Golf players with disabilities find joy in sport

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — As we wait to see who will be the next Masters champion, it could be said that the game of golf is already a winner this year. Augusta National Golf Club is on a mission to grow the sport, and already, more people than ever before can dream of competing in it.

She doesn’t have her license yet, but Anna Davis, 16, already knows how to drive. The high school sophomore won the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur in one fell swoop. The following day, in the Drive, Chip and Putt finals, eight kids were crowned champions.

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Augusta National may be known as the most exclusive golf club in the world, but you can’t help but notice how inclusive the sport is.

You also couldn’t help but notice the jersey Shawn Reimold wore at the Masters. It was reading “GOLF TIL MY ARM FALLS OFF”. He lost an arm in an accident when he was 17.

“We’re just trying to educate the public about golf for the disabled, golf for the disabled, for everyone,” he said.

Shawn came to the Masters with his friend Alan Gentry, one of the four co-founders of the North American One-armed Golfers Association.

“I never thought I would have the opportunity to come here and walk these grounds,” he said. “I guess my dream one day is that they can bring an adapted golf championship here. We like to see that.

It is already taking off at other famous golf courses around the world. In July, Pinehurst will host the inauguration of the USGA US Adaptive Golf Open.

“Golf is the greatest sport in the world for people with disabilities,” Gentry said. “So we’re spreading the word right now, and we have 39 organizations that have come together under the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance.”

That’s a big deal because golf is bigger than… well, golf.

Shawn didn’t start acting until his late twenties or early thirties, long after he lost his arm.

“It really brought peace to my life and gave my life meaning,” he said.

Like the women who played at Augusta last week and the kids who played here too, the message is clear: golf doesn’t just belong to some of us.

Golf belongs to all of us.

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Michael C. Ford