Volume 4 Issue 1 - January 01, 2006
Sharon, the world’s best blind golfer
D.N.I.S. News Network – Turning his disability into a challenge, Sharon, an Israeli citizen, has earned the honour of being the world’s best blind golfer. Since 2003, Sharon has won International Blind Golfers’ tournaments in Scotland, Australia, United States and Canada. He has beaten a slew of sighted golfers, too.
Thousands of blind people around the world play golf, but only about a hundred play competitively. Over the past two years, Sharon has dominated them all.
Recently Sharon made headlines in Israel with a hole-in-one on the 15 th hole at the Caeserea Golf Club, Israel’s only 18-hole course. This was the latest in a string of achievements for the 53-year old Sharon, who was blinded in the Israeli army nearly 30 years ago. Sharon was a sniper in a paratrooper unit in the Israeli military, when a fellow soldier accidentally sprayed a chemical in his face. A series of complicated operations followed, but his eyesight slowly deteriorated until he became completely blind at the age of 28.
“Everything I had before fell apart,” says Sharon. “All of a sudden you are nothing. You have to rebuild something from what is left…” And Sharon did rebuild his life. The trick for him was to stay busy. He first turned to painting and sculpting and then became a physical therapist. When he was going through a divorce, his lawyer introduced him to golf. He tried it for a couple of years but quit because he said it was too hard. After 10-years’ absence, he returned to the golf course four years ago.
Sharon’s coach, Ricardo Cordoba-Core, a sports psychologist from Bolivia, trained him from the scratch, focusing on coordination and teaching him to visualize each shot. At times, he turned Sharon’s visual impairment into an advantage. Ricardo tricked Sharon during practice by not informing about the bunkers and water traps, about which even the golfers with sight get anxious. This helped Sharon a lot in improving his game.
Sharon’s caddie, Shimshon Levi, who gently guides him around the course, plants his tees and places the balls. He steadies Sharon's arms and describes what's ahead. When putting, he places Sharon's hand on the club so it is just next to the ball, instructs his friend of the distance and then runs to the hole and begins clapping so Sharon will know where to hit it.
Thus, with the help of a demanding coach, determined caddie plus his grit and determination, Sharon has earned an unlikely title – the World’s Best Blind Golfer.
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