National Golf Day: Tiger Inspired Me From My Hospital Bed

Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports /

National Golf Day is a time to acknowledge how the game helps people like me find their way back from serious physical injury.

National Golf Day is giving me the opportunity to tell my story about how I found my way to the game. If I told you I have played golf for my entire life then I wouldn’t be completely honest with you. My story only goes back twelve years, which makes this story that more emotional considering the events that had to take place for me to even develop a love for the game itself.

In the early summer of 2005, I was involved in a near fatal auto accident that left me hospitalized for close to three months. My injuries were so severe that for nearly the first entire month I was bed-ridden and placed under a drug induced coma. Skull fracture, hip fracture, femur fracture, and a broken neck were eventually the main culprits of woes during recovery.

Before the accident I was a rather active human being, I had just reached my eighth year in the Navy, stationed on the aircraft carrier the USS George Washington. As healthy as I was, I was able to run and play basketball just like anyone else who had a clean bill of health. Unfortunately, those weren’t the cards I was dealt in the long run since I was laying up in the hospital for quite some time. I had to have an outlet that would fill what I couldn’t do anymore. Heck, at that time I didn’t even know what limits I would have after my full recovery.

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One Sunday I happened to be laying in the bed and came across the Open Championship and saw probably my first ever golf tournament on television. While as crazy as that might sound being 28 and still relatively familiar with most sports, I had only heard of Tiger in passing and how phenomenal of a golfer he was. I didn’t particularly care for golf at that time, but I was drawn to the way he was showing no fear on the course and how the announcers at the time would praise the round he had finished to win yet another major.

Five more years passed as I re-established my post-military life and reassessed what I was going to eventually do since the navy had booted me medically. I had still watched golf on television from time to time, but I wasn’t quite “hooked” yet. My wife and I happened to be at a yard sale when on a whim I went ahead and purchased a used set of clubs and told myself “you know maybe this is something I can do to fill my time, give me a little exercise, and get my competitive spirit back.”

I hadn’t ever swung a club before so I had signed up for a six lesson package at the local course. The first lesson was rough, but I eventually hit that “sweet spot” and that’s all it took for me to fall in love with this wonderful game.

Now I try and play as much as I can, but when you’re juggling a full time college schedule, working out at the gym, and being a husband, your time is consumed. What’s funny is that I keep telling myself that one day I’ll go out and break 100 and it never happens.

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Friends tell me that you’ve got to play this game for many years to get really good. But in the long run, I honestly don’t care about the scores. If I break 100 that’s great, but to me I just happen to really love this game.