Bob Buck has been a below knee amputee for the past forty-four years. In early 1969, Bob had an automobile accident breaking both tibia and fibula and was on crutches for a year trying to save his right leg. Finally in April 1970, after over a year’s battle with osteomyelitis, Bob made the decision to have his leg amputated.
In 1987 he formed the Eastern Amputee Golf Association and it was incorporated in 1987 in Pennsylvania as a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian charitable organization. Although its name indicates it’s “Eastern”, members are from all over the world and US. Their mission is to assist in the rehabilitation of amputees and provide for their general welfare, both physical and psychological, through the medium of golf and its associated activities. They provide yearly College Scholarships from their fund raising efforts and Instructional Golf Videos for People with Diabilities.
The EAGA conducts 7-two day tournaments and 6-one day outings and scrambles, plus conducting 22 NAGA “First Swing” Seminars & 24 “Learn to Golf” clinics in the East Region. The EAGA hopes to attract more amputees to experience the fun and excitement of this wonderful game.
“All amputees can pick it up, especially those with leg prostheses, where a torsion absorber and rotator allow you to pivot to finish your swing. If you choose to play with just one arm, you can do that. If you play with one arm and a prosthesis, there are a number of pieces of adaptive hardware that allow you to attach your prosthetic arm to your club, allowing you to swing with both hands. If you’re unable to walk, you can play golf from a seated position from a single rider golf cart.” – Bob Buck
Buck, who helped found the First Swing golf clinics to teach golf to people with disabilities, said there are very few people who can’t learn to golf. “Even those who may have been dragged to the clinic by their spouses try to hit a golf ball and are surprised by the results”, Buck said. They end up feeling pretty good about themselves. The upcoming “First Swing” Golf Clinic, run by the National Amputee Golf Association, in cooperation with the Eastern Amputee Golf Association, Disabled American Veterans, The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association will be held at the Galloping Hill Golf Course on Kenilworth Boulevard in Kenilworth, NJ on August 15, 2014 from 8:30am to 12:00pm. (for more information, call 908-527-4781)
In 2009, Bob was selected to participate in a new initiative from the Department of Defense called “Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors”. The four day program was developed by Penn State University to educate and assist Recreation Managers at our Military installations at home and abroad bring Sports & Leisure activities to our Wounded Warriors. Bob presents a personal perspective as an amputee and promotes the benefits of golf as a perfect sport for our amputee wounded warriors. The 22 conference sessions will conclude in 2014.
Still pushing for more, Bob and others are working to get the single-rider golf cart accessible on all public courses. The cart allows for people with disabilities who cannot stand, to still enjoy the game of golf. “The way I see it,” Buck said, “it’s not going to be any more expensive to buy one or two single-rider carts. If golfers are not using them, they’re perfect for rangers. If a course has 40 carts, a single-rider cart should be part of the lease.”
Truly an inspiration, Bob Buck has accepted his disability and turned it into his life’s passion – always involved, in the background, or on stage, promoting golf as a sport for amputees. The Eastern Amputee Golf Association’s website – http://eaga.org – provides links to numerous devices exist to help a golfer tee-up and retrieve his ball, better grip the club, and aid his game.
Sunshine Prosthetics and Orthotics is happy to attend the NAGA’s “First Swing” Clinic on August 15th and support Bob Buck’s inspiring work.
For more information on the EAGA, visit their website http://eaga.org