Blind Golfers: Time to TEE it Up!
Blind Veteran golfer Michael Potter
TEE stands for Training, Exposure and Experience
After losing his vision in 1997, Michael Potter decided it would not stop him from living his life. He began attending the National Veterans TEE Tournament the same year.
Although losing his eyesight was difficult, he now says that the TEE Tournament taught him he could still do a lot of the same things he did before.
“Your attitude is more limiting than any disability.”
The TEE Tournament uses a therapeutic format to promote rehabilitation, fellowship and camaraderie among participants. The event provides eligible Veterans with an opportunity to participate in therapeutic adaptive sporting activities which demonstrate that having a visual or physical disability need not be an obstacle to an active, rewarding life.
It’s held every year in Iowa City, Iowa, this year from September 10 through 14.
Previously a local program, this national event now provides legally blind and eligible disabled Veterans from around the country an opportunity to develop new skills through adaptive sporting events.
While golf is the primary activity at this annual national program, adaptive horseshoes and bowling are also offered during the week. Through this program, Veterans like Potter learn skills they can use year-round to improve their quality of life. Potter says that practicing golf at home with his friends is always a good time.
Potter served in the Navy from 1975-77. He was discharged after developing neurological problems which resulted in a seizure disorder.
“It’s all about attitude.”
Participation is open to U.S. military Veterans with visual impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, psychological trauma, certain neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries and other disabilities, who receive care in any Department of Veterans Affairs health care facility.
The event provides legally blind Veterans and those with other disabilities an opportunity to participate in a therapeutic golfing event along with other activities such as kayaking. By participating, Veterans are able to develop new skills and strengthen their self-esteem.
Potter thinks one of the greatest things about the TEE Tournament is seeing different generations of Veterans come together, saying that it’s not every day that you get to see a WWII Veteran out on the course playing with a young Veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It’s all about attitude,” said Potter. “You may have limitations, but your attitude is more limiting than any disability. Getting up and doing something is the hard part. The TEE Tournament makes it a whole lot easier.”