Clang! Golf clubs swing. Balls fly across the golf course. Families, friends, and strangers cheer and laugh. Everyone talks through their hands and facial expressions.
This was Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, when Topgolf hosted a Deaf Night Out event at its Dallas venue. Deaf Night Out (commonly abbreviated as DNO) events are where the Deaf community is able to come and socialize with each other.
To ensure the full accessibility of their services, Topgolf reached out to Deaf Action Center (DAC) for qualified and certified interpreting services. With an interpreter at the front desk and on the tee line, d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing golfers were able to communicate with hearing Topgolf staff.
“I love Topgolf,” said former Topgolf Associate Isaiah Heggins, who is deaf. “Though golfing is tough, people could enjoy themselves playing golf. That’s what matters.”
In an effort to make the golf games easy to learn, Topgolf delegated to DAC the task of translating the game instructions into American Sign Language (ASL). The ASL golf instructions were then played on a loop on the TVs around Topgolf.
“It was refreshing to see a place being so welcoming to my language and my culture,” Topgolf Guest Ana Michel said.
This event was not only accessible but also open for people of all ages. Elders, adults, teenagers and children all interacted through sign language. Attending the Topgolf event with her Deaf families, Laura Young described her experience, “I had been enjoying socializing with new and old faces. It was wonderful for students and hearing people to experience socializing with Deaf people. They (students) can gain confidence to become interpreters in the future. We do need more interpreters.”
DAC’s Executive Director Heather Hughes, who also brought her family, shared, “This event not only brought recognition to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, but it brought together other individuals who have a shared interest in the activity itself. We were able to network and meet other individuals whom we may have not met before. As part of Deaf culture, we strive to continually network with others within our community for support and also help others who want to be a part of a culture – for example, sign language students.”
Needless to say, the Deaf Night Out event at Topgolf was a swingin’ success.
Blog by Topher Gonzalez, DAC’s Training and Outreach Liaison