| How to Enter | 2010 | 2009 | Pre-register On-line |

Pages 20-30 From Winter 2010 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email joestine@floridagolfmagazine.com Subscribe at floridagolfmagazine.com/subscribe



The 2009 Florida Open Golf Tournament for Golfers with Disabilities and/or Mobility Challenges

by Joe Stine
        Golf has long been known for its ability to heal, the mind, body and spirit. Nowhere is this made more apparent than at the Florida Open Golf Tournament for Golfers with Disabilities and/or Mobility Challenges.
        The 2009 open tournament was very much an inspiring success and a lot of fun for everyone involved. The annual open tournament took place on June 14th, 2009, and for the fourth year in a row was hosted by the generous folks at Kissimmee Bay Country Club.
        A diverse group of golfers showed up and participated, rallying to raise awareness for the accessibility issues concerning golfers with disabilities and/or mobility challenges, but more importantly they came to have fun while playing golf. Participants of the 4th annual tournament included golfers of all levels of abilities as well as disabilities.
        As in previous years, several members of the prestigious Eastern Amputee Golf Association competed in the 2009 open tournament, some of whom wore prosthetics and some who didn’t. But make no mistake; this all inclusive tournament was not just for amputees. There was also an eclectic collection golfers participating that were mobility challenged from the effects of such conditions as strokes and paraplegia.
        In a conscious effort to be all-inclusive, golfers without disabilities were encouraged to play in the open tournament, along with their friends with disabilities, and were eligible to compete for the Overall and Low Gross Awards. Everyone with a USGA Handicap was also eligible to compete for the Low Net Awards. As always the player with the lowest gross got the honor of having their name inscribed on the permanent open tournament trophy.
        Sponsored by Florida Golf Magazine with some initial ‘much needed’ guidance provided by the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, the goal of the open tournament is to “have fun playing golf, while raising awareness of accessibility issues concerning golfers with disabilities and/or mobility challenges.”
        The National Alliance for Accessible Golf (accessgolf.org) is an organization focused on the inclusion of people with disabilities into the game of golf. The Alliance is administered by a Board of Directors representing the major golf industry organizations in the United States. These organizations provide services for people with disabilities, and individuals and others who advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities into society.
        Kissimmee Bay Country Club should be commended for being at the forefront of this type of event. Kissimmee Bay Country Club‘s owner, Bill Stine, who is a former president of the Florida Golf Course Owners Association told us that Accessibility for mobility challenged golfers is considered ‘business as usual’ at Kissimmee Bay.

(Sitting on left) Port Orange resident and stroke survivor, Jim Sylvester was sponsored in the open tournament by The Golf Club at Cypress Head.

The Golf Club at Cypress Head sponsored a golfer in the 2009 open tournament.

        The Golf Club at Cypress Head, an Arthur Hills designed municipal course in Port Orange, Florida, should also be commended for their part in sponsoring a golfer in the 2009 Florida Open Tournament for Golfers with Disabilities.
        When asked about the company check that was used to pay the tournament’s fifty-dollar entry fee, Jim Sylvester, (pictured above sitting with his wife and friends) a stroke victim and an avid golfer from Port Orange said “The folks that run the Golf Club at Cypress Head are very conscientious of mobility issues concerning seniors and golfers with disabilities. This was the fourth year in a row that they have sponsored a player in the open tournament.
        The Golf Club at Cypress Head deserves special recognition for sponsoring a player in each of the four annual events.


‘Bridgeburg Golf, makers of ‘The Turf Chopper’ single rider golf cart, helped to raise awareness by sposoring the 2009 Florida Open for Golfers with Disabilities.

Charles Brugh, aka “Brew” competed in the 2009 Florida Open Golf Tournament for Golfers with Disabilities and/or Mobility Challenges and very much inspired everyone he met, especially the tournament champion, Ian Halliwell.

