Dallas-based Topgolf will be an official event at the Special Olympics beginning next year.

It’s the first time a brand has become a medaled event with Special Olympics. Athletes can compete in Topgolf as an individual or with a team through Unified Sports, which brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team to train and compete.

“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,” said Geoff Cottrill, Topgolf’s chief brand officer, in a release.

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On Jan. 1, local organizing committees for any Special Olympics event worldwide will have the option to include Topgolf as a global medaled event, potentially including the Special Olympics USA Games and the World Games.

The conversations began about two years ago, said Tiffany Brush, Topgolf’s director of charitable initiatives.

“This partnership in particular is probably one of our most notable ever in history,” Brush said. “We really want to celebrate the inclusion and lead the industry and the sport in being really intentional about inviting everyone to Topgolf and green grass golf.”

In May, Topgolf will offer free practice sessions and exhibitions to Special Olympians and Unified Sports participants. Donations will be collected beginning Sept. 15 to support the Special Olympics.

Next year, Topgolf will host a Unified Fore Joy fundraising tournament at five U.S. venues, bringing together Special Olympians, Unified partners, professional golfers, celebrities and supporters. Topgolf is underwriting the tournament and will raise a minimum of $500,000.

“We really want to inspire more play in the world and this is one way that we’re doing it,” Brush said.

© 2023 The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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