Mike Gays is getting ready to hit the fairways for a major tournament in France – but the Brampton man is no ordinary golfer.
The player who celebrated his 26th birthday on April 25) will be making his debut in a European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) competition when he takes part in the Handigolf French Open from May 1-3 in Saint Omer.
Mike was born with a condition called fibular hemimelia,which meant he had no fibula in his right leg.
He underwent almost 30 operations, but ultimately felt that amputation would provide the best solution and underwent the procedure in October, 2014.
Incredibly he was spotted at the driving range just a few days later and that sums up his attitude to life.
Mike, a member at Brampton Park, said: “In the last couple of years it became apparent that I was left with a leg that basically wasn’t up to the job.
“I came round to thinking that it would be better to get the leg cut off and have a prosthetic instead. I spoke to doctors in the UK and the USA and they agreed amputation was the best option.
“I have always been pretty level-headed about the whole thing and knew I needed to make the decision that would be best for me in the long-term.
“The condition has also had an effect on my knees, my hip and my back.
“There are plenty of people worse off than I am in life and I felt having the amputation would open up more doors than it closes. That’s certainly what I’m finding.
“Even after all the operations there was still a couple of centimetres difference in the length of my legs.
“Now, with a prosthetic limb, I’ve got considerably better balance and stability.”
Mike is hoping the improvements could lead to better performances on the course.
“I had got down to a handicap of four last year and I’m hopeful of getting pretty close to scratch in time. I’ve heard there are some very good golfers playing in these tournaments, but hopefully I can get myself into the top bracket if I play well. I’m looking for a good result.”
The Handigolf French Open is the second of 11 events on the EDGA calendar and Mike is not ruling out further appearances in the future.
He is also a keen cyclist and is looking forward to spending plenty of time in the saddle during the summer months.
It is shaping up to be a busy year as he gets married to partner Nina in Italy in late September. x