Written in late 2007 as part of a successful grant request from the Challenged Athletes Foundation:

        I, Charles Manning Brugh, am a survivor of a near-fatal automobile accident that left me with severe “permanent” brain damage. As a Traumatic Brain Injury survivor (comatose 2 weeks), I‘ve been forced to rebuild my entire persona – mind, body, and soul. Of my own volition, by promoting and enhancing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, I have determined how to affect the wholesale remapping and restructuring of my intricate neural network. I use diverse adaptive athletics and copious independent study to effect phenomenal neurologic regeneration. Essential to sustained rehabilitative success is physical, psychological, and cognitive fitness. Inherent multiple challenges of adaptive sport promote health and fitness in these critical attributes concurrently. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) continues to challenge in ways I never knew possible. I spend an inordinate amount of time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, pain, and money rehabilitating my cognitive, physical, and spiritual health. Am I "all better"? Far from it. However, I continually improve – with limitless potential.
        Adaptive sport is phenomenal therapy. Substantially enhancing quality of life, the athletic challenges of adaptive sport are central to my determined efforts to prevail over near-fatal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Extensive and diverse, my expansive personal experience with adaptive sport and purposeful outdoor endeavors span nearly two decades. Since my motor vehicle accident of 21 March 1990, my athletic/therapeutic repertoire includes:
Adaptive Golf – Adaptive Water Skiing/Knee boarding – Sailing; in 2004 I lived on a 100ft, hand-built, 3-masted, wooden tall-ship for 5 months anchored in the ports of Jonesport, Rockland, and (briefly) Cutler, Maine – Climbing walls (indoor & outdoor) – Multi-day bicycling tours – Sea-kayaking trips – White water rafting trips (multi-day) – Canoeing trips (multi-day) – Camping (throughout central and north Florida, Michigan, and the Colorado Rockies) – Horseback Riding – Adaptive Surfing – High & Low Ropes Courses – Fishing (fresh water and salt water) – Off-road Mountain Biking – Rock Climbing – Parasailing – Adaptive Alpine Skiing – Wheelchair Rugby (Brooks Bandits/United States Quad Rugby Association – Atlantic South Division) - Wheelchair Tennis (First Coast Tennis Foundation/Brooks Wheelchair Tennis League) – Competitive Handcycling – Adaptive Rowing (Jacksonville University/Brooks Adaptive Sport and Recreation Program)
        Neurophysical skill needed to compete in adaptive sport is extensive, and, at times, overwhelming – particularly for a Traumatic Brain Injury survivor such as myself; timing, eye-hand coordination, balance, information processing, fine and gross-motor skills, communication, visual-spatial relations, attention, judgment, memory, perception, and reaction-time are all required cognitive abilities. With enough purposeful effort, repetition, and focused attention, cognitive and neuromuscular skills are reacquired and enhanced. I am rarely satisfied – constantly I raise the bar. I fondly refer to this as my ‘achievement addiction’. While I never subject others to the same level of scrutiny, in any endeavour I hold myself to the highest of standards. I am my own worst critic. I am my own best critic.
        I possess an aggressive spirit. I am also highly competitive. For the first 17 years, multiple physical and cognitive deficits necessitated competition primarily against myself in unrelenting efforts to rewire and reconstruct my being. For nearly two decades, I have used adaptive sport to promote and enhance neuroplasticity and neurogenesis in my traumatically injured brain. I have progressed to a point my rehabilitative focus again includes competition against other athletes. Competition brings out the best in me. Training, rehabilitation, and competition are complementary endeavors. For this reason, athletic training, practice, and competition are central to my continued rehabilitation. I now practice and compete with others challenged by disability – fantastic! Coupling self-directed neuroplasticity with the diverse cognitive and physical challenges of adaptive sport, I am overcoming severe, “permanent” brain damage to a degree few thought possible. I make remarkable progress applying my God-given intelligence, talents, and tenacious determination, to many adaptive sports. The life we lead creates the brain we have.
Charles M. Brugh

“Addressing the needs of golfers with disabilities is more than just the right thing to do, it's good business.”

        Making an investment in golfers with disabilities is a hot new trend in the business world. According to the 2002 census bureau report, one in five U.S. residents has a disability. That’s about 18% of the U.S. population or 51.2 million people. More and more people, such as inventors, designers and golf course owners, are making an effort to address the needs of golfers with disabilities. This tournament lets everyone have a lot of fun while raising awareness of those issues.

