Interlake blind golfer, provincial champion

Winnipeg Beach resident John Sanderson holds up his awards with help from his caddy, Mike Brickwood, at Transcona Golf Club in Winnipeg on July 11. Submitted photo by Larry Banks

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A Winnipeg Beach resident said he wants to help get the word out that blind golfers are going places.

After losing his eye-sight completely, five years ago, John Sanderson, now 66-years-old, said that his nephew urged him to take up blind golfing.  Sanderson said that he would like people to know that golfing with a handicap is taking him around the world.

Now a provincial champion and first in the 2018 Western Canadian Championship seniors division with scores of 122, 124 and 132, Sanderson is headed to Calgary for the 2018 OVIG Provincial Golf Tournament in August and hopes to be invited to the 2018 World Golf Championship in Rome at the end of September.

Having always been partially blind due to a hereditary condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, Sanderson said that blind golfing is one of the hardest things he has ever done and that playing is not the hard part, getting better is.

“It takes a lot of work,” he admitted.

His three caddies, Mike Brickwood and Garry Lalchun of Winnipeg and Larry Banks of Winnipeg Beach, are a tremendous resource as well as dear friends.

Without them he couldn’t play.

“(We) have had the pleasure of working with him and have watched John do some amazing, jaw-dropping chips as well as putts,” Banks told The Interlake Spectator on July 12.

Sanderson told The Interlake Spectator on July 13 that since Banks took him to the Inwood Golf and Country club to pracise, they have returned every Tuesday since, as Banks is a member there.

“It was a good experience,” he explained. “So many people support me it’s overwhelming.”

Jessica Zinn, who works at the golf club in Inwood, recognized his name immediately. “We love having John, he’s a great guy,” she The Interlake Spectator on July 13.

“To see John come such a long way bringing his strokes down over the last few years has been  a great joy. Look out, this Interlake boy is getting well known in the Blind Golf Circuit,” Banks said.

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