Golf and Health: Playing Golf with Multiple Sclerosis

May 12, 2014

My wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in late 2013. I’ve written about her journey in various places since that time, but it never occurred to me to write about how her condition could impact a game she loves to play: golf. So, with her permission, we’ll continue with today’s post.

Before I get too far, I should explain that MS relapses can differ widely from one patient to the next. The range is anywhere from not being able to sweat (seriously) to not being able to walk. It all really depends on where the legions appear on your brain or spinal cord. My wife’s condition affects her eyesight to a certain degree. In short, she has a tough time seeing when she exercises or when it’s hot outside. Not the best combination for someone who likes to play golf.

Luckily, golf is a sport that is very receptive to players of all kinds and situations. While my wife does have a disability — unless you ask her, in which case she’ll likely slap you — golf equipment manufacturers have done a great job finding ways to help everybody play this great game.

The most obvious benefit seen at every course is golf carts. Walking 18 holes can take a toll on anybody, especially someone who goes partially blind after awhile. Being able to sit down after every shot is very helpful.

Second, little white golf balls are really difficult to see, especially on bright days. Throw in some MS-related blindness and you’ve got a treasure hunt every single shot. We’ve found the remedy to this issue is to play with those neon-yellow golf balls companies like Srixon, Titleist, Pinnacle and others are selling. They are incredibly helpful and are easy to see in the air or on the fairway.

Game-improvement clubs are also helpful, especially because of their larger sweet spot. My wife hits the Mizuno JPX EZ irons, which are a bit on the thicker side and incredibly forgiving. When her eyesight goes south, she at least knows she has more room for error when hitting a golf shot.

We’ll try to keep everyone updated with new pieces of equipment or techniques that become available. In the meantime, we’ll continue enjoying golf together thanks to the work done by golf companies all over.