On behalf of Bunkers Paradise, I had the distinct opportunity to do a follow up interview with a very courageous man who started playing golf a little over a year ago…and he is blind! Think about this: You are standing over a downhill slider 3 foot putt and someone puts a blindfold on you. How do you feel? Are you confident that you will know exactly how to stroke the putt? Well, Mr. Chandler drives, chips and putts with a permanent blindfold on and continues to amaze everyone around him.
I, have been following Mr. Chandler for a few months while watching his progression on You Tube as he learns the game of golf from a totally different perspective than most of us. Colin Chandler has been blind since he was a teenager. He was diagnosed with Choroideremia, a rare degenerative disease that steadily degrades one’s vision over time.
Check out a video of Colin Chandler’s Swing:
Chandler is 53 years old from England and his swing has many experienced sighted players drooling with envy. And to think it was only months ago he picked up a club. I even went out on the course before our interview to see what it would be like to play blind. I had help from a dear friend to get me to the ball, align me and tell me when to hit. I only made it 2 holes because I was so frustrated and in the same breath absolutely amazed.
After my personal, and very humbling experience, I reached out to Mr. Colin Chandler to discuss his life as a blind golfer and where he wants to take the game. Enjoy Mr. Colin Chandler opening up to Bunkers Paradise (BP) yet again and sharing his journey with us:
BP: Colin, It is an honor to have the opportunity to conduct this interview because you are an inspiration to the world for your determination and courage taking on a game that even those of us with good vision take for granted. I am in awe of you!! Can you describe to us your condition and when it began? Anything you would like the world to know to bring awareness
Chandler: My night vision began to go when i was 15 which led me to the doctor’s office. It wasn’t much after that then my vision began to go completely.
BP: What compelled you to take up the game of golf at the age of 53 and with deteriorating eyesight?
Chandler: When I was on the internet a top lady golfer told me there was coaching for blind people at Buckinghamshire Golf Course. I gave it some thought and gave it a go. Later i started playing golf at Reading golf club where I worked on honing my skills.
BP: You have not allowed your condition to hold you back in any way. Can you describe to what extent you can or can’t discern features on the course since our last interview?
Chandler: What I can see is a very blurry image. Really, almost nothing at all.
BP: Tell us how your game is coming along since starting in fall of 2013?And how does your swing coach help you during your practice sessions.
Chandler: If I had to put a percent on it, it has improved 90 percent. My coach aims me in the right direction and I use my senses to hit the shot.
BP: I find it hard to hit good shots with normal eyesight, so could you explain in detail the method you use to play a round of golf with limited vision?
Chandler: I have yet to play a round yet, but I hope to soon as my game and confidence continue to improve. I hope to play a round not only with my coach, but also other players on a regular basis
BP: You mentioned in our last interview that you were hoping to compete in tournaments. Have you had the opportunity? If not, do you have any tournaments coming up or any you plan to play in the near future?
Chandler: I have not had the chance yet to compete in any tournaments. My goal this year is to establish a handicap as that I will become eligible to play tournaments. As soon as I establish my handicap, I will be sure to let the Bunkers Paradise community know and maybe we can tee it up.
BP: To become an accomplished player it must require a lot of hard work on your part, how often to you play and practice? What is your routine?
Chandler: I play 5 holes once every two weeks between practice sessions working with my coach.
BP: What is in your bag in terms of golf clubs? What is your go to club, the one that is your bread and butter and you just know you’ll hit it dead on every time? And do you have a favorite brand golf ball?
Chandler: At the moment, I have just a simple driver, 6 iron, wedge and putter. No particular brand at the moment. They are all my ‘go to’ clubs right now as I continue improving my skills. I don’t have a favorite brand golf ball, but I plan to some day soon.
BP: Who is your favorite PGA tour player and why? LPGA Tour player and why?
Chandler: I have 3 favorite golf starts–>Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Ernie Els because they play golf how it should be played.
BP: Have you ever met any of the ‘stars’ of golf?
Chandler: I have not, but I am hoping to soon. Maybe my inspiration to others would open that door to a star or two of golf.
BP: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on the golf course?
Chandler: I nearly fell into a bunker. They would never have found me– ha ha!
BP: What is Colin the person like away from the golf course?
Chandler: You will always find me on the internet away from the course or practicing my putting in the garden.
BP: What are your short and long term goals? Where do you see yourself the golfer in 6 months and 1 year? 5 years?
Chandler: One shot at a time. This year I hope to do bunker shots and play my first full round. In the future, I hope to inspire millions by being a blind golfer. A person that never gives up.
It was a pleasure to interview someone so passionate about golf. Chandler simply says, “Golf is my life”. He inspires me as he should you with his ‘never give up attitude. He gets so excited coming back from range work knowing he just crushed the ball further than able body players.
He certainly is catching the eyes of many as he is becoming more of a celebrity on Twitter. He is humble by nature and a man a few but important words.
Give it a try sometime. Have a buddy put a blindfold on you, help you set up to the ball, and then go ahead and give it a swing. You will get a better understanding as to what Colin Chandler deals with every day of his life, I know I did.
Keep an eye on him as he continues his quest to reach millions through his inspiring story. Colin, we at Bunkers Paradise look forward to teeing it up with you soon!!
‘keep smiling and always believe’