        One innovative company that has helped to raise awareness of the issues concerning golfers that are mobility challenged, by sponsoring the 2009 all inclusive open tournament is Bridgeburg Golf. (www.bridgeburggolf.com)
        The compassionate folks at Bridgeburg Golf are the makers of the ‘Turf Chopper’; a new three wheeled single rider electric golf cart that weighs only 150 lbs. This new addition to the golf cart arena is compact, quiet, affordable and easy to operate. (See the full-page ad on the back cover.) Not by coincidence the name was chosen because its unique design resembles a three-wheel motorcycle “chopper”. But that’s where the comparison ends.
        Billed as “a next generation golf cart,” the Turf Chopper has revolutionized the single-rider concept that is beginning to reshape the industry, and priced at less than $2000, it offers a cart that’s price-point is far below many current options available.
        Weighing in at a mere 150 pounds without rider and clubs, the cart exerts less weight per square inch than conventional and other single rider carts and leaves no discernible footprint. This is a definite plus for greens-keepers and course maintenance.
        Many Florida golf courses, like Kissimmee Bay Country Club, will now allow golfers with disabilities to ride these types of lightweight single rider carts onto the putting greens. For many mobility challenged golfers it is the only way they can get out and play golf.
        The tournament director and the GM of Bridgeburg Golf, both rode Turf Chopper single rider golf carts in the 2009 open tournament and they performed flawlessly.
        Born out of necessity, the Turf Chopper’s inventor experienced debilitating back pain while playing his favorite game. He loved golf but said walking 18 holes was out of the question and riding in a conventional cart only made matters worse. Being determined and resourceful, he set out to build a cart that would adapt to his needs; after several attempts the prototype for the first Turf Chopper came to fruition.
        In 2010 Bridgeburg Golf will once again be a sponsor of the Florida Open For Golfers With Disabilities and/or Mobility Challenges. They have commited to bring a dozen Turf Chopper’ single rider golf carts for players to use during the tournament. The 5th annual open tournament will be played at PGA Village on August 28, 2010 at the prestigious PGA Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Virgil Price, a St Petersburg resident and Treasurer of the National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA), dominated the inaugural tournament in 2006, winning 1st Place overall, scoring a gross 72 on the challenging 18 holes at Kissimmee Bay.

Mike Hudson shot a 75 to win 1st place Overall in the 3rd Annual Florida Open Tournament for Golfers with Disabilities and/or Mobility Challenges held on 7/14/08. Born with only one hand, Mike Hudson is a Volunteer Golf Instructor in Pasco County.

Tampa resident, Monroe Berkman, a polio surviver, won the 2007 Florida Open Tournament for Golfers with Disabilties, playing every shot, including sandtraps from his SoloRider Adaptive Golfcar. Berkman, who shot 80 had no problems hitting out of the bunkers using his stand-up seat to support him during his full golf swing.

Stroke survivor, Ian Halliwel came all the way from England and shot a 74 to win 1st Place Low Gross in the 2009 Florida Open Tournament for Golfers with Disabilties and/ or Mobility Challenges. Now his name is also permenantly inscribed on the prestigous Open tournament trophy.

Bridgeburg Golf GM, Mike Mazza presented the open tournament trophy to the 2009 1st Place Winner, Ian Halliwell.

