E.Q. Sylvester, founder and CEO of Freedom Golf Association, has been named recipient of the ING’s Dennis Walters Courage Award.Freedom Golf 2

The presentation will be made at the 25th Anniversary ING Spring Conference May 31-June 3 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, FL.

The Dennis Walters Courage Award goes to an individual who has overcome great odds to play, and contribute to, the game of golf. It is presented by the non-profit International Network of Golf, where media and the golf industry connect.

The award is named after Dennis Walters, a professional golfer paralyzed from the waist down after a golf cart accident who has since become one of the leading trick shot performers in golf. He will kick off the Demo Lab at the conference with his trick shot show.

Sylvester founded FGA in July, 2012. Sylvester is a director of the Western Golf Association, member of the United States Senior Golf Association, and a triple amputee.

He became a triple amputee in 2011, and shortly after leaving the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago attempted to hit golf balls at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club driving range. It was not going well. When long-time friend and Cog Hill owner, Frank Jemsek, asked what he was trying to do, E.Q. replied that he was “trying to hit golf balls without any feet and only one hand!”  Asked if he was getting any help, E.Q. replied that he wasn’t, and the first step towards forming FGA was taken.Adaptive Tee

Freedom Golf Association is dedicated to bringing joy and a sense of freedom to the special needs community through their inclusion in the game of golf. FGA assists those with limitations by promoting, professionally supporting and holding adaptive golf clinics and events. FGA’s passion is bringing resources together to advance the number of individuals with special needs enjoying and playing the game of golf.

“Golf is anyone’s game,” said Sylvester. “FGA will showcase the opportunities for the golf industry to engage the special needs community during the ING Spring Conference. There are 57 million disabled Americans. 6.7 million play golf now and another 18 million have indicated interest in participating in the game. This is an opportunity for the game to grow, which it should not ignore, and ING understands this.”

The conference will feature a full schedule of networking and educational events.

• The ever-popular One-On-One Appointment Show, where exhibitors will have pre-scheduled, 20-minute private meetings with media and attendees of their choice;

• The Demo Lab, where manufacturers will display their latest clubs and training aids for attendees to test first-hand;

• Educational seminars and workshops: Subjects include Self & Team Motivation, Marketing & PR; Social Media Marketing; Player Development Panel and others.

• The 25th Anniversary Reunion Dinner. Former ING members are invited to attend the Tuesday night awards dinner and play in the Durland Cup on Wednesday morning. Among the awards being presented at the dinner is the Dennis Walters Courage Award, and Walters will be on hand for the presentation to Sylvester.

• The WAGT National Qualifier. This individual stroke play net competition will be divided into five flights. Winners of those flights will earn complimentary entry and accommodations in the World Amateur Golfers Tour National Championship Sept. 24-26 at Shawnee Inn & Resort.

• Plus, the many networking sessions that ING is famous for.