Thursday, July, 11, 2013 – 2:02:41 PM
Metroland News Services
Kitchener native Josh Williams will take on a new challenge at a U.S. Amputee Long Drive Championship in Knoxville, Tenn next week. Williams lost his left in boating accident at the age of six.
Amputee golf champion takes on new challenge at long drive competition in Knoxville, Tenn.
If you’ve ever walked a full 18 holes on a golf course under the blazing mid-summer sun, you know it’s a challenging and tiring activity.
But imagine doing it with just one leg.
Josh Williams, who lost his left leg in a boating accident at a young age, isn’t letting that hold him back as he continues to participate — and dominate — in amputee golf challenges across North America.
“I really cherish these events — it’s really amazing to watch these guys play,” said Williams, who had just started the championship round of the Canadian Amputee National Open Championships in Saskatoon. With a seven-stroke lead in the third day of competition, he is on course to win his third consecutive Canadian amputee championship.
Williams lost his leg below the knee at the age of 6, when he was swept under a boat, and struck by a propeller attached to a 70-horsepower engine, causing massive damage to his leg. Since he lost his leg at such a young age, Williams says he has never known anything different than using a prosthetic.
“To say I’m handicapped to other golfers is only partially true. I find my leg limits me in very few isolated incidents on the golf course,” Williams said, adding that some amputees on the course in the Canadian championship play with just one arm and still hit scores in the mid-70s.
“I’ve played against guys missing both legs or a leg and an arm and it’s just amazing to see what these guys are capable of,” said Williams.
On July 18 and 19, Williams will be in Knoxville, Tenn. to take part in the first-ever Amputee Long Drive Championship. He was invited by organizers as a result of his dominant status in U.S. and Canadian amputee golf tournaments.
Williams works as a club fitter at Whistle Bear Golf Course in Cambridge and he is hoping to use that to his advantage, building a perfect set of clubs to achieve his goal of hitting 320 to 330 yards. Although he doesn’t expect to win the challenge, with some other amputee golfers able to hit close to 400 yards, Williams is honoured to be part of the event.
Williams has been a long-time ambassador of the game of golf, both for amputees and able bodied people. He’s hoping to raise the profile of amputee golf to have it in the mix for the 2020 Paralympics, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey; Tokyo, Japan; or Madrid, Spain.
The one factor for growth Williams would like to see is simple — more players. He says this will not only grow the amputee golf community, but it also provides amputees a chance to be among people with similar disabilities and to work through whatever struggles they may be facing.
Like he has since the age of 6, Williams isn’t letting his disability keep him from anything. He just missed qualifying for the U.S. Open and U.S. Mid-Amateur last year as an able-bodied player, and this year in August, he will try for the U.S. Mid-Amateur once again.For more information on Canadian amputee golf, visit www.caga.org.