NewsSpring 2013

More than just a winner

When it came to hitting the links, Steve Danser had accepted for years a golf destiny of shooting about 100. He rationalized nobody could fault him for that. The 63-year-old Indianapolis golfer had his right leg amputated in 1990 and lost part of his right hand back in 1963.

“I used that as an excuse for never being able to shoot better than 100,” he said. Then, last summer, he met Kim Moore.

“After three lessons with Kim, I care about my score because I can score now,” said Danser, who surprised his older brother by besting him with a round of 88 at Stonycreek Golf Club in Noblesville.
Nothing makes Moore happier than to see another amputee learn how to enjoy sports. From the time she was 2 and started walking on the stump that remained from having her right leg amputated at birth, Moore refused to be limited by what others would say is a handicap.

“In golf, handicap means something totally different,” she said.

On the advice of her father, Moore took up the game at 15, made her high school team at Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, progressed enough to earn a scholarship at the University of Indianapolis and became such an inspiring story that the NCAA created an annual spirit award in her honor.She turned pro in 2003, played three years on the Futures Tour, and competed in National Amputee Golf Association national tournaments. She’s won 10 consecutive NAGA women’s national titles. The record is 11. But her life had to be about more than winning. She proved she could play and do it well. Something had to come next.

“I like teaching people who are like myself the game of golf,” said Moore, 32, Indianapolis. “They need to overcome challenges and obstacles in their lives. I need to get them up and
moving again.”

As the PGA’s only teaching professional who is an amputee, Moore works with NAGA as well as in conjunction with SRT’s National Prosthetics Center to provide lessons and offer invaluable advice in clinics and speaking engagements.

“I’m not going to sit there and let my issues overtake what I want to do in life,” she said. “That’s what I try to convey to others who I talk with who have disabilities and are like myself. They want to quit and they want to give up. You see it all the time, especially new amputees. They will get fit for a prosthesis and never use it. They will just sit around and their stump will change and it hurts them to put their prosthesis on.”

Told their youngest of three children would never walk, Chuck and Jane Moore quickly realized otherwise and decided Kim needed a prosthesis when the 2-year-old girl started hobbling around. In addition to the right leg being deformed and subsequently amputated below the knee at birth, Kim was born with a club left foot. She’s probably had more surgeries over the years on her left foot than what remains of her right leg. Not that it slowed her down much.

“She just kind of took off,” said Jane, 58. And she hasn’t stopped.

Chuck was at the The Players Club in Yorktown, Ind., when Kim recorded the third of four career hole-in-ones. “I’ve played 40 years and I’ve yet to get one,” said Chuck, 60. “I’d be jumping up and down and going nuts. Not her. She raised her arm in the air and kept walking.”

This much was clear about Kim from an early age. She never complained. And she didn’t get overly emotional about much. “She’s never felt sorry for herself,” her mother said. “And it just seems like the older she gets, the more she helps others.”

Adds Chuck, “It’s hard for her to realize how special she is.”

The 65th U.S. NAGA Championships are Aug. 13-15 in Lincoln, Neb. Moore bested 12 women in last year’s victory at Brickyard Crossing and finished fifth overall out of 124 entrants. Yet she’s not looking that far ahead. She checks her calendar to remind herself about upcoming clinics or speaking engagements. Each visit is an opportunity to share her story and make a difference in the lives of others. “What a wonderful girl,” Danser said. “She’s so patient. And she’s turned my golf game around. I can’t get enough of playing golf now. This next year, I’m going to be playing a lot more, if I can find somebody to play with. My brother might not be as excited to play with me.”

— By Phillip B. Wilson, February 24, 2013. Reprinted with permission of the Indianapolis Star.

the authorMarty