        For some of the participants the annual golf tournament is a chance to look within and hopefully widen the scope of their abilities. For others it’s more of an opportunity to look outside of their own selves and learn by focusing on the issues concerning their fellow golfers. Stroke survivor, and this year’s 1st place winner, Ian Halliwell did a little of both.
        Ian Halliwell who had initially lost the use of the left side of his body, due to a stroke, said that he was most positively influenced and encouraged to win by his playing partner in the tournament who was a Traumatic Brain Injury survivor. “I am humbled in his presence,” said Halliwell of his playing partner, Charles Brugh. “I hope we remain good friends, in good health, and that I can be a little part of his continued remarkable story.
        Meeting people like Charles (aka Brew) makes my campaign to raise stroke awareness all the more worthwhile. I hope that he his able to join up with me when I hit Florida on my Round the World Trip next year.”
        Halliwell who had come all the way from the U.K. to play in the tournament, shot the ‘Low Gross’ score of 74 to win 1st Place in the all inclusive, 2009 open tournament. Now his name is permanently inscribed on the prestigious open tournament trophy along with the three previous winners.
        Ian Halliwell, has dedicated a large portion of his life to raising stroke awareness by telling others how his recovery was facilitated by golf. Ian also has spent a great deal of his time tirelessly fund-raising around the world for The Stroke Association. (www.stroke.org.uk) by organizing celebrity tournaments and by publishing a book entitled ‘The Social Golfer’.
        The Social Golfer started as a travel and golfing journal published to raise funds for The Stroke Association and grew to include the Social Golfer web-site and blog (thesocialgolfer.blogspot.com) where you can follow Ian's tireless fund-raising golf trips around the world.

                        The Social Golfer, by Ian Halliwell

        Prior to his stroke in December 2006, at age 48, Ian was an avid golfer and had enjoyed many golfing trips to the Costas, Tenerife, Tunisia, and South Africa. Playing to a handicap of eight, he still harbored dreams of retiring and trying for his card on the Seniors Tour, but those dreams were dashed just days before Christmas of 2006 when he suffered a major stroke which caused total disability to the left side of his body, leaving him unable to speak or move.
        “I still have aches and pains,” says Halliwell in his book. “My left side is still slow in relation to the rest of my body. My leg causes grief periodically. When asked by the doctor how I feel, I usually reply, ‘Uncomfortable, not ill,’ to which he often replies, ‘We cannot do anything about discomfort, it comes with the territory.’
        Later in his book Halliwell, who went from an 8 handicap before his stroke to a 17 handicap after his stroke said, “With golf, my swing is now much more secure without the rotating hips of my left side.” He also states, “Golf is such a big part of my life and has been the catalyst for much of my recovery.”
        In regard to the stress of taking golf too seriously, Ian now says, “Since my stroke, my golf game has not worsened at all. Indeed, because of my medication, I presume, I no longer fret over four footers. I simply hit and if it goes in, that’s great, if not, so what. My score is irrelevant. I now play the way the elders intended golf to be played. You start at A and end up at B and play wherever it rests in the meantime, with no drops, and no preferred lies. Seven is not a dirty number, taking seven is better than not playing at all.
        I love playing and being in the company of good players - you cannot fail to admire their skill and technique. Mulligans,” he goes on to say, “are a thing of the past. Every shot is important; you never know, it could be your last so enjoy it.”
        Halliwell’s book details his amazing and inspirational recovery and return to the golf course after just over a year. The book also details how he is heeding Pro Golfer, Bernard Hunt’s sage advice to “become the best damn social golfer on the planet”.
        "I know that there are many people out there who feel beaten by a stroke,” says Halliwell in his book. “Progress can be so slow and frustrating that it often seems easier to just give up. Golf helped me focus on my recovery and I’m hoping that my journal will help others find their own motivator."
        So far ‘The Social Golfer’ has raised over £20,000 for The Stroke Association, and has just been added to Amazon and WHSmith’s on-line stock and all profits are being donated directly to The Stroke Association.

Around The World in 80 Days: 2010 a Golf Odyssey
        As an experienced charity author, Ian will be following in the footsteps of the Jules Verne character Phileas Fogg in 2010 with an exciting announcement of his next major fund-raising event. Around The World in 80 Days: 2010 a Golf Odyssey is the latest plan by the golf enthusiast to raise money for charity.
        Ian, who has already raised over £20,000 for The Stroke Association, plans to travel the world from January 2010 to March 2010 playing golf at some of the most illustrious golf courses in an attempt to continue raising much-needed funds for both The Stroke Association and The Multiple Sclerosis Society.
        “Both The Stroke Association and The Multiple Sclerosis Society have been extremely helpful to myself and my family,” stated Ian. “We received invaluable support from The Stroke Association following my stroke in December 2006, and want to help raise funds for The Multiple Sclerosis Society in recognition of my wife Karen’s illness.”
        Ian’s literary skills will again be in use as he intends to write a follow up to his recently published book, The Social Golfer, which will be documenting the trip but also rating the different golf courses he plays.
        “I will be fortunate enough to play at courses such as the Ko lau Golf Club in Haiwai and the legendary Pebble Beach and Cypress Point Golf course as well as competing in The Wrest Point Masters in Tasmania and The Edwin Watts Tour in Florida,” said Ian. “And I would like to share my experiences with other people as well as following the Social Golfer format by rating each course, and of course, all proceeds raised will be donated to charity.”

