Bruce Hooper is the 2006 International Blind Golf Association World Champion. Bruce talks about his macular degeneration diagnosis, including his belief that he would have to give up golf. Over time, he learned techniques that helped him to resume the game and regain his love of golf.

Transcript of Video

Losing Sight, Losing Golf

NARRATOR: A brown-haired man wearing a light blue golf shirt.

BRUCE: I equated golf entirely with the thrill of watching the ball in the air, watching it land, watching it go in the hole.

NARRATOR: A picture of Bruce and his wife on the golf course.

BRUCE: I thought that was all there was to it, and if you couldn’t see it, you certainly couldn’t enjoy it. And, uh… so I… that’s why I quit. My wife saw this, said, “You can’t quit.” She started searching the Internet, and she found blind golf associations on the Internet. And I said, my gosh, you know, I can see a whole lot better than they can, and they love golf and they can’t see anything, and they were actually incredibly skillful. And so I… became inspired myself, and I said, “If they can do it, I can do it.” So I went back to working at it.

Golf… Without Sight?

BRUCE: Well, I see it in… I see it up here now.

NARRATOR: Taps his forehead.

BRUCE: I see it in my mind. We take more time to analyze a situation– well, slightly more time–we don’t try to delay the game, but we take more time to analyze our situation.

NARRATOR: A picture of Bruce and his wife using measuring tools on the golf course.

BRUCE: We know how far we are from the hole.

Winning Tournaments Again

NARRATOR: Picture of Bruce holding a trophy.

BRUCE: In 2003, I… won the national championship in Portland, Oregon, and that was the first championship that I won, but then this year, we went over to Japan, we played in the world championship. There were 56 golfers, nine countries represented, the best blind golfers in the world. I ended up winning that on a very difficult golf course in the rain in the cold in Tokyo, we shot 82/80. But that 82/80 felt like it was in the 70s. And then I came home and played in the senior men’s here in the city of San Antonio, the senior men’s championship–sighted tournament–shot 79/79, finally broke 80 in a competition for the first time and finished 24th in the city of San Antonio.

Advice to Others

BRUCE: I don’t think I’ll ever play golf as good as I did when I was sighted, but I might. I really think I might.

NARRATOR: Pictures of Bruce and wife, hand in hand, smiling on the golf course.

BRUCE: So I’d say to people, keep trying. Use your talents, love what you’re doing. It’s a wonderful life.