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Disabled Golf My Way
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Disabled Golf My Way

Did you know there golfers all over the world who enjoy golf in spite of amputations, spinal injuries even blindness. Have you ever played golf in the past or wanted to play and think you can’t because of a disability? Well it’s time to get out and do something about it. Don’t let a disability get in the way of you enjoying the great outdoors and the friendly competition that this sport has to offer.

I have been an above the knee amputee since 2003. Prior to my amputation my wife and I played every chance we got, sometime twice a week. On vacations we played most days. I have always been an active person. I have raced motocross, played tennis, bowled and played softball. I was involved with any sport my three children were doing at the time. After my amputation I felt I might never enjoy any sport again.

About four weeks after I learned how to walk with my new prosthetic leg I decided to see if golf was something I could play. This first leg had just a hinge at the knee (no hydraulics). I told my wife to stay home and let me see how I could swing at the driving range. At the range I got a small bucket of balls and took my 7 iron out to the tee area. I got a lot of looks and sideways glances as I walked up and set down my first ball. After stretching and trying to loosen up a bit I took my first swing at the ball. What a surprise! I fell down and rolled over. Everyone on the range was looking and trying to decide whether to come help me or bust out laughing. I assured them all that I was okay and that I would probably fall again as this was my first time out with this leg. After trying to hit ten balls and falling down seven times, I decided that this disabled golfer was going to call it quits, for now.

Several months later I got a new hydraulic prosthetic leg and again was off to the driving range to see if I could golf with this disability. Again, I got a small bucket of balls. I started swinging my 7 iron. Surprise I stayed standing most of the time. Yes, I still fell down several times, but it was a great improvement from the first time. I still got the sideways looks, though this time I detected some acceptance and appreciation for what I was trying to accomplish. There are about 35 balls in a small bucket at my driving range and I hit them all. It took almost an hour. As other golfers left the range many nodded in my direction and smiled or gave me a thumb up. It was the start of becoming a disabled,amputee golfer with a handicap (USGA handicap).

Months later I had a regular golfer join my wife and me on the #1 tee and ask me “What is your handicap? “ As I stood there in golf shorts I said “I only have one leg, what’s yours (handicap). I have become an athlete and a disabled golfer by realizing that I had some limitations and I had some strengths. I have not let the limitations keep me from enjoying golf.

That is true of anybody that plays any sport, disabled or not. Listen to any sportscaster and you will hear about any athlete’s strong points and their weak areas. Having a disability is no different, you have a weak area (your disability), and you have strong areas (what are yours?). My strong areas are my ability to solve problems and my desire to be as normal as possible with my disability. These two things have helped me to play some of the best golf of my life during the past five years.

If you would like to learn the game of golf or start playing again after becoming disabled you can do it. First you need to honestly asses your disability. I don’t mean saying I can’t do this or I can’t do that. I mean what do you need to do to make it possible for you to play golf with your disability. Do you need special transportation on the course, someone to assist you, special prosthetics, clubs fitted to you or special lessons? These things are all available if you are willing to look for them. I would like to help you with your search.I have done a lot of searching for equipment, playing lessons, and people to play with (other than my wife),

This is the first of what will be several articles on disabled golf. I warn you, I am not the ultimate authority on this subject. But I am living through it and have not found anything out there that addresses the subject the way I would like to. If you would like to make comments or ask questions please post them below, I will address all comments as quickly as possible. Part of my disability, with my amputation, is that I also suffer from severe phantom limb pain, which can put me under the influence of heavy pain medications at times. So please be patient if I am unable to answer within 48 hours.


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