If you've recently suffered an injury that has left you with a partially amputated limb, you may assume that your golfing days are long behind you as you relearn basic tasks. However, losing a limb doesn't mean giving up the game for good -- in fact, the National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA) boasts more than 2,500 amputee golfer members worldwide, many of whom take part in regional or national tournaments. You may need to make some modifications to your clubs, as well as invest in some new assistive equipment, but rejoining the golf world could be a goal within reach. Read on to learn more about some of the modifications your clubs may need, as well as some other tips you'll want to keep in mind when getting back out onto the links after a limb amputation.
What modifications will need to be made to your golf clubs if you're dealing with an arm or leg amputation?
Once you're feeling physically ready to try a few holes, you'll want to visit your nearest pro shop to have your old clubs refitted and regripped. If you've had a leg amputation, your stance may be slightly different than before, necessitating the shortening (or sometimes lengthening) of your clubs to allow you to swing normally. Those who are missing part of an arm may require a stabilizing device to be installed on the side of the club. Depending upon the function of your prosthesis, this stabilizing device can be as simple as a thin set of rods jutting from the side of the club to allow you to use your prosthesis as a grip or as complicated as a sophisticated device that "plugs in" to your prosthetic arm and provides you with the level of grip needed to follow through with your swing.
If you're interested in potentially returning to tournament play after you've gotten back into the swing of things, you'll be pleased to know that most assistive devices for amputee golfers are permitted under even the strict rules of the U.S. Golf Association. As long as your device (and prosthesis) don't place you at a clear advantage over your competitors, you'll be able to use them without requesting special permission or going through any other hassle.
What else should you keep in mind when returning to the golf game after your amputation?
Once you've gotten your modified clubs back, you'll be ready to hit the links. You may be nervous about your first experience as an amputee golfer, wondering whether you'll be able to perform even close to your pre-injury level without one of your limbs. You may want to investigate whether there is a program in your area targeted toward getting those with physical disabilities (including amputees) back into the golf game. These programs can help connect you with a golf instructor who is experienced in the art of driving, putting, and chipping while dealing with physical challenges and can give you tips on your stance or how you're shifting your weight.
You'll also want to avoid courses with deep bunkers or other major hazards until you've gotten more comfortable with your new swing. Climbing in and out of deep sand traps can be difficult if you have a prosthetic leg, and trying to chip out of a bunker can put strain on your amputated arm. Playing easier courses that can allow you to focus on your drive and your putting skills should be able to provide you with a gentler adjustment back into the world of golf and prevent you from becoming discouraged if you're not progressing as quickly as you'd like.
As a start, try contacting local golf equipment suppliers like The Golf Guys to see if they can help you find modified equipment.Share