Golf Clinic Helps Visually Impaired See Past Disability
By JORDAN SCHWARTZ, USGA
Matt McCue was used to overcoming the odds. Diagnosed with leukemia at 5, he eventually lost his sight due to a stroke, but didn’t give up. Instead, he found Envision, a not-for-profit in Wichita, Kan., that supports the visually impaired through employment, outreach, rehabilitation, education and research.
One of the programs Envision runs is a summer golf clinic that the USGA has helped fund three times since 2015 through its Alliance Grant Program. The clinic matches visually impaired golfers with mentors to learn the basics of the game.
“Aside from the physical benefits of playing golf, it gives these people an outlet for socialization and engagement with others,” said Bonnie Cochran, director of support programs for Envision.
The clinic began in 2011 as the brainchild of a child. Envision patient Andrew McLeod wanted to play golf like his dad, Brady, so he asked Cochran what she could do. The program director mentioned the idea to a volunteer named Manuela Nivia, who played at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School. Nivia asked her first coach if he’d teach the class.
“I said yes, and I haven’t been sorry for it one day,” said senior instructor Len Hudson. “I got a little panicked on the way to the first session because I had never taught visually impaired people before, but then I realized it was the same as anyone else: grip, stance and swing.”