Golf? I have to be honest, I never paid much attention to golf. Not until Tiger Woods made his debut on the PGA circuit in 1996. Tiger brought some youth, some swagger and some excitement to the game which I previously thought was reserved for retirees. Now I find myself more and more interested to learn. The hardest part of the game for me is staying aligned during the swing. I’ve hit more air than balls! I didn’t know if it was a challenge that affects other amputees or was I just getting stiff & blind in my older age. They say once you hit a couple of good balls and you feel that “sweet spot” you’re hooked.
EAGA, the Eastern Amputee Golf Association (eagagolf.org) hosted its 29th Eastern Regional Golf Championship at the Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Atlantic City NJ on August 16-18, 2015. 68 amputees and 40+ associate members participated in the championship event. Bob Buck, the Executive Director of EAGA gave me a chance to attend and learn from some of the best adaptive golfers on the planet. Seeing so many golfers with different levels of amputations knock the hell out of those balls was amazing. They didn’t seem to have any swing issues going on so I just needed to man up and get busy with my game. During the first day’s scramble event I was paired up with a promising young golfer with an enormous amount of talent. Ayele McCarthy is a bilateral below knee amputee like myself, who lost his legs to an infection he suffered as a child growing up in Ethiopia. His disability hasn’t stopped him from excelling at golf. In fact, his unique set of challenges has pushed him to take his game to new levels. This young man is something special. His infectious smile and his gigantic swing will take him far. Not only in golf but in life. I also spoke with other golfers about how EAGA has given them the opportunity to get back to a somewhat “normal life” following their amputations. Enjoy this brief video log of the event and remember, you’re only disabled if you think you are!