Golf

She’s at it again: Here’s how this Barefoot Resort resident is breaking golf barriers

One-handed golfer shares her struggle, change and hopes

Gianna Rojas was born with no fingers on her left hand. "I don't like to use the word 'disabilities' so I say different abilities," said Rojas. "Because I am able, just differently." She is the founder of the nonprofit Adaptive Golfers.
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Gianna Rojas was born with no fingers on her left hand. "I don't like to use the word 'disabilities' so I say different abilities," said Rojas. "Because I am able, just differently." She is the founder of the nonprofit Adaptive Golfers.

Barefoot Resort resident Gianna Rojas continues to break barriers in golf.

Rojas is included in the new World Ranking for Golfers with Disability (WR4GD) and is representing the U.S. this week in the first ranking-approved tournament in America.

Known as the “One-Handed Lady Golfer,” Rojas has no fingers on an undersized left hand because of a birth defect, and her left arm is a little shorter than her right, so her left hand and arm are of no use in a golf swing.

Through several years of practice she has developed a consistent golf swing and she has gone from playing rounds with her husband, Ray, and friends to competing in national and regional events. She has won her divisions in the Para Long Drive Cup and Adaptive Long Drive competitions.

She created the Adaptive Golfers foundation a few years ago to further her cause of making golf possible and more accessible for people with disabilities – or different abilities, the term Rojas prefers.

Rojas, who also has a home in Oak Ridge, N.J., is at a WR4GD-approved tournament Tuesday through Thursday at Independence Golf Course in Richmond, Virginia.

The WR4GD ranks the top golfers with disabilities on the basis of their average performance in Approved World Ranking Events over a rolling cycle. The ranking model was originally developed as Rankings For Golfers with Disabilities by EDGA, an organization formed in 2000 in Europe with seven participating countries.

With events being played in more than 20 countries and growing, the official ranking is now administered by the USGA and The R&A and posted on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR.com) website in an effort to build awareness and inclusiveness globally.

Rojas, 57, is hired as a motivational and inspirational speaker and has been an ambassador for or involved in events and campaigns such as the PGA Tour FedExCup playoff event The Northern Trust, the PGA Merchandise (Florida) and Fashion (Las Vegas) Shows, LPGA and LPGA Woman’s Network’s #inviteHER and #DriveOn campaigns, and PGA Magazine’s Woman’s Leadership Platform.

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