Local golfer overcoming odds, playing with rare condition
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Summerville resident and Elon University golfer, Matthew Doyle, is holding his own on the golf course while overcoming adversity.
“When you’re told at six or seven years old that you’re never gonna be able to play sports, that’s demoralizing,” Doyle said.
Doyle has legg-calve-perthes, a rare condition where the head of the thigh bone, at the hip socket, is abnormally shaped. It limits his range of motion and worsens with impact and physical activity.
“When I turned 12, I was forced to kind of quit everything,” Doyle said. “Baseball was my other main sport. Because I couldn’t really continue to run.”
Doyle says when he was in high school he had hopes of playing college golf. When he found out the NCAA would approve his doctors recommendations to use a golf cart, that was a huge factor in realizing he could play division one golf. Usually golfers are required to walk all 18 holes.
Doyle is now a sophomore at Elon. He tied for 13th at the CAA championship last year and was awarded CAA Men’s Golfer of the Week honors this past fall.
Doyle has had to restructure his golf game in order to compensate for his hip pain.
“The biggest thing for me, I can’t clear my hips through as much, so I can’t really turn through. So, a lot of my swings always been upper body,” Doyle said.
Doyle reiterated that many coaches tell golfers to swing through their hips, but since he couldn’t do that, he has an orthodox swing.
“So, if I’m on I’m on, other wise, I’m trying to find my way around the golf course.”
Doyle says he’ll likely need a hip replacement around age 25, after he’s done growing.
He’s a member of a Facebook group with young kids who also have legg-calve-perthes. Doyle says he’s found joy in helping other kids find a sport that they can play, despite their disease.
“I’ve kind of inspired people to have golf as an outlet even though they haven’t been able to pursue other sports that they love,” Doyle said.
Doyle’s dream is to make the PGA Tour one day, but if that doesn’t happen, he hopes he can continue being an inspiration for other people with his disability to still follow their dreams.
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