Mike Reeder, Inspiring Paralympic Golfer in 2020

 

Interviewing Mike Reeder at Sawgrass CC after he played in a Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) fundraising event.

Interviewing Mike Reeder at Sawgrass CC after he played in a Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) fundraising event.

I had an opportunity to meet someone extraordinary today—Mike Reeder who plays competitive golf from a wheelchair. That is at least most of the time. Inside 60 yards and on the green he walks on his knees to pitch, chip and putt. Though a physical phenom, what is remarkable is his demeanor, wit and ability to live life to its fullest in the present moment. Ever have a touch of self-pity? Get over it and get to know this man. While he is hoping for golf to come to the Paralympics in 2020 like it is coming to the Summer Olympics in 2016, I think his attitude, perspective and spirit will be right there with the Olympic golfers in Rio de Janeiro.

CLICK here for the VIDEO Interview with Mike Reeder at Sawgrass CC

Listen to the birds tweeting in this interview and the words of Mike Reeder, a man who shot 79 on the Old Course and 77 on the Jubilee Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. What is his secret to being happy in life and on the golf course? It takes trial & error and to play within yourself. Find out what changed his life.

CLICK here for VIDEO of Mike Reeder teeing off and carrying his team!

CLICK here for VIDEO of Mike Reeder’s pre-shot routine teeing off on a par-3!

CLICK here for VIDEO of Mike Reeder’s pre-shot routine putting on the green!

CLICK here for link to Mike Reeder’s website ForeWheel Golf.com

CLICK Here for ESPN’s Ben Houser’s article & video on Mike Reeder playing the Old Course!

Okay enough clicking! A couple of more thoughts on Mike and his golf game. He has only one spike- the one he uses to anchor his wheelchair to the ground. We have anywhere from 7 to 10 on each of our shoes. The length of his putter is 18 inches and is legal per USGA rules. He makes Robert Garrigus look like he is using a long putter. Mike is a funny guy commenting after the round that “I am going to change wheelchairs and get into something a little more comfortable.

Mike Reeder has his name on his golf bag for a reason!

Mike Reeder has his name on his golf bag for a reason!

Mike gave me a lot of food for thought as I search for the meaning of Olympic Spirit for Golfers. He wears some of it right there for all of us to see- his patriotic shirt. So yes playing for your country, patriotism is surely a part of the Olympic Spirit. I liked when Mike said “you don’t have to be in a military uniform to be a patriot.” With the Olympics though there is less of a sense of competition among nations as there is an individual or a team striving to do their very best, perhaps set a new world or Olympic record to prove we have grown, we have advanced during the last four years.

For me, that is the story of Mike Reeder. Being the best we can be this very day given and accepting where we are in life. Maybe something tragic happens to us, maybe it doesn’t in our lifetime. Either way we search and find out who we are, what our talents are, what our contributions to the world are to be and simply be the person we were meant to be. Mike is right there for all to see, play golf with and enjoy time spent together. Like I said in the video I think it will be difficult to find a more inspiring person to meet as I go on the “Journey to Olympic Golf.”

As a postscript to this article Mike played the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass the next day and shot an 85 with a flat tire. Astounding performance! I am now on record as believing Mike will play in the 2020 Golf Paralympics! He deserves the opportunity to compete at that level, same as Tiger Woods in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Sawgrass CC, an idyllic place to live, play golf and meet great people!

Sawgrass CC, an idyllic place to live, play golf and meet great people!

One quick plug for Sawgrass CC where their slogan “Ocean to Green and Everything in Between” rings true. From their oceanfront beach club to 27 holes of championship golf where five PLAYERS Championships were played between 1977 and 1981 before TPC Sawgrass was built this is the golfing community in Northeast Florida. Celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2014, please call Janet Collins at 904.273.3708 and click this link to go to the Sawgrass CC website.

Mike Reeder is a man on the move with wheelchair in tow!

Mike Reeder is a man on the move with wheelchair in tow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Reeder Andy Reiistetter Sawgrass CC

An enjoyable day on the links at Sawgrass CC with Mike Reeder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK here for the link to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).

Here are some pictures from their signature event- The Sand Diego Triathlon Challenge:

RunSwimBikeVictory

 

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