Disabled golf teacher living the dream

Disabled golf teacher living the dream

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by Ben Lacy

kgw.com

Posted on June 30, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 30 at 9:48 PM

There's a golfer who logs 100,000 miles a year and he's living a dream.  Dennis Walters has played in all 50 states and rubbed shoulders with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.  Today he dazzled youngsters in Gladstone.

"The point is if I can do this, then I'm out here to challenge each person out her to do something in your life to do something you think is impossible," said Walters to a green full of students during the Dennis Walters Golf Show.

Walters is a touring pro traveling America doing golf clinics with a bag full of trick shots.  He put his skills on display at the Children's Course in Gladstone.

"I put a lot of effort into it.  I put time, effort, blood, sweat, tears whatever you want to call it, but I never looked at it as work," said Walters.

Walters' one-hour show is entertaining and inspirational.  After an accident in the mid-1970's, he was paralyzed from the waist down.  He loved golf and dreamed of being a pro and never quit dreaming and working.

"That's one of the cool things about it," said Walters.  "Everybody told me I'd never be able to do this or anything else.  And here I am.  I did it."

3,000 shows and 35 years later, Walters is now just one of eleven honorary lifetime members of the Pro Golf Association of America.  That list includes three former presidents.

"I've done 30 clinics with Tiger," said Walters.  "Jack Nicklaus wrote the foreword to my book."

Walters shows are a partnership with the PGA's First Tee.

"We teach children life skills through the game of golf," said Cathy Porter, Executive Director of The First Tee program.  "We teach them lessons they can learn and use both on and off the golf course."

Walters lives in Jupiter, Florida and travels with assistant Tom Calenda.  His traveling golf show hits Eugene on Friday before heading to Buffalo, New York.

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