EDGA, the international body for disability golf, shares the story of Tineke Loogman
Tineke Loogman is a fighter, it’s in her nature; someone who is unwilling to accept the status quo. She can hold strong opinions, is direct in how she communicates them and follows what she believes to be the right way to get things done.
With a clear expression of gratitude, Tineke 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.
Born in Amsterdam with “one and a half arms”, as Tineke is prone to say, was an obstacle. For the expectant parents, Albert and Miep, it must have been a shock to see her with the lower part of her left arm missing.
But Albert and Miep were determined that their daughter would get along just fine. Tineke says:
“In my family sport was essential and because I was born with one arm, they thought I had to start very early. So together with my older sister Marja, we did all kinds of sports. Ice skating was very important in our family; we went on tours from village to village when there was ice. Then skiing started because the ice was going away a little bit. They taught me horseback riding and finally tennis and lots of other sports.”
Starting her golf journey
Starting a family (son and daughter) and business were the focus as Tineke grew into adulthood; she and husband Ger built a car wash business that today washes more than a million vehicles a year. When her parents started to play golf things changed:
“My parents started at 60-years-old, and from that moment on they couldn’t talk about anything else but golf at the kitchen table.”
Even so, Tineke did not start playing golf straight away. “It was when they had their 50th anniversary of marriage that the whole family went to Florida to play some golf there. Marja and I decided to pick up the game and try.”
So Tineke, at 40-years-old, had found a new game. “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’m very competitive, and 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. “If I say something to my husband, he starts organising. His creative brain is starting.” 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 9-hole par-3 course.
Building a business and creating visibility
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. Tineke's businesses were demanding attention of course, including the growing golf facility. Even so, she remained an active player (handicap of 11) and organises her own ‘Handi-Golf' group which now plays twice per year at up to 40 courses in Holland.
As someone who has never felt disabled, Tineke makes the point that there are lots of people like her who don’t initially identify as a person with a disability. “If you ask someone with a disability, what do you think about your disability they often say I don’t feel disabled, they have no clue what feeling disabled should mean because they don’t feel disabled.”
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.”
Tineke is equally as vocal when discussing the need for more regular tournaments:
“I think we need those tournaments to be more social, and we have to keep access to those tournaments for everybody.”
Being part of a community is essential to Tineke, including her family who have supported her all the way. The social aspect of tournaments where people can be free to be themselves, the community of like-minded people who come together.
She says she is self-reliant but is continually learning from life, from business and from golf. One statement 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.”
You can read more about Tineke and more inspiring stories from the EDGA players at www.edgagolf.com.
Words by Tony Bennett from EDGA.
More inspiring stories from EDGA, read about Martine and Heather Gilks, a mother and daughter who are truly inspired by golf - full article.