The Cairns Cup Is Coming To Michigan

The Cairns Cup Is Coming To Michigan July 27 – August 3, 2024

The Cairns Cup (competition website), “Disability Golf’s Premier Matchplay Event” is coming to Cherry Creek Golf Club in the Detroit suburbs July 27 – August 3, 2024. (GolfBlogger’s Cherry Creek Golf Club Review).

Featuring sixteen-player teams from the United States and Europe, the Cairns Cup features a Charity Golf Day, a Gala Dinner fundraiser, a workshop for disability groups and three days of Ryder Cup style competition for golfers with disabilities.

The inaugural Cairns Cup was held in 2022 at The Shire, in London.

The Cairns Cup flag is handed over to the Cherry Creek Golf Club. From left: Cairns Cup VP John Bell, Winning Captain Tracy Ramin and Erie Webber, general manager of Cherry Creek

I recently had a media meeting at Washtenaw Golf Club (thanks to Washtenaw for hosting us for an afternoon) with key members of the Cairns Cup team, including Ian Mullens, Cairns Cup Head of Strategy and Storytelling; John Bell, USA Vice President; and Kevin Booth, Europe Vice President. The trio was in Michigan laying the groundwork for the competition and meeting with local media and potential sponsors.

In the meeting, Mullens, Bell and Booth offered an interesting story, with a distinct Michigan twist:

  • The 2024 edition in Michigan will be just the second Cairns Cup — and the first to be held in the United States.
  • The winning Captain of the 2022 team was Tracy Ramin, who hails from Montrose, Michigan.
  • The captain of the 2024 US team is Kim Moore, head coach of the women’s golf team at Western Michigan.
  • This will be the first mixed sports event in the world with two female captains. The European team is led by Tineke Loogman.

The Cairns Cup is an outgrowth of a 2018 event called the Phoenix Cup, in which a group of disabled golfers from Europe met a group of disabled golfers at Rotonda Golf Club in Florida. One of the European team members — Billy Cairns — passed away the day after arriving in Florida. It is in his honor that the event is named.

The first Cairns Cup was held in 2022 at The Shire London. The United States team won 21 – 3.

The Cairns Cup organizers’ dedication to inclusion is thorough. Their team selection rules call for at least six different disabilities, including at least one sight impaired player and one seated player. No team can select more than four players with a similar disability. Players must be from six different countries in Europe and six different states in the US. Finally, players must represent a variety of golf handicap indexes, with no more than four under a 5.4 index.

All this is in concordance with the Cairns Cup mission statement:

Our mission at the Cairns Cup is to celebrate and promote excellence in adaptive golf by organizing a world-class tournament that showcases the exceptional skills and achievements of adaptive players.

We aim to provide a platform that empowers persons of disability in golf, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where they can compete, learn, and inspire others.

Through our commitment to fair play, professionalism, and innovation, we strive to elevate the visibility and recognition of adaptive golf, encouraging more persons of disabilities to pursue their passion for the game and break barriers in the adaptive golf world.

Cairns Cup Mission Statement

While the golfers paid their own way to play in the 2022 event, organizers are hopeful that in 2024, sponsors will be able to cover expenses. Details on sponsorship opportunities are available on their website.

Mullens, Bell and Booth repeatedly stressed during the meeting that the goal is to provide Cairns Cup competitors with the sort of high end competition experience that is enjoyed by top golfers who are not living with a disability. Watch the 2022 Cairns Cup highlights below to get a sense of what the first one was like.

Future Cairns Cup events are scheduled for “Future Cairns Cup events are scheduled for

Mullens, Bell and Booth said that Cherry Creek (course website) has been very welcoming and its manager, Erie Webber has been enthusiastic about making the course handicap friendly — not only for the Cairns Cup, but with an eye toward making Cherry Creek the most accessible course in Michigan.

I have no relationship with the Cairns Cup other than interested media observer, so head over to their website for all questions. For my part, I look forward to visiting the Cairns Cup competition this upcoming summer.

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