Inspirational double amputee Bob MacDermott will participate in the 2017 Canon South African Disabled Golf Open, taking place from 15-17 May in Cape Town. Hosted annually by South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA), the competition incorporates the world’s top golfers with disabilities. In 2016, 30% of the field boasted single figure handicaps and more than half of the competitors have handicaps of 18 or lower.
The event will take place at the King David Mowbray Golf Course, which is the home of disabled golf in the Western Cape. Canon South Africa, which has been a sponsor of SADGA for many years, has proudly taken the reigns as the official sponsor of the prestigious South African Disabled Golf Open for 2017.
Canon SA’s association with SADGA stems back to 2001 when the company sponsored a small prize for a golf tournament. Since then, its involvement with SADGA has continued to grow and blossom, with its sponsorship focusing on SADGA’s First Swing initiative, a development programme for children with disabilities.
‘We are delighted to be associated with this prestigious event which has grown in stature every year since its inception 19 years ago. We are proud to welcome Bob MacDermott to the field of competitors. He is undoubtedly an inspiration to all golfers,’ said Michelle Janse van Vuuren, marketing director at Canon SA.
MacDermott lost his right thumb, his left arm below the elbow and his left leg below the knee, following an accident on his father’s farm in Saskatchewan, Canada close to 30 years ago. As he lay in the burn unit in agonising pain just after the accident involving fallen power lines, he wondered if he would ever be able to play golf again.
After the accident in the summer of 1987, MacDermott’s stumps began to heal over enough to accommodate prosthetic limbs, golf crept back into his thoughts. On his return home, two months after the accident, he called his teacher, Peter Cushner, the longtime head pro at Lloydminster Golf & Country Club and together they brainstormed how they would get him back to playing golf. Refusing to accept defeat, and never succumbing to the pain, he kept at it. He practised hitting balls for two or three hours every day. It was golf, and the dream to play again, that kept him motivated and sane.
Donning specialised prostheses specially adapted for golf, he has perfected his swing to a fine art. MacDermott shot 89 for nine holes his first round of golf in May 1988 and nothing has stopped him since. In 1990, MacDermott won the Alberta Amputee Championships. He has since dominated many amputee events, including five straight (and counting) in the multiple-amputee division of the US Nationals.
He has also competed in many able bodied tournaments. In 2000, he finished 18th in the Alberta Mid-Amateur, open to anyone over 40, and last year qualified for the Alberta Open, a pro event featuring former Canadian Tour players. He also finished 45th in the 113 man field at the Canadian Club Champions Championship.
In 2016 he was made the Belvedere Country Club Senior Champion (able bodied), the 2016 Edmonton Golf Association’s Senior Champion (able bodied), the 2016 US National Senior Amputee Champion, the 2016 US National Multiple Amputee Champion, the 2016 Canadian National Amputee Champion and the 2016 Canadian National Amputee Senior /Champion Multiple Champion.