Sioux Falls, SD
America offers a number of pastimes, but golf has been a part of Glenn Anderson's life since childhood. 46 years ago, Anderson's dad, Glenn senior, taught him how to play. The golf course is where a father and his four-year-old son discovered they shared more than just a first name.
"I still have one of his clubs from the 1970s in my bag," Anderson said.
Anderson's dad died from cancer about 20 years ago. Yet, he says when he swings his dad is still right there with him.
"That's for my dad," Anderson said, pointing up to the sky after hitting a ball on the driving range.
It is the first time he has swung like that in a while. You see, in January, a doctor amputated Anderson's right hand after it was caught in a machine at a soybean processing company where he works. He now has a state-of-the-art prosthetic hand -- which he controls with muscle movements in his forearm. It even comes with an app, also used to control certain movements.
The prosthetic allows him to wave, pick things up, and even shake someone's hand. Despite his hand's precision, he cannot use it to play golf.
Dr. Tim LeeBurton, the orthopedic surgeon who amputated Anderson's hand because it was so badly damaged, spent months looking for an answer. After a lot of research, he custom built this device for Anderson.
"Drilling you name it. It's almost like carpentry," LeeBurton said, while fitting Anderson's forearm for the new device.
The prosthetic is comprised of a brace on his forearm. The brace has an attachment, which kind of looks like the top part of microphone stand, which allows him to hold a golf club with both hands.
It is not just his doctor, Anderson also has his wife, Clara, to thank for his new opportunity. He thought this visit was going to be just a routine doctor's appointment. His wife surprised him with all of this for his anniversary, including a tee time after the appointment.
"Once I was told we're going golfing with this, my spirit is just through the roof," Anderson said.
Anderson had been trying to swing one-handed, but it just was not cutting it. LeeBurton is glad to see the results of his work.
"This device didn't come out of the box ready to be used. We had to modify things. Going to Home Depot getting different screws and a lot and so on. It took a lot, but it's so worth it," LeeBurton said.
The hours spent building, measuring, and shaping this prosthetic were not just about replacing the hand and restoring his drive on the links. It is also given him what he had thought he had lost: the chance to pass on what his father taught him to his own children.
"We have a three year old son, and I was hoping to share my sports experience with him, and maybe lead him to that way of life. And that opportunity was taken away from me," Anderson said. "Now I have that back."
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