As many people often say, golf is hard.
How about if you lost your leg and had to completely relearn the game? Impossible, right? Not for Welshman Mike Jones.
Jones, a member at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales, had always been a lover of golf, and managed to whittle his handicap down to two, before disaster struck.
“I was 50 years old and had just started playing the best golf of my life when my accident happened,” Jones told bunkered.co.uk.
“It was Halloween in 2015. I was on my motorbike on my way to work, going slowly down the main road, when a young boy in a van pulled out and sideswiped me and crushed my lower leg below the knee.
“My thigh bone was hit through the back of my pelvis and I snapped both. That was what nearly killed me. They put my hip back together and amputated my leg. I was amputated from the knee down, so I haven’t got a knee. I’ve now got a mechanical, hydraulic knee, that controls my foot.”
Following the accident, Jones thought that he would never play golf again, admitting it was a soul-destroying time. Until, he came across a video of an amputee about to sign a professional baseball contract with the Lakers.
“I saw that video and said to myself that if he could play sport, I could too. It was awful at first. I used to fall over all the time. I pushed through and got a 24 handicap when I started back. I really struggled. I needed to change how I use to play golf and learn again.
“I got down to a handicap of 15 within 18 months. The key thing for me was embracing the challenge and staying positive. Four years after my amputation, I then got the opportunity to get an electronic leg, which made a massive difference as it allows me to stand more dynamically.”
Jones, now 56 years old, has had to completely relearn how to play the game, but has done so successfully, getting his handicap to as low as 2.5 thanks to discovering a technique that works for him.
“My technique is entirely about backswing down to contact,” explained Jones. “Because I'm right-handed and I'm a left leg amputee I struggled to get to and on my left side. I just don't trust it. My follow through doesn't look pretty. But it's all about getting to impact with the clubface as square as I can. Whatever happens after that, if it doesn't look pretty, it doesn't matter because it's all about just trying to deliver that clubface square.”
The pinnacle of Jones’ long road to recovery culminated with an appearance at the Wales Golf Senior Golf Championships in June, where he became the first-ever disabled golfer to make it through to the final round of the regular event, finishing 46th out of 150 senior golfers.
“I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved,” said Jones. “I’m really excited to be back where I am. I didn’t think it would be possible. I knew I could play golf again somehow, but to get back to the level I am at, I am so grateful. I am playing better now than when I had two legs.”