Excerpts from ‘The Social Golfer’ Blog www.thesocialgolfer.blogspot.com
        The Social Golfer is a travel and golf journal, web-site, and blog written by avid golfer and stroke survivor, Ian Halliwell, about his recovery and tireless fund-raising around the world for The Stroke Association. (www.stroke.org.uk)

Written Tuesday, 23 June 2009
        Last year I was most fortunate to play in the 2008 event at the magnificent Kissimmee Bay Country Club. This event features golfers from all over the USA with a variety of handicaps that have amazingly not stopped them participating in – and more importantly – enjoying golf. They epitomize all I try to ensure the Social Golfer promotes: total enjoyment and social interaction through golf.
        I was fortunate to be in a foursome with two winners: Mike Hudson, a low handicapper with just one arm, and Renee Russo a sprightly golfer with a prosthetic leg following an amputation when she was a young lady in her 20s. I met many golfers with significant physical handicaps; double amputees mixed with fellow stroke victims and heart attack patients. The event encompasses all that is good about golf and is the perfect remedy when I occasionally still feel sorry for myself.

Getting encouragement on the way around
        So, it was with great pleasure and anticipation that I returned on Saturday for this year’s competition. Last year the event had over 40 participants, sadly this years was less well supported, partly I think because of the oppressive heat wave we are currently enjoying. I guess even for these most-keen of golfers, 18-holes in 100 degree temperatures and intense humidity is not pleasurable. Still, the course was in pristine condition and all set for a magnificent day’s golf. I was in a threesome with Tom, a retired American History teacher from The Villages, in North Florida. Naturally I asked him what history! Tom had sadly lost his leg over 40 years earlier in a freak accident (in the 8th grade) playing gridiron. A lifetime without a limb. Still it ensured I did not moan about my stiff left leg.

The true spirit of golf and how to overcome difficulties
        Tom was very keen and competitive and an enjoyable companion during the round: he pushed me to deliver all the way. Our third member was a young man called Brew, who had been involved in an automobile accident 19 years-ago. He was still being treated and had obviously been in quite a bad way and had only recently taken up golf to supplement his ongoing recovery. He played the entire round and each shot with an enthusiasm I found spiritually fulfilling, I became his unofficial caddy, reading putts, recommending clubs and generally encouraging this remarkable young man.
        It has been said life and a round of golf can be compared to an amusement park: each hole and each day are different but there to be enjoyed. Brew clearly had more than his share of ups and downs, and difficult times, but I have rarely completed a round feeling quite as content as I did this one and that was before the score. Brew now knows many English golfing terms including: hit it hard... find it... hit it hard again… whack it... cracker… give it a welly...
        Because I was so relaxed and the course set up particularly lenient in view of the difficulties some players would have (and bear in mind all the events I had played were off championship tees) suddenly playing off the front tees made the course so much easier. I shot 40 out and with the aid of two chip-ins on the back nine level par 35 for 75, to finish the winner by 6 shots. The main source of my success was the support given by both my partners and organizer Joe Stine who all constantly encouraged me during the round as they realized I was in contention.
        I gave a gift of my book to all competitors and had a book signing after the cup presentation. The book was well received by all. Whilst unbelievably proud to become the 4th winner and first overseas champion, I will take from this day far more than a golf success. My sincerest hope is that on that day I encouraged Brew to continue his golf journey. I hope to keep in touch and anticipate the pleasure he will have if and when he breaks 100.

