SIOUX FALLS, SD - The Dalai Lama once said, "Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values." For Georgia golfer Butch Lumpkin, it's an idea he's embraced despite not having the one thing he needs to open up. A birth defect caused Lumpkin to be born with no arms. But his values and goals are never out of reach.
Even as Lumpkin tees off...he'd rather cause a racket.
"I'm probably the better tennis player because having taught it forever, I can take you to the court and figure out your weaknesses very, very quick," Lumpkin said.
Lumpkin was born with no arms, a condition caused by his mother taking the morning sickness drug Thalidomide when she was pregnant. But growing up, Lumpkin was always determined to compete even without all his dexterities.
"Somebody said, 'Hey, you got to play soccer because you got no arms, you got great legs,'" Lumpkin said. "I got tired of hearing it. The moment somebody tells me I can't to it, that's more or less like putting fuel in my tank, I'm ready to prove them wrong."
And that's what attracted Lumpkin to a variety of sports, including skiing, race car driving, and of course, golf. Friday afternoon, Lumpkin used his story to both instruct and teach kids about obstacles.
"Everybody's got a challenge they got to overcome," Lumpkin said. "You look out and say, 'I want to be normal and I want to fit into normal,' but what is normal? I don't think I've met the first normal person yet. Everybody's got adversity, everybody's got challenges to overcome."
And it seems one of those challenges for everyone else...is actually going head-to-head with Lumpkin.
"Nobody likes to get outdriven by the guy with no arms," Lumpkin said. "And nobody likes to get beat by me and I usually get the best out of people. I think that's what's kind of fun about me and the cool thing about me is there's no written book on how I'm going to do anything."
But if these kids and his competitors are taking notes, that book will be printed very soon.
In addition to this evening's golf clinic, Lumpkin will also be conducting the Legends' tennis clinic on Saturday. If you'd like to learn more about him, click here to visit his website.
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