Thu May 24 2012Amputee golfer heads to the international stage
GOLD Coast amputee golfer Graham Cox has only one handicap that concerns him - his golf handicap.
The inspirational 68-year-old course marshal at Robina Woods lost his right arm in a hovercraft accident nearly eighteen years ago, but not for one minute has he let the injury rule his life, or his pursuit of golfing silverware.
In fact, the Robina local claims he is even more active now than before the accident, both on and off the course, and his love of golf has been the catalyst for a series of domestic and global adventures.
His exploits continue next month with Cox set to represent both the Gold Coast and Australia on the international stage when he takes part in the 75th World Open One Armed Championships, to be held at one of the world’s most famous and illustrious golfing venues, St Andrews in Scotland.
The championship runs from 29 June to 6 July and in total seventy-two competitors will vie for the prize, with Cox one of only four Australians in the field. It’s a statistic that fills him with pride as he looks to give a good account of himself at the prestigious event.
With sponsorship hard to come by, Cox will cover all his own travel and accommodation expenses to attend the event, but he says the challenge and the sense of achievement makes it all worthwhile.
“I always go to these tournaments with the feeling that I’m representing Australia and particularly the Gold Coast,” said Cox, who is taking part in the event for the third time.
“I’m not expecting to win it, but I’m going over there to compete and kick some butt!” he chortled.
“We will all be allocated a final position, so if I end up in the top thirty or so I’ll be very pleased with that. As long as I do my best and the other golfers know I’m there, I’ll be happy.”
A member at Robina Woods for over eight years, the energetic Cox is no stranger to tournament play. He has secured no less than fifteen competition titles in the last seven years and been a runner-up on eleven occasions.
While he loves to be out on the golf course, he certainly doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. Active and full of vitality, Cox encourages others to do the same. He says a constant source of irritation is seeing others fail to get the most out of their lives.
“I still do exactly what I used to do when I had two hands – perhaps even more. I’ve never let it (the disability) get in the way of anything I’ve wanted to do; that’s never been an issue to me and it never will,” he declared.
“It infuriates me when I see able-bodied people sitting around and doing little in the way of fun activities with their lives.
“I get on the case of those who have lost limbs as well – the whole ‘woe is me’ attitude doesn’t work with me at all. I tell them to get off their backsides and do something!
“Golf has kept me active and also there’s the social side of it as well. For anyone who is an amputee, golf provides a level playing field because there’s a handicap system in place.
“You’re out in the fresh air, mixing with people, doing something challenging and it’s not difficult to learn how to play the game. I would encourage anyone who is looking for an activity, whether they’re able-bodied or have some form of disability, to get out there and give it a go. I’ll be happy to help out anyone who comes down to Robina Woods looking for some guidance.”
As if he wasn’t already busy enough, when he’s not improving his swing at the picturesque Robina Woods, Cox still never takes his eye off the ball. The gregarious golfer runs the senior members group at the course and is also the treasurer of the Queensland Amputee Golf Association.
Managing Director at Robina Woods, Mrs Angie Ison, said Cox brings a special kind of energy to the course and the clubhouse.
“Graham is such an inspirational character to have around and his positivity rubs off on everybody else,” Mrs Ison said.
“He’s someone who has bounced back in a major way from such extreme adversity and he brings that attitude with him every day. It’s impossible not to be motivated by that and he’s a great role model,” she added.
Grant Garrison began his career as a PGA Golf Professional in 1984 and won a dozen professional events throughout the following 6 years. He left his playing days behind to became a Golf Club Director and managed 2 exclusive country clubs in Southern California from 1990-2000. During this period, Grant was elected as a board member of the Professional Golf Association of America and managed several "Grow the game" projects.
In 2000, Grant accepted a position with Nike Inc. and created over 100 Nike Golf Learning Centers throughout the United States. His responsibility was to create and implement new programs and provide on-going training to over 400 golf teachers. This program became the largest and most effective player development program in America.
In 2006, He started his own business in Los Angeles, California. The company specialized in high tech golf instruction using the latest bio-feedback learning systems. The company also provided custom equipment and repair. The company was sold in 2009.
In 2010, Grant became the National Golf Team Coach in the countries of Bhutan and Nepal and is the designer of the highest golf course in the world located between Bhutan and Tibet. He now resides permanently in Australia.
Click here to email Grant.
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