‘A sense of belonging’: This adaptive golf clinic offers much more than just swing tips

As a child rising up outdoors Lawrence, Kan., Andreas Brandenberger pursued a slew of sports activities however felt no affinity for golf.

It wasn’t simply that he by no means performed.

“I additionally by no means noticed anybody who seemed like me taking part in golf,” he says.

That modified in 2010, shortly after he graduated from school, when Brandenberger stumbled throughout a social-media video of a person named George Utley hanging golf pictures with an extended membership secured below his truncated arms. Utley was born with phocomelia, a uncommon situation typically characterised by deformation of the limbs. For Brandenberger, who was born with the identical situation, the snippet was a supply of inspiration.

Andreas Brandenberger together with his customized golf equipment.

Leo Sens

“I assumed, ‘Man, I wish to try this,” he says. “And I’m a really decided particular person. Once I put my thoughts to one thing, I’m going for it.”

Via his alma mater, the College of Kansas, Brandenberger linked with a neighborhood club-maker, who normal him a set of prototype sticks, patterned on Utley’s. There was a studying curve. On his first journey to the vary, Brandenberger, whose arms finish slightly below his elbows, despatched a membership flying farther than the ball. What adopted, although, was a well-recognized story.

“One good shot, and I used to be hooked,” he says.

Now 36, Brandenberger stays and avid golfer and an lively member of a inhabitants with a rising presence within the recreation. Although organizations for disabled golfers have been round for many years (the Society of One-Armed Golfers dates to the early Thirties), solely in more moderen years has the adaptive golf movement gained a wider platform within the recreation’s mainstream. The 2nd U.S. Adaptive Openwhich will get underway at Pinehurst on Monday, is only one instance of the elevated alternatives and help for golfers with disabilities.

On a latest balmy Southern California morning, Brandenberger drove from his present house in San Diego to Los Angeles take part in one other outgrowth of the motion. On the primary Thursday of each month, Westchester Golf Course, a public facility a fast skip from LAX, phases the Angel Metropolis Sports activities adaptive golf clinic. The free clinic takes it identify from its founding group, Angel Metropolis Sports activities, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that gives year-round athletic alternatives for teenagers, adults and veterans with bodily disabilities and visible impairments. Over the course of the 90-minute classes at Westchester, attendees obtain skilled instruction. However the finer factors of method are solely a part of the attraction.

Contributors honing their video games throughout a latest clinic.

Leo Sens (each)

“It’s additionally about feeling a way of belonging and gaining a wider perspective,” Brandenberger says. “There are occasions once I get hung up desirous about my very own obstacles, however then I meet folks with their very own struggles and I develop into extra conscious of the issues I take without any consideration. Experiences like this open the thoughts to new prospects and expose you to all totally different walks of life.”

Brandenberger received’t be in the field this week at Pinehurst (for the needs of the U.S. Adaptive Open, he falls below the class of multiple-limb amputee, an intensely aggressive bracket, and he didn’t qualify this time round). However he has taken half in different adaptive occasions, together with the US Disabled Open Golf Championship, in Florida. Tournaments are nice, Brandenberger says. For him, although, golf is extra about neighborhood and camaraderie than it’s competitors.

“I grew up wanting totally different from all people round me,” he says. “Golf permits me to really feel a part of the group. If I will help present that feeling of belonging to even one different particular person, which means loads. It seems like I’m doing my very own small half.”

To study extra about Angel Metropolis Sports activities and its adaptive golf clinic, take a look at the video above or click on here.

Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, meals and journey author, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Journal contributor since 2004 and now contributes throughout all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Finest American Sportswriting. He’s additionally the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Enjoyable But: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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Revealed : 2023-07-10 13:00:20

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