If you've wanted to golf but found it too difficult due a physical disability, or if you've golfed in the past but don't anymore because you find it too difficult due to a life-changing event such as an amputation or stroke, then there is a golf clinic that will help you get back in swing.
Golf clinics for people with physical challenges will be offered Wednesday and again on June 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Minot's Souris Valley Golf Course. The clinics are for new golfers who want to try the sport, but have found it too difficult due to a physical disability, and experienced golfers who gave up the game because of a life-changing event such as an amputation or stroke.
Adults age 18 and older are welcome to attend one or both sessions. Physical therapists and golf professionals will be on hand to provide instruction for each person to learn to accommodate their golf style to allow for maximum potential on the golf course. There is no charge to attend the clinic.
Golf pro Steve Kottsick demonstrates how the SoloRider, an accessible golf cart for people who are physically challenged, works at the Souris Valley Golf Course. There will be two clinics offered at the golf course for people with physical challenges on Wednesday and again on June 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. There is no fee to attend the clinics and clubs will be provided for those who do not have their own.
Golf pro Steve Kottsick said he decided to offer the clinics to open up opportunities for more people to learn how to play golf. Sometimes people with physical challenges are overlooked, he said.
The clinics were the brainstorm of physical therapist Reed Argent, Kottsick said. A friend of Kottsick's recently had a stroke and Kottsick wondered when his friend would be able to play again, but Kottsick gave full credit to Argent for the idea.
The plan was to hold the clinics last year, Kottsick noted, but everything got mixed up with the flood, so this is the first year the clinic will be offered and they're looking forward to it. Once they find out how many people are interested in the clinic, then it will be moved to the Jack Hoeven Wee Links golf course, but for now it will be at the driving range at the Souris Valley Golf Course.
As of right now, there are the two clinics scheduled in June, but Kottsick said depending on the response, they might offer another clinic in late summer. The plan is also to make the golf clinics an annual event, he added. People can also take private golf lessons if they're interested.
Everyone will be taught on an individual basis, Kottsick said, so he and Argent will figure out what to do with the individual to get him or her to be able to play.
"If the person has a weakness in their left hand, we'll adapt to that," he said. "We'll learn with each other."
Kottsick thinks it will be a learning experience for all of them. He also said that if someone is apprehensive and just wants to watch, he or she can do that.
Available for use at the clinics will be a SoloRider, an accessible golf cart for people who are physically challenged. The Souris Valley Golf Course received a $10,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Quality of Life Foundation through the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities and were able to buy the SoloRider golf cart with. Kottsick said that Minot Junior Golf chipped in for some of the cost of the golf cart, too.
Kottsick and Argent will be the ones teaching the clinics. Kottsick said he doesn't think they'll get a ton of people who sign up, but there will be other people to help if need be. He's hoping for a half-dozen people, though, and there's been some interest shown already.
Teaching people to play golf is not difficult, Kottsick said, but it is a two-way street.
"If we show someone something and the person knows a better way, then we'll go with that way. More power to them," he said.
The rewards from teaching someone how to play golf come in the form of smiles and the satisfaction out of doing something the person hasn't done before, Kottsick said.
It's important for people with physical challenges to participate in the clinics, he said, because it keeps them active and gets them outdoors. It also gives them a chance to adjust so they can do what they did before the injury or illness.
"Unless you try, you never know what you can do," Kottsick said.
To register or for more information about the golf clinics, people can contact Kottsick at 240-0593 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Argent at 721-3344 or email@example.com. In case of inclement weather, participants are encouraged to call Kottsick or Argent after 3 p.m. the day of the clinic.