Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Health and Leisure Studies

First Advisor

Ms. Edel Randles

Second Advisor

Dr. Jackie Gallagher


The first evaluation of the #GameON Autism^^ Golf Program was conducted outside of the USA by the UNESCO Chair, I.T. Tralee in conjunction with the Els for Autism Foundation in partnership with LD Golf Ltd. The central aim of this research study was to evaluate the efficacy of the #GameON Autism^ Golf Program on young people with autism (ASD), their families, PGA golf coach, and volunteers. The two main objectives of the research were to analyse the impact of the program on the socia/communication, motor, and golf skills of individuals with autism and to assess the potential for the #GameON AutismTMGolf Program to impart flourishing amongst the stakeholders. Autism prevalence has increased by 30 percent in the US to 1 in 68 in 2014 (CDC, 2014). Research also points out that motor deficit affects sport participation and is likely to cause aggregation of social and communicational difficulties (Alexander and Leather, 2013).

This research embraced an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) model and employed a mixed methods design. Els for Autism Foundation protocol was used to collect the quantitative data and semi-structured interviews and field observations were conducted to collect qualitative data. The quantitative data were analysed using statistical models such as the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and McNemar’s Statistics in SPSS 21 and the qualitative data were analysed based on the systematic process of data analysis recommended by Smith et al., (2010). The research shows that the golf program has improved some elements of athletic skills and golf skills. The program also imparted improvement in the sociaEcommunication skills of the participants; however, it was not statistically significant. Moreover, the improvement in the sociaEcommunication elements were evident from the qualitative data retrieved from the participants, their parents, golf coach and volunteers. In exploring the lived experience of the participants, the analysis revealed evidence of flourishing evidenced through the presence of the entire facets of the Seligman’s (2011) PERMA model.


Some appendices were removed due to personal data.

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