Blind golfer gets ‘level playing field’ in night fundraiser
Peter Smith among big field for night golf at Wescott Peter Smith, also known as the Midnight Golfer because he is blind, usually faces a clear disadvantage when he gets out on a golf course. That was not the case, however, during at least one recent outing. Smith joined a large field of golfers participating in a night golf fundraiser for junior golf on November 19 at Wescott Golf Club. Smith joked that he finally had a “level playing field” with the competition. The night golf event is hosted by Wescott General Manager and Director of Instruction Perry Green to raise funds that help purchase equipment for junior golfers. “We do this twice a year when the time changes, in the fall and spring, so we can take advantage of it being dark earlier. But Pete, it doesn’t matter to you what time we tee off does it?” said Green, explaining to the group that Peter is blind. Smith was able to join the event thanks to the help of Tom Radar, his volunteer sight guide for the night. Tom performed the sight guide duties of helping Peter get from shot to shot and giving him guidance on direction and distance. Smith said he had not played night golf before, but it is no different for him. He was paired with autistic golfer Ricky Martin, who played for the Fort Dorchester High School boys team. Smith and Martin took turns coming through with good shots in the Captain’s Choice event. After getting information from his sight guide, Smith was often able to put a pitch or putt close to the hole. That was, at times, a little more challenging than usual for many others in the field, who had to adjust to the darkness. The players used glowing golf balls, and glow sticks were placed on the ground to outline the greens, but it was still difficult to see targets and judge distance. Eight holes were set up on with distances ranging from 55 to 110 yards. Green said this latest night golf fundraiser drew the biggest field yet. He said he put out a call to golf clubs in the area, and many of their golfers stepped up to support the cause. “This is our largest night golf field ever and what that means is more money raised for junior golf,” said Green. “In the last two years, I have given away 64 sets of clubs, irons, woods, bags, for free to kids. Any time one comes to our program who doesn’t have clubs, we can provide them.” Green says he just asks that golfers return clubs when they’re done or when they’ve outgrown them, so he’s become kind of a “clearinghouse” for junior clubs. Green will be looking forward to another big turnout for night golf in the spring, giving golfers another chance to support junior golf, and Smith another shot at a “level playing field.” Note: Look for more on the Midnight Golfer and sight guides in an upcoming issue..