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To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Christmas In April

"Hey Mom, I know what I want for my birthday and for Christmas!  Mom, I want one of these putting greens, golf clubs, and some golf balls!  Mom, can you believe that I'm playing golf?!"

A few short weeks ago this is what you would have heard if you were at Ranken Jordan during the time devoted to golf.  Corey, a young man who was there to recover from major surgery to both legs, had picked up a golf club for the first time and instantly fell in love with the game.  You might think those words were said while his mother was standing next to him.  That wasn't the case.  Corey was yelling across Warner's Corner as soon as he saw his mom!  His declaration came following a couple of phone calls to find out how soon his mother would be there because he had something to tell her.  Needless to say he was excited about the new game he was learning.

Corey proudly showing off his new putter!
 Moments like these are when it becomes obvious to anyone associated with this program that we are having an impact on the lives of these amazing kids.  Prior to arriving at Ranken Jordan Corey had never played golf.  Well, he had never played golf anywhere except on a video game system.  Shortly after he started putting for the first time he began sinking putts with regularity.  The permanent smile that spread across his face was indeed an incredible sight.  The immediate attraction felt by able-bodied golfers when they hit a good shot or sink a putt is exactly what Corey was feeling.  Because of the surgeries, Corey was putting with casts from hip to toes on both legs while sitting in a wheelchair.  That certainly didn't diminish his enthusiasm or slow him down in the least bit!

For those who have never had the honor and privilege to be around golfers with any type of disability, you may not understand that what draws able-bodied golfers to the game is the same thing that lures in those with physical and/or mental challenges.  More than 1 junior golfer at Ranken Jordan has had the exact same reaction to the game as what I have described with Corey.  It might be a putt that rolls directly into the middle of the cup.  Other days it could be a chip shot that lands smack in the middle of the net being used as a target.  Still another time it could be that high, arching 7 iron that lands softly right next to the flag.  Regardless of the type of shot, it only takes on to have them hooked.

This passion and love for the game are one of the things we are trying to expose to the kids at Ranken Jordan.  Yes, as I have stated in most of the blog posts, our primary goals will always be to make the kids smile, allow them to have fun, and let them be kids.  Those goals have not changed nor will they.  The inherent focus of this program is to make their time in the hospital more enjoyable.  However, we still would like to see them continue to play golf once they are discharged and go home.  To help the kids continue to enjoy the game we will put them in touch with a local PGA Professional if that is what is needed.  Others will stay in touch with me and I'll encourage and help them as best as I can.  And sometimes when a kid like Corey is discharged he will be given a putting mat, putter, and Titleist golf balls.  It isn't his birthday and it certainly is not Christmas, but who needs a special occasion to bring yet another of those ear-to-ear smiles to his face.

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