Disability no match for Augusta University golfer

Sports

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — On any given day, you can find Dawson Booth on the golf course. That was not the case when he was a child.

“I hated golf,” he says. “I didn’t want anything to do with it.”

After a few trips to the driving range with his dad, the CSRA native grew to love the sport. When it came time for college, he tried playing at the next level.

“I did want to play college golf, but I didn’t really get the opportunity to, so I applied to the University of Georgia. I really wanted to go there. I kind of gave up golf.”

Booth spent a year as a Georgia Bulldog, studying engineering. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, he packed up his dorm and headed home to Evans. He picked up his golf clubs again and began playing at his home course, Champions Retreat Golf Club. Booth and his friends would watch some of the professionals play, dreaming of a chance to play with them. One day, it happened.

“One of the members hooked it up so we could play in one of the professionals’ Saturday games. I played really well. By hole three, they asked why I wasn’t playing in college. I told them, ‘I had my chance, but I didn’t make it.’ They said, ‘we think we can do something about that.'”

The professionals were so impressed they contacted Jack O’Keefe, the Director of Golf at Augusta University. A few calls later, O’Keefe asked Booth to transfer to AU to become a Jaguar and join the golf team.

“They all just raved about Dawson as a player and young man, and said we need to take a chance on him,” O’Keefe said. “So, we did. He’s a local kid who wanted to come back home and play golf.”

“Coach had never seen me swing a golf club,” Booth says. “It was interesting that he put faith in them and me.”

Not only did O’Keefe take a chance on someone he had never seen play. He took a chance on a golfer who is blind in one eye.

“It’s a miracle I can play golf in one eye and that God has given me this talent. I can still see light, which is a miracle in itself. Other than that, I can’t see shapes or color, just light.”

Booth lost his vision in his right eye when he was 17-years-old. But, he is not letting his disability hold him back, especially not on the golf course.

“All my eye situations never really determined how I live my life. The moment I knew I probably won’t be able to see again was hard, but it’s made me who I am today.”

The last year has been influential for Booth. During a mission trip to Jamaica, he visited an infirmary where he met a man who is blind in both eyes, Lupert. Lupert shared his story with Booth, revealing he was unable to afford eye care. His story inspired Booth to change his career path. He is now studying Biology and hopes to attend medical school when he graduates from Augusta University. Booth hopes to become an ophthalmologist so he can treat patients, like Lupert, in underserved communities.

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