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Golf: Why I Hate to Love It…

Golf and love are not two words that I often say together.  Ugh as a matter of fact just saying “golf” stresses me out.  I know, I know the big fans of the game say it’s relaxing and it’s fun and it’s great for networking and blah blah blah.  Not me.  I am more like Ted Knight in Caddyshack when he gets all frustrated and throws the golf club. I can barely make it through a session at the driving range let alone the chip and putt or the actual course!

Ted Knight in Caddyshack

My boys, however, LOVE golf.  Michael (16) and Mitchell (13) can’t see the course and they can’t see the ball (If you are new here, they are blind).  But their lack of  vision hasn’t held them back from trying any sport, and as their sports options have diminished over the years, golf has risen to the top of the list of sports they can still play, and play very well.

Although we have done some crazy stuff in our house with my blind and sighted kiddos, we did not just walk onto the golf course and give it a swing.  My guys actually learned golf with a group called Middle Atlantic Blind Golfers Association. Michael and Mitchell are in the Junior program.  At the outings and skill building events they are each paired up with a sighted coach that not only has to teach them and build upon  the fundamentals of the sport, the blind golfers rely heavily on the coach’s description of the hole, where the ball is, the surrounding area, etc.

Mitchell at the driving range

Since I am not a golfer, I had quite a few reservations when my guys started the program, and you might be wondering the same things I was: How would they hit the ball? How are they going to enjoy spending all day walking all over a course they cannot see? Are they really going to learn the sport or is this just going to be a time filler as other sports fade away? I can’t believe I ever had any reservations.

First of all, I don’t know who coined the phrase “older and wiser” because I feel like the older I get the more things I actually don’t know, so I am often in “research mode”.  Understanding how blind guys golf  was no exception.  So years ago when we first started tossing around the idea of golf for Michael and Mitchell, I scoured the internet for articles about this and chatted with lots of golfers. I heard from a few folks that some pros like to blindfold the golfers they coach to have them focus on their swing. Interesting. At the same time I was “conducting my research” my oldest son, Michael, was in elementary school and had chosen a new book to read called The Million Dollar Putt by Dan Gutman.  Back then I would often read the same books my kids were reading so we could discuss them.  I was so fortunate to read that book because it is about a young blind boy that takes up golf!

Michael at a blind golf outing

Fast forward to now and golf has given my boys an opportunity to learn and improve at a sport that so many people enjoy.  When they are out on the course with the blind golfing program, or at the local golf camp, and even participating in our annual golf outing, they open other people’s eyes to the fact that blind people can accomplish the same things as sighted people, they just tend to approach things a little differently.

And finally, a bonus perk of golf: although Michael is sixteen and cannot go for what most teens dream of, the driver’s license,  he does get to  take a turn at the wheel of the golf cart with his Dad coaching. Watch him:

So yes, I actually do love golf for all that the sport offers my boys.  But don’t expect to see me out on the course anytime soon – well, unless there is a golf cart race, in which case I’ll be all in!

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About Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley is the Best Selling author of Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and Brilliantly Resilient: Reset, Rise and Reveal Your Brilliance. A recognized expert in the blindness and rare disease communities, Kristin won the highly regarded Champion of Hope Award and was named an Ambassador for the National Organization of Rare Disorders. Kristin is a popular, in demand speaker who has been invited to share her message internationally.


As CEO of a global patient organization, she coordinated legislation (H.R. #625) that became the first in US history to be submitted in Braille. Kristin spoke at the FDA to help achieve the first ever FDA approved gene therapy to treat an inherited retinal disease in the United States. Her TEDx Talk, book and international summit change perceptions of blindness, and sparked a global movement, Thriving Blind Academy, that is solving the unemployment, literacy, and financial crisis in the blind the community.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristin co-founded Brilliantly Resilient to help people come through life’s challenges and setbacks brilliant, not broken.