Through the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA), Mike Emanuel has found his passion for golf.
By Northglen News
After his left leg was amputated in his 20s, Mike Emanuel felt his life as a competitive sportsman was over.
For more than two decades, the 56-year-old felt he’d lost everything – that was until he joined the South African Disabled Golf Association (SADGA) and found his passion for golf.
The association actively supports athletes with disabilities and helps them develop skills for golf.
“I think the main goal for me is that being an amputee doesn’t limit you. SADGA has given me my competitive spirit back. I joined them about three years ago, and seeing other golfers with disabilities live their lives and play the sport with such skill and passion, was also inspiring to me. I lost my competitive edge for a long time, but I found it again through SADGA,” he said.
As a member of the Royal Durban Golf Club, Emanuel said being out on the greens and teeing off was the equivalent of running out onto the field in a rugby game, a sport he loved, too.
“Rugby featured prominently in my youth. I get that same rush as playing in front of a crowd now when I play golf. I just love the game. To realise that I have a second chance is something I hope to impart to others and therefore inspire them to take up golf,” he said.
Emanuel, who was recently victorious at the Kwazulu-Natal Disabled Open Tournament played in Mount Edgecombe, competes in the physically disabled Stableford category.
He also won the second tournament of the SADGA Open in Irene, Tshwane earlier this year.
The Anthony Road resident also explained how he lost his leg when he was 28.
“I used to play a lot of rugby in my youth. In the game that would change my life, I tore both my cruciate and medial ligaments. The surgery to repair the damage was unsuccessful, and I had my leg fused. It was almost a stiff leg, but I eventually developed bone sepsis. I spent more time in hospital in my 20s then out, and I struggled for years to keep the leg. It eventually came to a point where it was life threatening, and I went into a septic coma.
“My wife had to sign the papers for doctors to amputate. I woke up from the coma about a week later to discover my leg was gone. Of course, it isn’t something you want to be dealt in your life, but you’ve got to play the hand you were dealt. When you are injured this way and you’re young, you think it’s the end of the world, but SADGA has given me a different outlook on life, and that has been invaluable. Golf is a major part of my life, and if I had to live my life again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” he said.
Emanuel has a world ranking of 26 in the physically disabled Stableford category.