Like they say: Practice, practice, practice. Athletes with the Arc DeSoto Special Olympics golf team hit the practice range last week at Arcadia Municipal Golf Course. Coaches, a swing expert and the players squared up for driving, putting, chipping and iron practice, tuning up for competition in June, August and in September for Florida Special Olympics finals. Those will be in Orlando, where only the best in their field compete, said Ken Clark, competition chair with Arc DeSoto.
Watching these special players line up to hit a drive, “there’s no way (you think) they’ll hit the ball,” Clark said, smiling at the lessons learned with his team. “But they do. It’s a wonderful thing.”
The morning session with players in the warm sun was relaxed, with chaperones doing what every golf coach does: Keep your head down and swing through the ball, they said. And more likely than not, the little white ball scooted down the range. Which put a huge smile on that player’s face.
Along with the physical workout, the athletes shared some give and take with the coaches and among themselves, something that golf seems to produce.
“And a little fresh air never hurt anyone,” said Ann Applegate, Arcadia Munnie manager and assistant to head pro Jeff Gibson.