For the Love of Golf

My Dad working on his putting stroke with Ken Juhn

My Dad working on his putting stroke with Ken Juhn

 

 

 

 

My Dad taught me the game of golf 40 years ago. Some of my best memories growing up, and as an adult, are on the golf course with my Dad. He was a good golfer, but even when I was younger he would never let me win. As I got older he still beat me regularly, but I was able get him a couple of times (I still have the scorecards). He often gave me advice on my golf game and life, unfortunately I didn’t listen to either very often.

Six years ago he had stroke. The stroke effected his left side and he has little movement in his arm and leg. Since then he has not golfed. Throughout his rehabilitation all he talked about was golfing again. He used to golf every morning, five days a week. He actually golfed the morning of his stroke. He missed golf so much that we would go to the golf course and he would ride in the cart while I golfed, still telling me how I should play a certain shot or what club to hit, but he still couldn’t play himself. I know this was really bothering him.

Recently however, he discovered a PGA Professional by the name of Ken Juhn who works at the Terrace Hill Golf Club. For about ten years, Ken has been helping the disabled to either learn the game, or enjoy the game of golf again. Mostly he works with disabled veterans, a program that was started in November of 2007. Ken has a core group of about 12 golfers that play every Friday and also provides weekly VA clinics. His classes are always well-attended and he jokes that on a rainy day, his golfers will be the only ones out there.

The clubs they use are donated and then adapted to the needs of each individual golfer. Depending on their disability, clubs may need adjustments in length, lie angles and grip, or use more flexible shafts, depending on their stance and strength. But the piece of equipment that makes the most difference is the specially designed golf carts called “SoloRider.” These are single-rider golf carts that have seats with seatbelts that can turn and lift the golfer into a hitting stance. These were originally donated with the help of the James A. Haley Hospital to help disabled veterans.

My Dad hitting off the tee with Ken Juhn coaching

My Dad hitting off the tee with Ken Juhn coaching

Ken shows a lot of patience with my Dad. Taking him through basic drills and then heading out to the short nine-hole course to play a few holes. Talking about what equipment will help him most, whether it’s shoes, gloves, or adapted clubs. It’s clear he loves what he’s doing and believes that in spite of anyone’s physical, emotional, or mental challenges, they have the ability to play. Ken works with another PGA Professional Dave Windsor out of Sarasota and together they formed the Adaptive Golf Academy (www.adaptivegolfacademy.com) with everything from lessons, workshops and equipment that help the golfer adapt to how to play the game with their disability.

Thanks to Ken, my Dad looks forward to every Tuesday. I sometimes go and play with him, just like old times. Since my dad has only the use of his right arm, I too play with only my right arm. I don’t let my dad win, because he would not want that, but after a few holes, sometimes I’m hoping he might let me win. Just like old times. I think this program is a great opportunity for any golfer with a disability. I know it has helped my Dad. And me.

Ken’s classes are open to the public, he also provides private lessons to both disabled and abled golfers. If you’re interested in more information, you can contact him at the Temple Terrace Golf Club, 813-985-4653, via his cell phone, 786-326-2719, or email kj4golf@yahoo.com.

One response to this post.

  1. [...] golf swing and game, I came across two items that not only might help me, but also my Dad.  In a post I wrote a while back, I told you about my Dad who had a stroke 6 years ago. Currently he only has [...]

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