It happened again. As ball after ball is struck and shot after shot flies through the air it happened again. While it is not a common occurrence it is not exactly a rarity, either. Standing to the side watching her 4 year old daughter swing a golf club a mother has tears rolling down her cheeks as a smile covers her face. Watching her daughter hit golf balls is not what is making her cry tears of joy. Simply seeing her daughter out of her wheelchair doing something athletic brings more joy than she could have ever imagined.
Physical limitations cause the junior golfer to only be able to grip the club in her right hand. Balance and coordination limitations require that I have a hand on the club to guide the swing and help her make contact. One other adjustment we have to make in teaching her is that she has not been able to get out of her wheelchair for very long . . . and until this first time playing golf she had never stood in grass. After a couple of swings her physical therapist (because of the balance issues the therapist is there to hold her and make sure she is able to stand and hit golf balls) and I determine it would be best if she stands on the edge of the sidewalk, we place the golf ball in the grass, and she hits from there. This is not something that is even considered in a typical junior golf program at golf courses around this country and around the world. However at Ranken Jordan, this type of adjustment is just another day in our golf program.
These are the memories that would have never happened if I had not met with Janine Roe and created this amazing program. Thinking back to the week before Christmas in 2012 and watching 13 year old AJ get out of his wheelchair, take his first steps, sink a few putts, and then walk back to his wheelchair still brings tears to my eyes. Now that I think about it, having him stand up and play the game as opposed to in his wheelchair was another adjustment I had to make in my teaching. That is the type of adjustment that makes all the time and effort so worthwhile. This crazy game we call golf is making a difference in the lives of thousands of children with complex medical conditions. I am honored to have a small role in making that difference. The "difference" I am talking about . . . this past Tuesday it happened again.