Disabled golfers hitting the links in San Jose

April 20, 2010 7:04:50 PM PDT
Golf lessons are now underway at a course in San Jose for people who might have thought golf was not an option. The special carts and special training available there are helping people with disabilities get out on the greens.

Two years ago, double-amputee Jack Schantin finally got to play the game he loved again, thanks to a special golf cart.

"It was a huge turnaround because when we found the cart down in San Leandro," Jack Stephano says. "It just opened up a whole new world for him."

Schantin passed away in December. Now, his friends and family want to spread the word about the carts and adaptive golf lessons that make it all possible.

"So now, if they have a balance problem, they can still sit here and hit a golf shot," says Michael Jordan.

Classes are just getting underway at Rancho del Pueblo in San Jose. Christopher Clark is with Disabled Sports USA.

"We want to let them know that their life doesn't end because they suffered a disability. It's an opportunity for them to get out and golf again and actually feel better, and improve their quality of life," he says.

Janie Whiteford last swung a golf club 24 years ago, before a car crash left her paralyzed.

"This would be a really nice thing to get into mostly because my husband's a golfer," she says. "And, it would be something we could do together. So, that's the major enticement for me."

The chair moves up and down and swivels 360 degrees. The cart is also designed to go right onto the green. A golfer like Whiteford will never leave the seat.

"Once you get the swing of things, you're out there," Jordan says. "You're enjoying the game."

That is just what Stephano would have wanted.

"He's leading from above. Yes, he is, and he would be so happy," Stephano says.

Four lessons cost $65. For information on classes in Oakland, Concord, San Jose and San Rafael, call 530-581-4161 or email www.reservations@disabledsports.net. Courses are listed at the Rancho del Pueblo website.


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