Blue skies and great company. It was the perfect combination as the Gaylord Hospital Sports Association Annual Open teed off at the Farms Country Club in Wallingford.
The event is designed for golfers who have a disability due to an injury or illness. They compete in a two-person scramble on a nine-hole course.
“People with disabilities are just like anyone else, they want the same opportunities,” said Katie Joly, Sports Association Program Manager.
The thought was echoed by some of today’s players. Dave Allen underwent a below the knee leg amputation after sustaining a motorcycle injury in 2009. His golf partner, Mark Brengi lost his arm in a 2007 car accident.
“I like meeting a bunch of people that have different disabilities. All of us get together and have a good time,” said Allen. “No one really cares who wins or loses, everyone just goes out and hits the ball.”
It may sound like a simple action, but hitting the ball again is something George Aldridge never thought he would do. After multiple surgeries Aldridge lost his leg. It wasn’t until Gaylord Hospital provided him with an adaptive golf cart that he was able to get back on the links.
“The cart straps you in; it stands you up and takes the majority of the weight off of you so you can swing. It is really impressive,” said Aldridge.
“We don’t focus on the disability,” says Joly. “We show people what everyone can do.”
In total 20 golfers participated in today’s tournament. The winners were Mark Brengi and David Allen.
For more information on their programs visit www.gaylord.org.