Savannah, Ga. (WTGS FOX 28) — The BMH Adaptive Golf Experience started back in the summer of 2014. That’s when Andy Hinson, the golf pro at the Legends Golf Course at Parris Island, and Physical Therapist Steve Giammona met to kick start the program in Beaufort.
The golf clinics target veterans and civilians throughout the Lowcountry that have physical disabilities or challenges. “We see folks who have spinal cord injuries, who have had strokes, who have had amputations,” said Giammona. Area residents, like Glenn Blackburn, a Vietnam Army veteran who suffered a stroke is now part of the program. “I had a stroke four years ago that basically paralyzed my right side. When I could not move in a wheelchair, to four years later winning a championship in my flight, I owe all of that to Adaptive Golf” said Blackburn.
But, make no mistake, the program is not just about hitting a golf ball. “We are trying to look for those who have become isolated,
who feel like they are dealing with their disability on their own and there aren’t people like them out there,” said Giammona. Byron Heyward is a stroke survivor. He has been confined to a wheelchair for 28 years. “When I can actually get in the chair and it makes me stand, they actually have to tell me to sit down sometimes. ‘I’m not ready to sit down yet,’ I say!” said Heyward.
Through physical therapy and high tech equipment, the program is allowing those who battle traumatic brain injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, and even joint replacement to participate in outdoor activities. “I got to see a new way of teaching the game. We now have four Ottobock golf carts and these are golf carts that will allow them to actually come into an upright standing position and from that position they can swing almost like an able body golfer,” said Hinson. These clinics represent what is possible with the right care, the right interventions, and the right equipment. With the support of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital, local military organizations and civic organizations have allowed participants to return to an active life style.
If you would like more information about the Adaptive Golf Experience contact Steve Giammona at 843-522-5850 or via email.