In the early 1970s, Dennis Walters was a rising amateur golfer who nearly earned a spot on the PGA Tour.
But his life changed in 1974, when a golf-cart accident in New Jersey left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Then 24, Walters admits some dark days followed. But he started playing golf again, and in 1977, he launched the Dennis Walters Golf Show, which combines golf and life lessons into an hour-long program.
These days, the Jupiter, Fla., resident performs about 100 show a year. He'll be at Pinecrest Golf Course in Bluffton on Sunday for a free event that's open to the public.
John Brown, owner of Brown Golf Management, which owns the course, said Walters' program is part of several free golf activities at Pinecrest from 1 to 5 p.m. A cookout, free golf lessons from the club's teaching staff and a putting contest are planned. Walters show begins at 2 p.m.
"It's great golf, it's a lot of fun and it's a lot of trick shots," Walters said in a phone interview this week. "But aspects of encouraging and challenging others to reach for their dreams and reach for things they didn't think they could are interwoven through the show."
Walters will hit golf balls with clubs made from a car radiator hose, a club that bends in three spots and a club made from a fishing rod, among others.
Walters' 20-pound terrier mix, Bucky, also is incorporated into the show. The dog barks answers to questions and tees up the golf ball for some of Walters' shots.
"What I am trying to present is a universal message," Walters said. "Everyone told me it would be impossible to do this. I want everyone in the audience to do whatever it is they want to do."
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.
- Bluffton's Brown taking advantage of buyer's market in golf world, 07/28/11
- Dennis Walters' website
- Brown Golf Management