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Back on the tee boxes, adaptive golfers share their aim

Tournament returns after three years to celebrate players who are overcoming obstacles

WALLINGFORD, Conn. — The shots might be going in all different directions, but, for the players, their aim is the same. For more than a dozen adaptive golfers, an end-of-summer tradition returned after a pandemic pause that lasted three years.

The Farms Country Club played host to the Ken Murphy Memorial Open which brings former patients from Gaylord Hospital and Gaylord’s Sports Association together on the tee boxes.

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“Our Ken Murphy Memorial Open and this tournament is unique because it is just for golfers who have a physical disability or visual impairment and it’s the only one like it around,” said Katie Joly, Gaylord's Sports Association program manager.

Tim Ploszaj of Windsor is a golfer who lost his right leg in a boating accident three decades ago. He has been enthusiastic about the sport ever since.

“When you are sitting there in the hospital and thinking about ‘what am I going to be able to do? And then you get out and you wonder, can I do this?’ And you’re able to actually do it -- that’s pretty awesome,” Ploszaj said.

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Playing partner Todd Blosser of Meriden lost his leg 16 years ago due to an infection. Blosser now competes in adaptive golf events all over the country.

“I love it, just seeing everyone out there and having a good time and we’re finally back doing this,” Blosser said.

Mark Denardis, from North Haven, lost both his legs battling diabetes, but he is back on the fairways and greens playing in the Gaylord tournament.

Denardis has worked in clinics with the Sports Association to find his swing again. 

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“You know it feels good," Denardis said after sinking a 12-foot putt on hole 16. "I was, at one time, a very good golfer and I’m trying to get back to it.”

He then added, “The best part is to be on the golf course again and meeting new people and having a support group like the Sports Association.”

“It doesn’t matter what your condition is – do what you can do and have a good time, Ploszaj said.”

To learn more about the Gaylord Hospital Sports Association and all of their adaptive athletic programs click here.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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