Erasing the Handicap from Golf and Life

Have you ever been inspired by a friend, or watched in amazement as a friend accomplishes great things?

Courtesy www.nagagolf.com

Brandon Rowland is just that friend.  Life was completely normal for a six year old…sports, school, being mean to sisters, etc.  In 1987, everything changed and the odds were not in Brandon’s favor.  He was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease and the only hope for saving his life involved amputating his legs below the knee.  As with everything else in life, Brandon was a fighter…and winner!  Because of the faithfulness of his amazing parents, Jim and Mary Pat, and their unwavering commitment to seeing him lead a normal life…Brandon overcame many obstacles, endured multiple surgeries, and emerged the winner over the disease.

On Tuesday, September 25, 2012 a new chapter will be written in Brandon’s book of success.  He will tee off at 9:30am against the top 120 golfers, ages 25 and over from across the state of Tennessee as he competes in the 25th Annual TGA Mid-Amateur Championship.  Out of the best golfers across the state, he is one of them…the first bilateral amputee to achieve this level of success.  This accomplishment is very surprising to many, but expected by a few.

It does not take long to look back on his life and understand what makes Brandon Rowland tick.  As a child playing Little League baseball, he was a winner.  As a child playing tennis, he was a winner.  As a young adult playing wheelchair basketball, he was a winner.  As a youth playing golf, he was a winner.  As a visor wearing, clipboard toting, (Steve Spurrier lookalike) coach for the Pi Kappa Alpha intramural flag football at The University of Tennessee at Martin, he was a winner.  I have competed against him in all of the sports he has played, with the exception of wheelchair basketball, and he is a winner there too!  Yes, that makes me the loser.

Brandon often tells of a story from our days duck hunting near Bells, TN.  We were hunting a pit located hundreds of yards from the road where we had to park.  Brandon was carrying a very heavy battery.  Some other hunters saw this and were instantly mad at me.  They asked why I was making him carry the battery.  The truth was I didn’t even think about it, but the fact is Brandon is just like the rest of us and that’s exactly how he wants it.

Whether he wins the tournament this week or not, he is a winner.  Every day Brandon Rowland goes to work for Fourroux Prosthetics, he brings something very unique to the equation.  He brings success as an amputee to all of those patients who are facing the same challenges he faces.  His approach is much different than most.  He is not looking for prosthetic legs to just get him from point A to point B; he is looking for them to help him win at whatever he does.  Never settle for just getting by.  As the title of Wayne Elsey’s book suggests, Almost Isn’t Good Enough!

FEEDBACK:  If you know Brandon, wish him luck today!  If you don’t, leave a comment below to encourage him.

Comments

  1. David Smith says:

    GREAT STORY ABOUT A GREAT AND INSPIRATIONAL PERSON. GOOD LUCK BRANDON.
    DAVID SMITH
    beechbluff@yahoo.com

  2. Mary Pat Rowland says:

    Good job, Dave! Good luck, Brandon!

  3. Annette Wright says:

    Always hoping the very best for you, Brandon! You are such an inspiration. I prayed for you when you were a little 6 year old and didn’t even know your family…so glad I know you all now…your whole family is an inspiration. Enjoyed this blog!

  4. Carla Williams says:

    Good Luck Brandon!

  5. bill hamilton says:

    well as a grandfather/i would always say brandon is a leader by example/his smile,his courage,his work ethic are but a small part of the man with a heart bigger than the problem he was dealt stay out of the rough but enjoy your game of golf for you are a shining example of faith conquers all/bill and jo ellen hamilton

  6. Julie Dickey Gutch says:

    Brandon, I went to UT Martin with your mom and dad and have a son named Brandon. I have enjoyed reading this story on your achievements and accomplishments. Good luck in the tournament. Julie Dickey Gutch

  7. Good Luck Brandon

  8. Brandon-Good luck in the MidAm. Don’t let them beat you on your home track! It is great to watch you play in the member-guest every June when I return to Jackson. Great to see the mention of your parents and their love for their young son. I have fond memories of them and watching them love their young son unselfishly.

  9. Sheila Kirkpatrick says:

    What an incredible story of drive, desire, and determination. This “No Excuse” attitude is an inspiration to all of us who may look for an excuse to not be the winner that we need to be in all that we do. Thanks for inspiring all of us. Wishing you the best in this weekend’s tournament. YOU are a champion. Hope I have the chance to meet you in person one day.
    Sheila Kirkpatrick

  10. Brandon is an inspirational young man. I met him years ago via his working for Horace Mann. I was so impressed with him and his drive for excellence.

    He reminded me of my son who was born without most of his left arm.
    They are both amazing in their abilities to face with life with tenacity.
    God bless you, Brandon, as you continue to encourage others around you.

Register to Receive My FREE E-Book!
Register