Blind Golfer Defies Odds To Become Champion

blind golfer
photo by Dave Copeland / NBC News

Life never came easily for Zohar Sharon, an Israeli golfer that began losing his sight at the age of 25. Sharon was involved in a chemical accident as a conscript in the Israeli Defence Forces. Over the next few years, his vision deteriorated, as did his life.

Sharon recalls a particular day when things turned especially sour. Married with a beautiful daughter, his girl came home from school crying. Other children were pretending to be blind and laughing at her. That’s when Sharon knew he had to change his perspective on life.

“That’s when I decided, yes I’m blind but I’m not just a blind person. I’m going to do something with my life. I studied law, I learnt how to paint, explained Sharon. “I felt that I was a broken flowerpot, everything was in pieces,” 

Sharon was introduced to golf through his wife’s divorce lawyer. The lawyer handed Sharon a shoe box, placed it on the carpet and put a small radio behind it. He turned the radio on and told Sharon to putt the ball into the box.

While it took Sharon a few weeks to compute the idea, he was soon hooked.

Israel’s only 18-hole course, Caesarea Golf Club, ensured Sharon got full sponsorship for his golfing endeavours. They provided him vehicles, lessons and clubs. After a year of playing frequently, it soon became clear how naturally talented Sharon was.

Now 62 years old, Sharon is an international golf champion having clinched his first world title in 2003. Since then, he has amassed four more titles, all at international events for players with disabilities.

“I felt that I was a broken flowerpot, everything was in pieces,” he said. “Golf has helped me glue those pieces together again.”

Sharon’s guide dog, Venus, is an important piece in his golfing life. Together, they have fallen and got straight back up. When asked what golf has taught him about life, Sharon’s answered without hesitation:

“You learn when you fall and have to get up.”