By Natalie Simms
Nine years ago, at the age of 20, local golfer and Coosa High graduate Steven Ford found his life turned upside down following a motorcycle crash. He had lost the use of this right arm because of severe nerve damage from the accident and wasn’t sure how was going to go about his daily life.
“I played golf a lot before the accident and I’ve always worked on cars with my dad at Mike Ford’s Auto Service,” says Ford, now 29 years old. “My (golf) clubs just sat in the corner. You know, you can only look at golf clubs so long before doing something about it.”
So a couple of years ago, Ford found out about the North American One-Armed Golf Association and started learning how to play golf with only his left arm.
“I just decided to start playing and over the last year, I’ve traveled around playing golf all over the United States,” he says. “I have also worked with the U.S. Adaptative Golf Alliance that works to draw attention to golfers with all different disabilities.”
Since playing tournaments with the association over the last year, he has had one goal in mind, playing in The Fightmaster Cup, an international competition between the best players from the NAOAGA and the United Kingdom’s Society of One-Armed Golfers. The event is a Ryder Cup-style format, with golfers playing in teams, that occurs every two years just before the PGA’s Ryder Cup. The competition started in 2008 with the Americans winning the Cup and then Europe capturing the last four events.
“When I found out about the competition two years ago, I have been working toward it. I have been playing and practicing a lot. It has always been my goal to make this team,” says Ford. “And the only two ways to make the team was either by points from winning tournaments or be picked by the captain. Since I hadn’t been playing that long, I knew I couldn’t qualify with points, so I had to play well enough to be selected.”
And that is exactly what Ford did last month in the associatoon’s annual championships in Texas.
“I played extremely well there and was picked for a spot on the 12-man team. It is very exciting to be able to represent the United States in the competition,” he says.
The 2018 Fightmaster Cup will be held Sept. 18-22 at Walmer & Kingsdown Golf Course in Kent, England.
“This is the premiere event in disabled golf and for me to be able to play is just so exciting,” says Ford.
But he does need the community’s support to get there. He is raising funds to not only help cover his travel expenses, but also help support the association. “Our purpose is to promote the game of golf to those that must play ‘one-handed’ due to a physically-challenged condition for the purpose of competition, recreation, physical and emotional rehabilitation.”
Ford is definitely up for the challenge. “If you enjoy something, you will find a way to do it. I’ve not only don’t that with golf, but also in my work with cars. It was a challenge for me to go back to work after the accident, but I just had to set my mind to it.”
Click here to help support Ford.