ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the first time in PGA of America’s history, American Sign Language interpretation will be available at the Championship next week at Oak Hill. This step creates better accessibility for Rochester’s deaf population.
Twenty ASL interpreters will be available throughout the PGA Championship next week, meaning deaf and hard-of-hearing folks will have an equal opportunity to enjoy the event.
Dr. Gerry Buckley is the President of RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf and he says finding events that are deaf-friendly can be difficult.
“For myself, a deaf professional, plus having a deaf daughter and a hard of hearing grandson, we’re constantly looking for opportunities that are accessible. It can’t happen automatically; we have to plan. So, we have the theaters, we have the performing arts, we have many things that are happening now in a positive way. Now the PGA hopefully will become a tradition,” he says.
Mark Pfunter is a professor at RIT NTID, plus an avid golfer. He says interpreters will wear special shirts to make it easier for people to identify them and will be on site from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. all week.
“They will help us navigate the course. They will help at information booths. They will effectively interpret the comments that are happening throughout the day. So, it will be more recognizable, not only to the deaf community, but other people attending will recognize it too,” he says.
With the PGA Championship being broadcast nationally, Buckley is hoping they’ll be able to influence others to provide deaf accessibility at their future events.
For those who plan to keep an eye out for interpreters, they’ll be stationed at the Main Spectator Entrance and Kilbourn Gate.