RIT teams up with PGA of America to provide ASL interpreters

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. This year’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill is set to be the most accessible in the tournament’s history.

This is thanks to a local partnership. Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf is partnering with the PGA of America to make sure those with hearing disabilities can take in all of the fun and excitement the tournament has to offer.

“To be able to have equal access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are going to the event and what I mean by equal access is access to information that is being shared with the public,” said Mark Pfuntner, chair of NTID’s Department of Business Studies.

For the first time in history, ASL interpreters will be on-site at the PGA Championship Wanamaker trophy presentation on May 21 when this year’s champion is named at Oak Hill. This is a milestone that Pfuntner says the whole city can be proud of.

“It was important that we had equal access to our fans who would be present,” Pfuntner said. “So that was really important for us to recognize that there was a need, especially for our community in Rochester. We have a very, very large number of deaf individuals who live here in town.”

PGA Championship Director Bryan Karns says that accessibility is important for everyone this year, even those who may not have a ticket, which is why this weekend, the championship shop will be open to the public across from the clubhouse, with or without a ticket.

“The idea behind this is that we get people out here,” Karns said. “They don’t have to buy a ticket to come out. So it gives the general public if you couldn’t buy a ticket and or you are gone next week, you can still come out and do this. “

This is in an effort to do everything possible to make sure everyone can discover PGA Championship magic.

“I do hope that people will recognize this in Rochester and then when they go back home, they will recognize the need they have in their own communities,” Pfunter said.

There will be 130 interpreters at the course throughout next week. Messaging about where to find them will be available on leaderboards during the tournament as well as on the PGA mobile app.