Wheelchair Golf

Last fall, a municipal putting course opened nearby our house. According to the newspaper, construction costs were around 3 million dollars. At any given time, there might be four or five groups playing – hardly enough to support/justify the expense, I would think. Anyway, inspired by Ryo Ishikawa’s amazing/record-breaking score of 58 the other day (12 birdies!), we decided to try out the course.

Yesterday, it being a public holiday and sunny, too, there were lots of people – grandpas with kids, families with babies in strollers, couples on dates. I saw quite a few women in skirts and ruffles. At least two wore spiky heels.

We brought Lilia onto the course in her wheelchair. And here I should tell you that it’s not a professional-type putting course for serious golfers. The balls are colored, and the putters are short with big fat balls on the end – not standard equipment. It’ s more of a place for family recreation and exercise for the elderly.

Lilia did pretty well. It took her quite a few whacks to get the ball into the hole, but she could do it. We were all having a good time, and I was thinking, wow, this is something fun that we can do from time to time. But then, around the 17th hole, one of the retired gentlemen who works at the course came running over, smile on his face, to ask us not to bring the wheelchair on the green. It should be noted that we weren’t leaving any tracks. I’ll bet those spiky heels did more damage.

We finished the course with a bittersweet feeling. The public putt course is not for everyone, after all.

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2 thoughts on “Wheelchair Golf

  1. That’s a real shame.

    I had an interesting experience yesterday in an onsen in a very rural part of Iwate. I was out in the rotenburo, alone, a gaijin, nobody batted an eye (in the past, I’ve gotten strange looks). Then a 14-year old girl with Down Syndrome came to join some family members. She was high functioning, a little loud, but really a lot of fun — I was sitting there laughing at her comments. But about four women in the rotenburo stopped talking as soon as she came out, watched her out of the corner of their eyes, and then got out of the bath.

  2. The next frontier–putting brains under those caps. I’ll bet if you followed that up there would be some apologies zinging around. Now that we have a mall in the neighborhood, the place has lots of wheelchairs zipping about and I really think that the more people see them the more natural they will seem. It’s like strollers and wheelchairs and walkers and so on and so forth–what’s the big deal? Maybe too late for the old golf-course guy, though.

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