Hawaiian competes in U.S. Blind Golfers national championship
Takeo Maruyama began losing vision as a teen
A Pearl City man is proving a handicap in golf isn't a reason to give up the game.
Takeo Maruyama has been playing golf since he was 14.
At 80 years old, he scores in the high 90s. But the impressive part of his game is that he plays while legally blind.
"I always put two circular markers on my ball like a cue ball," he said. "Lessens the chance of hitting the wrong ball."
Maruyama started losing his eyesight in elementary school. He was ready to give up golf completely until he was told by his eye doctor about the U.S. Blind Golfers Association.
"It's a double whammy because your eyes are getting worse, but now you can qualify for the Blind Golfers Association," he said.
Maruyama recently returned from playing in the U.S. Blind Golf Association's national championship in Oregon. Although he didn't win the four-day competition, just playing in the tournament is an achievement.
Maruyama can see the ball up close, but he can't see where it goes. He uses a coach to tell him where to hit and how far he is from the green.
"So they have to guide me like, 'How many trees from the right?'" he said.
He is the only blind golfer from Hawaii in the U.S. Blind Golf Association, something he hopes will change.
"I want to encourage them to come out again because this is a new life career for you," he said.
Maruyama hopes to start a blind golf association for children.
He knows he will eventually lose his sight completely, but he said even then, he won't give up golf. "As long as my physical body allows me to."
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