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Blind golf tournament tees off in Creston

07/10/2015 11:17 EDT | Updated 07/10/2016 05:59 EDT
As Darren Douma started losing his eyesight, he realized that golf was an effective distraction.

"You can go out there and focus your energy on the ball, and it just takes you away from reality for a period of time."

Douma helped bring the annual Canadian Open Blind & Visionally Impaired Golf Championship to his hometown of Creston, B.C.

"It's been a great outlet for me and I wanted to showcase blind golf in my community," said Douma, tournament host for this year's championship on July 11-12.

A doubles game

Douma told Chris Walker on Daybreak Souththat there are different sight classifications for players — those with no light perception in either eye, those with five percent vision, and those with ten percent vision.

Each player works with a sight coach before teeing off, describing the hole, the approach, and the depth of where the flag is on the green.

"The coaches have to get down and literally set the club  behind the ball for those golfers and position it properly and explain the hole to the player so they get a visualization in their mind about what they're going to do," Douma said.

Douma added that there are 31 coach-and-player teams participating from across Canada and abroad, including players from Scotland, England and the United States.

One big golfing family

Douma said that the struggles experienced by those who are losing or have lost their vision are shared among the players.

"Losing vision over the years and having to give up a career and so forth, we all go through the motions of depression when we're dealing with vision loss," Douma said.

"It's a common thing that we share. We get out there and compete against each other. At the end of the day we're a great blind golf family."

To hear more click on the audio labelled: Blind golf tournament tees off in Creston

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