Back in February, my family was having dinner one night and J and were talking about sports. We were discussing how our son, D, doesn't like participating in team sports. We've tried soccer, basketball, baseball, etc....but he just hates them. Instead, he prefers individual based sports, like karate (he's about to test for his brown belt---black is the only color left to earn after this!) and running (just like his mama). He's also very interested in archery. But that night at dinner, the subject of golf came up---a sport that's individual, but yet social at the same time.
J started wondering if golf would be a good sport for our daughter, too. She hasn't ever played a sport before, as her balance and vision issues would get in the way. She did gymnastics for a while, but after breaking her neck last year she's not allowed to do that anymore. She also takes adapted swimming lessons, but still can't swim unassisted. Golf was intriguing to us.
A quick Google search found us a real gem: a PGA golf pro who specializes in helping children and adults with special needs learn to play. The coach, (whom I'll just call Coach in this blog) was delighted to hear from me and told me a little of his history. He has been helping people for the past 35 years play! He works with special needs of every sort---autism, spinal cord injuries, Down Syndrome, etc. When I told him about A, he said that golf would be the perfect sport for her. One reason is that she doesn't need to run in golf (A has a hard time running due to her balance). And the second reason is that the ball won't go anywhere until she walks up and hits it. Because of her vision issues, I don't want her around flying balls coming toward her (soccer, softball, etc). So golf did seem perfect. Coach said to bring her in----but wanted the whole family to come, not just her.
We've been going every Saturday since February, and I can't believe how much fun we're having. At this point, all four of us have our own set of clubs (J already had his own set, and the kids each got a set for their birthdays earlier this year. I myself am borrowing a set from a friend). It's the first family activity that we've ever done---something that ALL FOUR OF US are learning. We have our lesson, then go out to dinner after. Very good quality family time.
A is really enjoying it. Although she hasn't gone on the course yet, she is enjoying being on the putting green, chipping green, and driving range. Because of her vision limitation (bilateral colobomas) she has to work extra hard at seeing the ball before she swings the club. She truly is getting better and better, and she gets so proud of herself when she hits a ball particularly well, or sinks a ball into the hole on the putting green.
I myself have learned to like it. Until our first lesson, I'd never picked up a club, save for playing miniature golf. But I'm liking the challenge. I especially enjoy chipping and driving. The 7-iron feels so good in my hands, and I'm learning proper form and how to get a more aggressive swing. I love it when the ball goes farrrrrrrrr.........
Best of all, and perhaps most surprising, is my son. D has become a golf fanatic. He catches on very quickly, and is quite good for someone only playing a few months. In fact, last weekend he participated in his first golf tournament, in the 10-and-under category. I'm thrilled, as golf is one of those sports that can be done solo or with a group (much like running).
I've yet to go out on the course, but J and D have. Not only have they gone out with Coach on the rare days that A and I need to miss the lesson, but they have gone golfing on their own a few times at a local 9-hole course. One day I'm sure I'll get out there. In the meantime, I'm enjoying learning the basics, and watching my kids each learn a new and fun sport.
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