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Disabled golfers solve River's Edge

Okotoks: Disabled national golf championship earns golfers points in world rankings
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A golfer needed a lift last week to play in a national golf tournament.

Paraplegic golfer Dennis Duchi used a ParaGolfer to lift him into position to swing a club during his rounds at the 2019 Canadian Amputee and Disabled Golf championship Aug. 14-16 at River’s Edge Golf Club.

“I felt I played okay but they didn’t have a seated division,” said Duchi, from Mount Shasta, California. “I had a lot of fun, met some great people.

“That is ultimately what it is about and growing the game of adaptive golf.”

Duchi suffered a spinal injury 15 years ago, but came upon the Stand UP and Play foundation.

“They offer these ParaGolfer chairs, I tried it out and it has given me my life back,” Duchi said. “I was a 4 handicap (before the accident) and I wanted something that put me into a golfing position that I would assume as a ‘normal’ position.

“Now I play four or five times a week.”

Duchi completed two of the three rounds last week, but dropped out on Friday due to the pouring rain at times.

“Without having a roof cover or anything it made it very difficult, so I pulled out due to weather,” he said.

The tournament was a ranking tournament for world disabled golf, but Duchi said he has an opportunity to earn points in the future.

“I was here mostly to share the Stand Up And Play mission, I met with the president of Ontario Para-golf and we are building our community,” Duchi said.

It does come with a cost. Duchi said the ParaGolfer costs $25,000 and he has two of them.

Ryan MacGregor of Lindsay, Ont. shot a 91-92-97 at River’s Edge. Not his best, but the main thing is to get word out concerning disabled golf.

He has had one able arm since birth. He can use his other arm somewhat to assist, in putting for example.

"We are all trying to get our points for world rankings," MacGregor said. "That's new for everybody. They changed it from "Amputee" to "Disabled golf" so everyone can play."

The change was made to qualify golf for the Paralympic Games in the future. MacGregor said he expects golf to be in the Games in the summer of 2024 in Paris.

Both golfers gave the course rave reviews.

“I loved the greens,” Duchi said. “It’s a challenging course, but the greens roll so true. If you have nice greens like that, the ball is going to go where you are going to hit it.”

And of course, Duchi got the chance to tell the world's oldest joke for disabled golf.

"When I first rolled up someone said: 'Hey, what's your 'cap' (handicap)?" Duchi said. "We had a good laugh."

He has a 25 handicap.

The tournament was won by one-armed golfer Jesse Florkowski of Medicine Hat who shot a 75-71-74—220.

River's Edge was able to host the event after a course in Winnipeg had to pull out. It was organized by Okotokian Vic McClelland.

 




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Bruce Campbell

About the Author: Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell is the editor for Okotokstoday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper. He is a graduate of Mount Royal College journalism program, 1991. For story tips contact bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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