GiGi’s Challenge is an Eye-Opening Experience for Golfers  

It was the most beautiful, sunny day for ​GiGi’s Playhouse Lancaster’s​ first Golf Tournament. At hole number one, we asked golfers to consider taking the GiGi’s Challenge. The GiGi’s Challenge is a way for golfers to put themselves in the shoes of someone with Down syndrome and experience what it might feel like to have hypotonia,​ or​ low muscle tone. The challenge was to put on wrist weights, ankle weights, a weighted vest, or a weighted backpack, then take a swing and hit their golf ball. The weights simulate how it may feel to have low muscle tone and be weighed down, slowed down, or have to put out more effort to do typical activities that come easily to those without low muscle tone.  

The golfers were overwhelmingly willing and excited to try the challenge. After they put on the wrist weights, ankle weights, weighted vest, or weighted backpack, they took their swing.  

No matter what the outcome of their drive, many golfers were left with an experience that made them stop and think about how those with Down syndrome may feel on a daily basis. It really ​puts​​ ​things into perspective for them. Many of the golfers shared a word or phrase about how they felt during the challenge. Here are some responses they shared: 


“Everything’s harder” 


“It makes a difference” 

“I’m all tired from lugging those things around” 

“It’s tough” 


“It’s eye-opening” 

“It’s noticeable” 
“It makes your gait different” 

“It’s enlightening” 

“I had to pay attention more” 

“It really impacts your ability” 

“Definitely tiring” 

“Exhausting just walking” 

​​The goal of t​his experience ​is to ​encourage the golfers to be more accepting and patient ​of ​those with Down syndrome. Luckily for the golfers, they were able to take the weights off. However, it was a good reminder that those with Down syndrome do not ever get to take the ‘weights’ off. Instead, they have to work harder and longer at everything they do, strengthening their muscles and learning to achieve great things, despite their low muscle tone. Thank you to each golfer that was willing to try the GiGi’s challenge. Hopefully, it was an unforgettable experience for each golfer!  

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