Adaptive Golf Program Gives People A Chance At Augusta's First Tee

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News 12 @ 6, Tuesday March 11, 2008

In a day and age when we look for excuses not to do something,here's a story that'll make you think twice about coming up with an excuse.

Mark Twain once said golf is a good walk spoiled. I don't think he had these people in mind, who are spoiled by golf, in a good way. Today and pretty much once a month, the Walton Rehabilitation Foundation invites folks of all ages to The First Tee for a chance to swing a golf club.

"It's Walton's mission, to further the people's program with disabilities, that's had strokes, all different other injuries, to get them out to have as normal a life as possible" said Donald Shapiro, an adaptive golfer himself.

From injured soliders to people with spinal cord and brain injuries, to amputees, the adaptive golf clinic opens a door that may otherwise be closed.

"Sometimes I feel sorry for myself" said Larry Colet. "But I come up here and i feel great about myself. The smiles on the faces, you're absolutely right, this is one of the few times they get out a month to get to do anything."

Aroun 40 people were at Tuesday's event, and a number of volunteers to help out. Skill level isn't important. What is, is putting a smile on someone's face.

"They volunteer their time to come up here and show the beginners first of all how to grip a club, secondly the stance and posture. Once you get through that, they find out they can actually hit a golf ball, it thrills them to death!" added Colet

This year the program also received a grant from the United Golf Association for an adaptive golf cart.

"Frank Dolan, who was with Eagle Products, adopted this golf cart and asked me to come out and tri it" said Donald Shapiro. "One morning about three years ago, I came out and hit a ball and it was pretty neat."

In the future, they're hoping another grant will take people from the range, to the course itself.

Coming up on Masters Monday, the adaptive golf program will hold a tournament at The Patch giving those with disabilities a chance to play with those who don't.