“Brew” (Charles Brugh)
        Finally, I leave this trip with the story of the guy who inspired me most. I thought I had it difficult till I read this, and I offer it as encouragement to all individuals who suffer illness and disability, and to all of us who are feeling down because of the economic climate as a reality check as to what is important. From Brew:

        “I'm unclear what I’ve told you previously about me and my injuries (I have declarative & procedural memory deficits). Your remarkable recovery from stroke is truly inspiring. I am amazed and impressed. I have already directed a stroke survivor’s family to your web-site (the stroke survivor is still unable to communicate). Like you, the survivor was an avid golfer pre-stroke.
        I always enjoy any activity in which I choose to participate. Having said that, I’d like to explain my additional motivations for avid participation in adaptive athletics in general, and specifically the great sport of golf (!) I am a severe Traumatic Brain Injury survivor. Due to diffuse axonal shearing, MOST structures in my complex neural network were greatly impaired. Resulting from a near-fatal automobile accident in March of 1990, I've used diverse adaptive athletics to recover from MASSIVE brain damage for almost two decades.
        For the last 19+ years I’ve retaught myself to walk, talk, swallow, feed myself, bathe myself, read, write, THINK, I was legally blind for a period, I was paralyzed from the neck down at one point, the eclectic list is long and sordid. I have no doubt your experience with stroke produced similar challenges.
        I’m rebuilding my once decimated brain, neuron by neuron – synapse by synapse. I am doing so through copious independent study on numerous topics, and ardent participation in multiple diverse athletics. Rigorous engagement in adaptive sport promotes regrowth of neurons (neurogenesis) and rewiring (neuroplasticity) of my once decimated brain.
        Written in late 2007 as part of a successful grant request from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the aforementioned document is as concise a summary as I can write about my journey pursuing excellence through adaptive sport.
        I attempted golf soon after I was released from the rehabilitation hospital. In ’91-’92 the golf swing was far too complex for my damaged brain to comprehend, let alone execute! I have worked, hard, for the last 19+ years to rehabilitate so I may return to the great sport of golf.
        A multi-sport athlete, I could have chosen to apply for a number of 'tools' (sports equipment) to further my neurologic rehabilitation. I chose golf. Armed with a generous Challenged Athletes Foundation equipment grant, I selected, and was custom fit, for 2008 Ping G10's. As a survivor of severe brain trauma, the great game of golf is a pinnacle of mind/body integration. The Florida Open for Golfers with Disabilities, in which I had my #1 English caddy guiding and encouraging me, marked my official return to golf.
        I consider golf the equivalent of a graduate degree from a prestigious university for neurologic rehabilitation. Though an avid golfer pre-TBI, I know I’m a ‘newbie’ to golf and have much to relearn and perfect. I’m thrilled, after almost two decades of intense rehabilitation, to have finally begun my reintroduction to golf. I intend to go as far as I can through golf.
        As you can see in the aforementioned document, my experience with adaptive sport as therapeutic modality is extensive and diverse. The title sums up my use of adaptive sport to pursue rehabilitative excellence. Though I have much to relearn, I have (finally) reached a point where I may again pursue the great game of golf! ‘The life we lead creates the brain we have’.

Charles Manning Brugh, AKA ‘Brew’

        Without incredible challenge, a person is unable to achieve incredible success. This I am sure you will all agree is a tremendous story and truly reflects what the human body and mind can achieve. My achievements pale into insignificance. I am humbled in his presence, I hope we remain good friends, in good health, and that I can be a little part of his continued remarkable story.
        Meeting people like Charles (aka Brew) makes my campaign for stroke awareness all the more worthwhile. I hope that he his able to join up with me when I hit Florida on my Round the World Trip next year.

Ian Halliell, ‘The Social Golfer’ June 2009

Don’t miss The next Florida Open for Golfers with Disabilities and/or Mobility Challenges!

        For more info you can view the entry form on-line at: www.floridagolfmagazine.com/open or call Florida Golf Magazine at 863-227-2751.

Pages 20-30 From Winter 2010 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email joestine@floridagolfmagazine.com Subscribe at floridagolfmagazine.com/subscribe

| How to Enter for 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | Pre-register On-line |