McLaren Adaptive Golf Clinic Kicks Off Ally Challenge Week at Warwick Hills

    Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, Grand Blanc, MI — August 21, 2023

    What is Adaptive Golf? According to the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance (USAGA), “adaptive golf allows people with disabilities to play the game of golf through modified rules or equipment, based upon the person’s abilities.”

    The inaugural Adaptive Golf Clinic last year at the Ally Challenge presented by McLaren was a positive success for those in attendance. McLaren doubled down in 2023, increasing the number of invited guests and the number of adaptive golf coaches on hand to assist.

    Local Golfing Legend, Jimmy Dee Dowsett, whose story was featured in The Lasco Press / Lasco Press Photo

    Athletes With a Disability

    Approximately 42.5 million Americans live with disabilities. Many of them compete in sports, almost all with little or no recognition.

    Flint, Michigan native Jim Abbott is one of the most well-known disabled athletes, having played for three Major League Baseball clubs in his 10-year career at the highest level of the game.

    Despite being born without a right hand, Abbott posted 87 career wins and, in 1993, as a member of the New York Yankees, pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Abbott learned to adapt to his disability from birth. He developed a style that allowed him to throw the ball, transfer his glove to his throwing hand, field balls batted his way, and switch back to throw the ball with a seamless motion.

    The Paralympic Games have brought the amazing feats of disabled athletes to our television screens, proving that a disability does not prevent an individual from excelling at athletic competitions.

    But what about golf?

    Golfing With a Disability

    Golf is one of the most popular athletic activities in America. Unlike football, baseball, and basketball, golf can be played by almost anyone regardless of age or abilities. The unique aspect of the sport has you competing as much against yourself as an opponent. Speed, agility, physical strength, and conditioning are not as important as technique, accuracy, and the mental approach to the game.

    Kim Moore, Women’s Golf Coach at Western Michigan University and winner of the Women’s 2022 U.S. Adaptive Golf Open works with clinic participants on putting / Lasco Press Photo

    Golf is not always competitive. Enjoying the outdoors, getting exercise, participating with friends, and just having fun is a major draw for many people.

    In Jim Abbott’s case, he never knew what it was like to have two hands.

    Our question was. Can an individual who has lost a limb, cannot stand on their own, or is slowed by age-related physical ailments learn to overcome their disability to participate in the game of golf? If you observed the McLaren Adaptive Golf Clinic, the answer would be a resounding yes!

    Meet Tracy Ramin

    Tracy Ramin is a founder of the U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance. He served as the master of ceremonies at the McLaren Adaptive Golf Clinic, introducing the coaches that volunteered their time to assist the participants.

    McLaren Adaptive Golf Clinic Coaches / Lasco Press Photo

    Tracy’s story is remarkable. In 1998 Tracy was traveling on I-75 when a ladder came loose from its attachment on his construction truck. He stopped to retrieve the traffic obstruction when a vehicle making an abrupt lane change hit him at full speed. Tracy was taken to a local hospital, where he was in a coma for ten days.

    In the hospital for 24 days, Tracy survived, but his left leg was amputated below the knee. He had ten surgeries over the next two years to address various issues related to the accident.

    Tracy Ramin / Lasco Press Photo

    An avid golfer before the accident, Tracy held a golf handicap of 12-14 strokes. He began to play again three months out of the hospital with what he described as the worst leg prosthesis imaginable. It took two years for Tracy to regain the level of play he had before the accident. But he never gave up.

    Now a scratch golfer, Tracy went on to become a six-time Michigan Adaptive Golf Champion. He has dedicated his life to promoting and furthering the causes of adaptive golfers. Tracy believes, almost regardless of the disability, individuals can be taught to participate and learn to enjoy the game of golf. His goal is to see more opportunities for adaptive golf to be welcomed at courses, golf clubs, and competitions.

    Kudos to McLaren Healthcare for supporting adaptive golf and raising the awareness of these amazing individuals who just want the opportunity to enjoy the great game of golf.

    For more information about Adaptive Golf, visit the website, donate to the cause, find teaching clinics, and enter adaptive golf competitions.

    Check out more photos of the event on the author’s Facebook Page. Be sure to click and follow for all the latest local stories, motorsports, and fun features from The Lasco Press.