When 22 year-old golf fanatic Danie Calitz was hit in the eye by a stone while practicing two years ago, he gained a whole new perspective on his game and his life. (Picture: EPC founder Danie Calitz and Mark Brummer with legendary SA-born golf champion Sally Little as Patron.)
Handicapping took on a completely new meaning when he was suddenly left half blind. But, what he took to be a dreaded hindrance turned into a broader, more positive outlook. He created the Eye Patch Golf Challenge, a golf tournament to motivate disabled sportsmen.
Calitz now envisages a new future, bright with possibility and challenge. He is studying golf management, and also coaches disabled school children at First Swing Clinics – a project of the SA Disabled Golfers Association (SADGA).
Level playing field
Able-bodied people take so much for granted. Normal everyday tasks become mountains for people with a disability, who overcome them with sheer determination. The idea is to level the playing field by all players wearing the eye patch during an entire round.
The first tournament on 13 April at the Pretoria Country Club attracted disabled golfers ranging from amputees and paraplegics to stroke victims and the deaf. The only requirement was that they could grip a club and hit the ball. All able-bodied golfers had to wear an eye patch for the entire round of golf. (Picture: Amputee Anton Roux, EPC founder Danie Calitz and SA Disabled Golfers Association Executive Director Eugene Vorster.)
The tournaments are also a means of presenting golf as an enjoyable form of rehabilitation and recreation for the disabled.
The Eye Patch Challenge consists of three first-round regional tournaments at Pretoria Country Club (13 April) and Parkview Golf Club (19 April) and De Zalze, Stellenbosch (28 May 2007).