“Good shot” exclaimed WJ, my son, as he stood watching me when I finally got back some ‘feel’ and could hit the golf ball with the 7 iron. Yes, we, including my dear wife, were at a golf driving range located near to our house and it was my first visit there since my loss of sight slightly more than a year ago. WJ, back home for a weekend break from Singapore, had been for the past few months talking and harping on me to psych myself back into golf. “Dad, let’s do it and make it happen!” said WJ last Sunday afternoon to me. Furthermore, he, too, need to hit some balls to improve and make adjustments to his swing. He has started to pick up the game after a long lay off due to his law studies. “Well, why not” I said, acknowledging that I certainly need more exercise to keep fit and this would be a good way to do it and at the same time enjoying the game that I liked playing before I lost my sight.
So, as I stepped into the driving range box onto the turf mat, I was staring into the world of darkness. However, with this new experience of going to the driving range, I did not get too nervous nor jittery despite being disorientated somewhat. WJ handed to me a sand wedge iron and I told him that I would utilize my mind mapping skills with the aid of my hearing sense and the golf iron club to probe, etc, in positioning myself in the correct direction for hitting the balls out into the open area. I was glad I was able to accomplish this task without much hassle. A simple and straightforward task to the sighted but a challenge to me now! I started to practice some golf swings with the sand wedge and it was not as simple as I thought it would be. The feeling of ‘off balance’ was being felt each time I took a swing and my body got tense. I soon learned to be more relaxed after several practice swings and decided then I should start hitting golf balls placed into position on the turf mat. Well, I needed assistance in the ball placement and also, in checking the club face position too. My dear wife was patient enough to help place and position the ball each time and advised me about the club face angle, etc. Again, with the ball in place, the whole scenario changed. It was so different from the earlier practice swings executed. I had to look down onto the ball to hit it during my downswing. It was a complete disaster for the first few shots. Either I missed hitting the ball or topped it, sending the ball rolling down the grass area. So, I then reminded myself to relax and hit the ball like I used to when I was sighted. Visualizing the ball in position, I was able to hit the ball quite well and after several balls, I started to enjoy it and had fun too. With the confidence gained, I switched over to the 7 iron to practice the shots and it was not too bad for a blind guy like me, taking a swing in the dark!
That was my first outing to the driving range and certainly, it will not be the last as there are still more different size clubs in the bag to work on. So I must continue to exercise determination and perseverance in achieving my goals! I may have lost my sight but I have not lost my vision
So much more challenging times ahead!