DISABILITY GOLF: Big-hitting Brampton man Mike Gays ready to do battle for world crown
PUBLISHED: 10:42 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:42 06 March 2018
Mike Gays is bidding to blast his way to world glory this week.
The disability golf star has jetted to America to compete in the World Amputee Long Drive Championship tomorrow and Thursday.
As the name suggests, the object is to hit a golf ball as far as possible and Gays has his sights set on topping 400 yards as he does battle against the best at Mesquite Sports & Event Complex in Nevada.
The 29 year-old, a three-handicapper from Brampton Park Golf Club, said: “Long drive is becoming more and more popular for able-bodied people.
“It was first mentioned to me by another disability player. I’ve never competed in it before, but it would be pretty cool to be a world champion so I’m giving it a go.
“I’m probably the longest hitter on the European Disabled Tour. I can usually hit it around 300 yards – but I need to put another 100 on top of it for long drive. It’s about finding the perfect blend of power, strength and technique.
“I use a much heavier and longer club for long drive, and I’ve done a lot of work on my technique which is different to that of regular golf when you’re not always trying to whack the skin off the ball.
“The long drive tournament is also held at higher altitude which tends to make the ball fly a bit further.”
Gays was born with a condition called fibular hemimelia, which meant he had no fibula in his right leg. He had almost 30 operations before undergoing an amputation procedure in 2014.
He added: “I’ve been an amputee for more than three years now and have been pushing myself to find new things to compete in.
“Golf will almost certainly be a Paralympics sport by 2024 and that’s my long-term goal. Right now, I’m just trying to gain as much experience in as many different events as possible
“I’m fortunate to have the flexibility to do that as I run my own business.”
Gays is the vice captain of the England Disabled Golf Team, who he helped to success in the European Championships. He was also part of the winning side at the Swedish Invitational.
An individual tournament victory features on his list of targets. He has finished as runner-up and in fourth position in European Disabled Tour events in the past.
Gays is 19th in the world disability rankings.