For All Abilities: An interview with Scott Millman
When you think of Golf you immediately picture successful businessmen or retirees spending a peaceful summer day playing a few rounds of golf and relaxing with friends. When it comes to golf Scot Millman had something else in mind.
Scott is a certified golf teacher and enjoys teaching golf to individuals of all ages but in golf he saw an opportunity to make a big impact on the lives of others. We asked Scott a few questions about what he is up to:
1.Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Scott Millman and I am a USGTF Master Golf Teaching Professional. For the better part of the past 20 years I was involved in running the family steel business. For 60 years we owned a small steel service center in Southwest Detroit of which I was a fourth generation owner.
In 2003 while running the family business I went down to Florida where I received my level 3 teaching certificate from the USGTF. In 2011 I returned to Florida to complete my training where I received my Masters Teaching certificate.
In early 2012 I took additional training and received a certificate from Penn State to teach golf to those with physical disabilities.
I continue to run the steel business but my primary focus is on teaching golf and growing our foundation The Millman N.R.G. Foundation No Restrictions Golf.
2. What Is No Restrictions Golf?
The Millman N.R.G. Foundation No Restrictions Golf was an idea that came about because of an experience I had years ago running. I was lucky enough to run with an individual who was running the race on a prosthetic leg. I was very impressed with his attitude and his view of life in general.
After I received my accessible certificate in golf we started a small program which is now known as Barrier Breaking Golf. We started teaching golf to our wounded veterans and others with disabilities using equipment called SNAG (Starting New At Golf).
We use over-sized golf clubs, tennis balls that are similar to a golf ball and a number of different Velcro targets. We have even been successful using the equipment with individuals that have suffered a spinal cord injury. The goal is to introduce or reintroduce as many people as we can to the game we love.
3. Why did you decide to focus your efforts on paralyzed Veterans?
Many of veterans have paid a huge price in defending our country. Many of them played golf prior to their injury but didn’t think they would ever be able to play again. They were unaware that there are a number of ways that we can help them get back to the game they previously enjoyed.
At our last event we introduced a number of them to the single rider golf cart which has a seat that helps an individual get into a more golf like posture while being fully supported in the cart seat. We feel that anyone should be able to enjoy the game and it’s our goal to continue to educate as many people as we can that golf is a great way to socialize, exercise, and one that can be played by anyone.
4. How can the game of golf help individuals with a disability?
I think the benefits are the same for all golfers regardless of their abilities. It’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy being with your friends. So it’s an excellent way to socialize. There are the obvious physical benefits of swinging a club over the course of 9 or 18 holes. Walking is certainly a benefit as well. Often over-looked, is improved cognitive skills. Studies have shown that people with a disability are happier being active and doing things that are a challenge to them, but can also bring some normalcy back to their lives.
5. What are some of the challenges involved when working with individuals with disabilities?
The one aspect that I love about teaching golf is that no matter who I am working with it challenges me as an instructor. Every golfer has some challenge to overcome and it’s my job to find the right techniques and make golf fun and simple to learn.
6. Tell us a few experiences that have inspired you to continue your efforts
Our last event we had an individual who had attended previous events but she was unable to participate because we did not have the proper equipment to address her disability. She is an incomplete quad with very limited use of her arms and hands.
We promised her that we would have equipment that would allow her to hit a golf ball. Something she was told she could never do. Well, she participated and made contact with the ball hitting it about 10 feet but her reaction and the tears that followed made it all worthwhile.
Last month we were at the VA Medical center where I worked with a gentleman who loved golfed and was an accomplished player before his injuries. He hadn’t played in 5 years and was suffering from balance issues that we were able to overcome using the SNAG equipment and hitting balls into a net.
The excitement about the prospect of playing golf this coming spring was overwhelming and certainly makes our monthly clinics a great experience. There are countless stories like these and hopefully many more to follow.
7. What Are Your Next Plans?
We are an inclusive program and we are currently well on our way expanding our programs to include children and adults with cognitive disabilities like autism and other special needs.
8. How can people learn more and get involved?
To learn more about our programs, volunteering or to donate please go to www.thesimpleworldofgolf.com/millman-n-r-g-foundation or Email [email protected] or [email protected]