Making The Turn

Adaptive Golfers Are Up For The Challenge

Most of us hackers take the game of golf for granted; the fact that we can throw our clubs in the trunk, head to the golf course, walk to the first tee, and start swinging. And then when we are done with our round, how many in our foursome feels the need to complain about our game. How often do we hear “Man, my putting stunk today!” or “I could not hit my driver to save my life!” Very rarely are we ever happy or remotely satisfied with the way we played.

Perspectives can change quickly, though, after witnessing the group of handicapped golfers playing at Maxwelton Braes in the “Go Fore Golf” program on Saturday, June 27.  Golfers of all ages, with all types of physical disabilities, along with their friends and families, were brought together to participate and learn to play golf despite these challenges. For them, it is not only about the game of golf, it is about pushing the limits of their abilities, and increasing their physical self-awareness and confidence.

“Go Fore Golf” is a non-profit organization that encourages those who live with challenges to golf with family and friends in recreational settings. It introduces people to the game of golf and assists with adapting the game and equipment to meet individuals’ needs. Workshops are planned throughout the Midwest, with Maxwelton Braes playing host as well as donating greens fees to their latest event. Jason Daubner, the pro at Maxwelton Braes, always enjoys this special day.

“Each golfer is capable of making one shot,” said Daubner. “For them, it levels the playing field.”

Event organizer Jeanne Esch, from Bloomfield, Michigan, who herself is handicapped and has learned to play golf from a wheelchair, loves to see the excitement these workshops bring to fellow disabled golfers.

“We had an 8th grade girl who suffered a stroke and had to learn to play with one hand,” said Esch. “She was so proud to be able to hit the ball! And she was good, too!”

Some examples of the types of challenges that participants have learned to golf with include physical challenges due to arthritis, muscular or neurological disease, accident, circumstances of birth or aging, visual or hearing impairment, and memory and cognitive challenges.

“It’s not only about the challenged golfer,” stated Esch. “It’s about participating with their family and friends, and bringing awareness to the community.”