When You Say I Can’t, You Can’t!

The most frequent call we get here at the National Alliance for Accessible Golf is from individuals with disabilities looking to get started. Unfortunately, there is not always a program available in the local area but there are great individual resources.

The National Alliance for Accessible Golf created the Toolkit for Golfers which helps individuals with disabilities and their family and friends learn more about getting started. It provides a myriad of resources to get engaged with the game of golf. This success story is excerpted from the Toolkit:

Gus’s Story

As a member of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, I participated in the Invasions of Normandy and Holland. In both campaigns, I was injured. I was severely injured during the invasion of Holland from what was virtually a free fall of about 300 feet after having a heavy equipment bundle dropped on my parachute by another flight formation. I remained on the front lines for 78 days until relieved, then returned to France, then England and finally America.

A few years later, I became partially paralyzed on the right side. An operation to relieve this ensued. It allowed me to get around, however, I experienced pains down my left leg and lower back. This operation was followed by drastic abdominal and hip replacement operations.

Surgeons, both military and civilian, suggested I try golf as a therapy. A successful career as a Golf Professional and reaching the Disabled (what I like to call “Less Abled”) began, and has continued for forty years. People watching me play while in pain and limping approached me saying, “If you can do it, why not people like us?”

This type of therapy rehabilitated my self-esteem, confidence and developed a strong desire to overcome as well as strengthen my belief that I could succeed and become an effective part of family and social life.

I played in the winter Golf Tour, not well, but I played. I won the Illinois Senior Championship, have been voted Teacher of the Year, Illinois Section PGA, 1992- 1993, elected to the Illinois Section PGA Hall of Fame in 1993, served as a member of the PGA of America’s Disabled Committee and have received numerous other awards all as a result of my involvement in golf.

I always tell my golf students, “When you say I can’t, you can’t!”

“All IS possible when you say it is!”

“Impossible when you say it is not possible!”

“It is your choice.”

“Give it a try!!”

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