For many PGA Professionals the start of the golf season includes marking their calendars for the dates of the Section tournaments they plan to play in. Many Professionals will find themselves playing in tournaments almost every Monday throughout the golf season. Unfortunately I do not play that much but I do mark my calendar early in the year for the 2 events I always make certain to play in. Only one of these events I always plan to play in is a Gateway PGA Section event (PGA Golf Day www,pgagolfday.com). The other event is the Ranken Jordan Golf Tournament (click HERE for info).
This year's event is July 8 and will be held at Norwood Hills Country Club in St. Louis, MO. Norwood Hills is a great country club and in the past has hosted several PGA Tour events including the 1948 PGA Championship won by none other than Ben Hogan. Tom Watson met his long-time caddy, the late Bruce Edwards, at this historic club. There are plenty more stories of famous names who have walked the links at Norwood Hills. As has been the case the last few years, there is one golfer playing in the Ranken Jordan tournament that many have not heard of but all could gain inspiration from. The young man's name is Sam Ward and recently I learned I will have the honor and privilege of playing alongside him on July 8. You may ask why am I looking forward to playing with Sam? Click HERE to watch a short video and learn more about what Sam has successfully battled to continue playing golf.
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking. Symptoms may include muscle weakness or loss of movement in a group of muscles, abnormal gait, muscles that are very tight and do not stretch, or joints that are tight and do not open up. These symptoms may affect one arm or leg, one side of the body, both legs, or both arms and legs. Sam has not let cerebral palsy keep him off the golf course just as he has not let the major hip surgery he had slow him down. The surgery required him to be at Ranken Jordan for 6 weeks of very intensive rehabilitation. Initially Sam had to have assistance getting from the golf cart to the golf ball and was only able to play limited shots. The next year he got around on his own with the aid of a walker. Following that he walked on his own and did not need the help of anybody or anything to play all 18 holes! Thanks to his hard work Sam's golf game has continued to progress and improve; I have heard a lot about him and look forward to watching him play up close.