My golf partner, Nick, plays golf with me each week at the Eaglewood golf course in Itasca. We play as part of the NEDSRA summer golf program. He is 19 years old and has a leg prosthesis. I am teaching him the joys of golf: being outside on a nice summer’s day, hitting the perfect shot and enjoying the smell of freshly mown grass. To me, golf is a beautiful walk, or in Nick’s case, a beautiful ride, if you don’t take the “scoring” too seriously.
Scoring is just a distraction, so we don’t bother. We only count the number of pars we make. Instead of focusing on the score, I focus Nick on visualizing each shot and getting the ball to travel exactly where you want it to go. Each shot and each hole is a game unto itself, and we alternate strokes on each hole. This is how I break it down for Nick.
The drive is a power shot designed to get 170 to 225 yards closer to the hole. With one leg to balance on, Nick must use all arm motion to get his power. He stands ahead of the ball so that his downward swing generates the power. Usually he is very accurate down the middle of the fairway while my drives take off like a high-arching banana. I joke to him each time he hits a nice drive, “So this is what a fairway looks like.”
Iron shots are a strategic decision based on which club to use depending on the type of lie under the ball. Wedge shots are tough because you need to have “club memory” to get the correct distance on the ball. With Nick using only arms, I suggest a 7-iron to get more distance rather than the high trajectory of a normal wedge shot.
Putting is all about experience with topography and how your ball reacts to going up or downhill. I teach Nick that you have two chances to get the ball in the hole. I put the focus on putting the long putt in, which should leave it close for a tap in – easier said than done.
One night as we alternated shots on a par four, Nick took the long putt for our third shot. It went in the hole for a birdie. We jumped up and down like we had won the U.S. Open. Those are the shots that keep me coming back every week, and I’m a two-legged golfer.
Bruce Flowers is the marketing coordinator for NEDSRA.