Women golfers who refuse to be defined by their disability

Achieving success on and beyond the course

– April 20, 2022

Tineke Loogman is a fighter: someone who is unwilling to accept the status quo. She explains that her positive upbringing in the Netherlands was crucial in giving confidence, and that she had the right parents who encouraged her. Just as importantly, she says that she married “the right husband”, some 40 years ago, who has supported her every step of the way.

Tineke was born in Amsterdam with the lower part of her left arm missing, but her parents Albert and Miep were determined that their daughter would get along just fine.

“In my family, sport was essential,” says Tineke, “and because I was born with one arm, they thought I had to start very early. With my older sister Marja, we did all kinds of sports. Ice skating was very important – we went on tours from village to village when there was ice; skiing, horseback riding and tennis.”

Starting a family (she has a son and daughter) and business were the focus as Tineke grew into adulthood; she and husband Ger built a successful car wash business together.

Tineke first gave golf a proper try when she was 40, on a family holiday in Florida. “You know what happens then? If you start to play golf, very soon you’re hooked on it.

“I’ve always been a fighter. I think that because of my disability, I always wanted to prove that I could do things. And golf, of course, is essentially a fight with yourself.

“You can mess up something completely, and if after that you continue, it’s forgotten quite soon, so that is what golf teaches me, that it’s okay, continue, forget about it, start over.”

One day, Tineke mentioned the lack of good golf practice facilities nearby, to her husband Ger. Before long, Ger had a whole plan of how they were going to create a training facility. This vision led, in 2012, to the creation of a 9-hole championship golf course, Golf Amsteldijk in Amstelveen, complete with a 20-hectare training facility and a par-3 course.

Now, Tineke was not only playing golf but was also actually in the golf industry. Next came her involvement with EDGA (the European Disabled Golf Association) in its early years, helping to build some of the foundations for an association that has gone on to span the globe. Today, she remains an active player (handicap of 11) and organises her own golf group matches.

Tineke understands the challenge and opportunity of getting more people with disability to play the game. “We need role models, so people can see other people doing amazing things even if they are disabled. I think the most important part is awareness. They will see people with disabilities, and they will see golf that they never thought was possible for people with those disabilities.”

One statement of Tineke’s that came through loud and clear sums it all up: “My mother always taught me that being dead is the only thing that can stop you. You can do everything, and if it doesn’t work the first time, you just try it again.”

– Watch/listen to profiles of EDGA players at www.edgagolf.tv

– Learn how to get involved at www.edgagolf.com

By Tony Bennett

Source: Portugal Resident Newspaper