Alabama Amputee Golfer Returns To Championship With Secret Weapon
BIRMINGHAM, August 2, 2012-- For the second time in three years, Chris Osborne, of Forestdale, Alabama, will participate in the Annual National Amputee Golf Championship. Osborne competed in his first event in 2010 at the championship played at Gaylord Springs in Nashville, Tennessee. This year's installment, the 64thAnnual National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA) Championship will take place at Indianapolis, Indiana's famed and exclusive Brickyard Crossings Golf Club August 6th through 10th. This Pete Dye designed Par 72 course, actually has 4 Holes inside the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway-voted top in the 100 courses by Golf Week & Golf Digest. Chris said, "This is a beautiful venue and I know it will be a challenge; there are some really talented amputee golfers who will make up the field."
Osborne returns with his original sponsor UAB Orthothics and Prosthetics Lab which has provided his prosthetic services, assisting with Chris' quality of life since his amputation in 2004. New this year, Chris is going green with what he calls his "secret weapon". Dixon Golf www.dixongolf.com
has agreed to become Osborne's golf ball sponsor for the 2012 championship. "Both my sponsors make it possible for me to compete and for that I'm grateful...one helps me walk, the other helps me play. And I'm really excited about using a ball that is totally recyclable and plays better than some very expensive balls on the market that golfers are familiar with."
Dixon Golf, a Tempe, Ariz. based company, manufactures the first high performance, eco-friendly family of golf balls. They make four different golf ball models: Earth, Wind, Fire and their newest installment - a ladies ball called the Spirit. Dixon's golf balls leave out the cheap heavy metal fillers that many other manufacturers use in their golf balls, making Dixon Golf balls easily recyclable. The environmentally conscious golf ball company is charitably oriented - donating more than $125,000 to charity in the first half of this year. Local Golf store Edwin Watts in Homewood, has also contributed to Osborne's championship pursuit.
Osborne's first competitive stroke-play tournament as an amputee was in 2010. He didn't play as well as he hoped, but did complete the three rounds of championship golf. Chris is a fighter...he lost his left leg above the knee following a hit-and-run accident while riding his motorcycle in July of 2004, at the time he was a reporter at Birmingham's ABC television affiliate ABC 33/40. He is now the Regional Communication Officer for the American Red Cross Alabama Region.
Chris often counsels patients facing amputation or consults with recent amputees about what to expect and how to keep living life to the fullest at the request of UAB staff members, or family members of the patients. "Helping others is like a ministry that blesses me in the process. I recently bumped into a young man I visited in the hospital years ago; ironically, he'll also be playing in the tournament, to see him doing so well is awesome."
Divisions included in the tournament include below the knee amputees, above the knee-which was Osborne's division, one arm players and multiple limb amputee golfers. "It's remarkable to see some of the golfers shoot really low scores despite their physical challenges", Osborne commented. Players from around the country and several countries including Canada, Japan, Australia and South Africa participate in the championship and the Robinson Cup which is very similar to the team-style Ryder Cup. Only the week's best scorers are chosen to play in the Robinson Cup which pits U.S. players against the best from a combined international team. The course is not modified for golfers with disabilities and the only difference is golf carts are allowed to travel just about anywhere on the course, like near the putting greens for easy access.
In the future, Osborne hopes to attend some of the regional tournaments leading up to the 65th Championship. There are more than 20 events hosted around the United States and tournaments in Canada, Japan, Australia, South African and Mexico. Osborne admits that whether it was nerves or concentration, he didn't play up to his potential in 2010, but hopes 2012 will yield better results as he's been working on various aspects of his game.