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First Swing teaches golf to those with limb loss

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Brian Hyson, of Mineral Wells, is golfing for the first time at the First Swing golf event on Friday.

VIENNA — Community members with limb loss and other physical challenges worked on the golf range Friday afternoon to learn how to golf or how to return to the game of golf.

The event was hosted by Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics at the Parkersburg Country Club.

First Swing Learn to Golf, a program of the National Amputee Golf Association, offered a morning session for area therapists (PTs, OTs, RTs), golf teaching pros and anyone with an interest in adaptive recreation.

The clinic included classroom instruction and hands-on driving range work.

Scott Davidson, a professional golf instructor at the country club, said, “Here at the club, we work with golfers of all ages and abilities. It was really exciting to be able to expand my teaching knowledge and capabilities to include helping those with prosthetics.”

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Mitch Forrester, of Parkersburg, tries golf for the first time. Forrester said he enjoyed it and might decide to golf again.

Balance, grip, range of motion, adaptive equipment and techniques were worked on during the day’s instruction.

“I didn’t realize there were different levels with prosthetics that will each have a different effect on the person, so I learned to take each on a case by case basis to figure out how best to help them,” Davidson said.

With each swing, people were given hope.

“I used to be an avid golfer and used to play at the club three times a week,” said Jerry McCarter.

McCarter lost his leg five years ago.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Jenn Wagner, of Chillicothe, Ohio, lost her hand while serving in the military. She volunteers with other groups to do adaptive sports such as kayaking and skiing.

“My son still really likes to golf, and today went better than I expected it to,” he said.

“It’s quite encouraging; maybe now I will take some time to get out and play some rounds with my son,” McCarter said.

Davidson, who was walking around working with attendees individually, said he would like to encourage those with limb loss and other physical challenges who want to play golf to do so.

“We will work with you, and can figure out a way to make it happen,” he said.

One of the participants, Brian Hyson, who lost both his legs while working on a tire shredder, was trying out golf for the first time.

“I never played before but you will never know if you can or can’t do something until you have tried it and had the right attitude while doing it,” he said.

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