History of NAGA
Dale Bourisseau came home from World War II with a below knee amputation and a burning desire to return to his beloved golf hobby. Bourisseau found a job in sales, and despite the change in his body, started playing golf again. He traveled with his golf clubs, ever looking for golfing opportunities, particularly with amputees. Bourisseau greatly enjoyed the recreation golf gave him. He also liked to show his ability to others, perhaps giving them encouragement, a sense of pride, and self-confidence to try something new. Soon, he began trying to find other veterans who had injuries like his and started talking to them about playing golf as a hobby.
By 1954, Bourisseau had a nucleus of 12 men who would be the founding members of the National Amputee Golf Association. NAGA was supported by the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and the United States Golf Association (USGA).Today, NAGA has more than 2,000 members in the US and 200 members from 17 other countries across the globe. In addition to the annual National Amputee Golf Tournament and National Amputee Senior Championship, NAGA sponsors many local and regional tournaments throughout the country.
Perhaps NAGA’s highest visibility occurs because of the First Swing Program, which teaches adaptive golf to people with physical disabilities. Currently, more than 30 clinics are held across the country every year. Additionally, to assist a growing number of physical, occupational and recreational therapists who realized the adaptability of golf as a component of rehabilitation, NAGA brought its First Swing program to hospitals and rehabilitation centers throughout the U.S. in 1989.
Thousands of amputees and physically challenged individuals have rediscovered their sense of personal pride through their participation in these NAGA programs.