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National golf championship hits River’s Edge Okotoks

Okotoks: Canadian Amputee and Disabled National Open to run Aug. 14-16
Vic McLelland 011
River's Edge Golf Club member and amputee Vic McClelland will be competing in the Canadian Amputee and Disabled National Open at River's Edge. (BRENT CALVER/Western Wheel)

An Okotoks golfer who lost his leg more than 25 years ago, is on course to bring some elite athletes to Okotoks this week.

Vic McClelland helped bring the Canadian Amputee and Disabled National Open to River’s Edge Golf Club Aug. 14-16.

“We have 36 golfers from around the world ‑- Australia, Bermuda, the United States and Canada,” McClelland said.“We have some golfers that are missing a leg, below or above the knee, missing both legs, one arm, a hand.

“We are actually going to have a para-golfer, who uses a device called a ParaGolfer.”

One of the 36 golfers is McClelland, who lost his left leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident in 1985 in Nova Scotia.

He got involved in disabled sports in 1989, when McClelland, who was in the military, was transferred to British Columbia. But it’s wasn’t golf he played initially.

“I was ski-racing and some of them (the athletes), they also golfed,” McClelland said. “So I also got involved with golf.

“I just like competing, going to tournaments. Golf is a great social event where you meet some wonderful people and they stay friends for years and years and years.”

But it does have its challenges for an amputee golfer.

“Golf is not always played on a flat surface,” McClelland said. “Trying to keep your balance on a difficult shot when you are not on a flat surface is a challenge.”

With the loss of his left leg, it means the right-handed golfer has his weight ending up on his prosthetic leg.

“Golfing with one leg can be difficult because the weight transfer sometimes is not there,” he said.

He knows his way around the course – especially River’s Edge, where he plays and is a starting marshal.

McClelland will play in the over 60 years division – the super-seniors.

Last year he was third in Canada in the seniors division – less than 60. He was second in the United States championships in the senior division.

He estimates he is at about a 12 handicap.

“Not bad, but I was down to single digits for a while but I tore my rotator cuff and had to have it repaired about four years ago,” McClelland said. “I was waiting 2 ½ years to come back.”

The tourney will be the first world-ranking tournament held in Canada.

“That is why we have a gentleman with CP (cerebral palsy) coming from the United States, we have the para-golfer,” he said.

McClelland helped bring the tournament to Okotoks, after it was cancelled in Winnipeg.

“They asked me if I could hold it Alberta and it was kind of a scramble but we have it set up and now we are trying to get as much exposure out there,” he said.

There is a practice round on Aug. 13 and then the tournament on Aug. 14.

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Bruce Campbell

About the Author: Bruce Campbell

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