To start allow me to point out that my left arm was impacted more severely than any other physical part in the aftermath of my injury. The connection from my brain through my arm to my fingers has been drastically impacted as a result. My fingers are constantly clenched into a fist and cramp easily due to the brain involuntarily telling the hand and wrist to squeeze with all its might. My arm has limited movement, and suffers from extreme spasticity with even the simplest of movements.
So before we even get to the first tee, picture this…Getting my left hand wrapped around the club grip is one matter, but getting a glove on my left hand is a completely different animal! I must wear a glove because after 9 holes the blisters between my thumb and index finger go from noticeable to painful to agonizing to unbearable. I’ve tried everything from gauze and tape to gloves with the fingers removed to get my hand in. At the end of the day, nothing worked. Playing 18 holes has been downright miserable for seven years. Until this year when a friend of mine asked me a simple question…”Did you ever try swinging with just your right arm”? Answer: No!
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When you’re in the hospital, everyone around you has something wrong so you tend to almost flaunt your war wounds. Well, the second I was once again put into everyday society, I became extremely self-conscious of how I carried myself physically in public. I didn’t want people looking at me and wondering what happened to me. I went to extremes to conceal my head, leg, and scar on my head. I don’t have good rationale about all this. It’s simply how I felt at the time.
So on a golf course of all places I didn’t want anyone staring at me or asking the typical “What happened to him?” question that I always know passes through people’s minds that don’t know me.
I played two rounds in early June this year with the same result as years past. Both rounds were torture. My hand was ripped apart and the day on the course turned miserable after nine holes. So two weeks after the final agonizing round, I threw my clubs in my back seat and headed for the driving range. I bought a medium bucket of balls and began warming up with my driver swinging right hand only. It was an extremely odd and uncomfortable feeling at first but then I said, “the hell with it”, I teed one up and gave it a rip. The ball traveled 60 yards in the air–dead straight! That was a fluke…Well, twenty balls later I was on to something! And, yes, there were a couple whiffs and shanks and hooks and slices. My back swing had to be slowed down drastically to ensure solid contact and stability. But the ball got lift and went straight. Before or after the surgery–MY DRIVER BALL SELDOM WENT STRAIGHT! EVER!!!
Now, the give/get here is that I may sacrifice 20-100 yards off my ball, but my hand doesn’t hurt and the ball progresses straight because I can follow through on the ball and roll my wrist during follow through. And as I experimented with other irons and woods in my bag, I found the same result. This was a huge success!
Three thoughts buzzed through my head as I loaded my clubs back in the car and left that parking lot.
*No one cares if you swing with two arms or one arm or your feet for that matter! It’s the reason why driving ranges exist–to improve your game!
*My left hand would never have to endure the pain of gripping the club again.
*Although at times we all have resentment towards my neurosurgeon for the outcome of my surgery, I’ve gotta hand it to the guy…he corrected the biggest struggle of my game…Hitting the ball straight!