Golfing with Special Olympic Athletes | Adventures In Golf Season 4


Hi, I’m Erik. And this is– (IN UNISON)
“Adventures in Golf.” That was perfect. [LAUGHS] [MUSIC PLAYING] For me, a good adventure
in golf is made up of multiple parts, part
travel, part golf, obviously, and part learning experience. For this episode, the
emphasis is directly placed on the learning experience. I’ve traveled just 20 miles
south from my house in LA to Recreation Park South, a
nine-hole public golf course. And at first glance, it may
not really seem like anything that special. But it happens to
be the home course for the local athletes
who are members of the Special Olympics. And what I’m about
to find out is, you don’t need to travel
halfway around the world to learn some of life’s
greatest lessons. You can do that just
outside your own front door. This is a great
example right here. I think a lot of us,
we live our lives, and we just sort of live
in our own little bubble. And usually, when I
see a handicapped spot, the first thought
that comes my mind is, he’s walking fine, which
is pretty messed up really. But that’s what’s
interesting about what we’re going to go to today. This is about learning. So I’m a little nervous, but
I think that’s a good thing. That’s the sign that it’s
doing something different. But I’m mostly really excited. So let’s focus on
the excitement. We’ve had the privilege of
having the Special Olympics here at our course for
the last six years. They have their
tournaments here. And they also come
here for their practice to hone their games here. Oh, my god. That’s how you do it. Good job. How you doing? I’m Erik. Oh, hi. Hi, Erik. Nice to meet you. Good to meet you. You’re Faith? Yes. How you doing? Hey, I’m Erik. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Good morning. You’re David? Yes, sir. Very cool. How are you? We’re better as a couple. And you play golf together. Yes. Joining us for today’s round
is Kyle, another athlete who trains, plays,
and competes thanks to the efforts of
the Special Olympics. Sports does a lot of
things in our society. It teaches, it sells, it
entertains, it motivates. It’s also the great equalizer. What the Special
Olympics does is advocate for the last truly
underrepresented segment of society, which is people
with intellectual disabilities. And it’s my job here
in Southern California to provide our 40,000
athletes, give or take, with equitable training and
competitive opportunities, just like you deserve,
just like I deserve. Good luck. What about me? Oh. [LAUGHS] Good luck. I need luck, too. Oh, you’re playing with us? Good luck. Aw, thank you. And just like that,
I’m part of the group, quelling the last of my nerves. And as Faith’s
parents point out, if only everyone was accepting
as these athletes are. People treat them
differently often. It’s a natural
reaction, I guess, not giving them the credit
for where they really have the abilities, because
they have a disability. And every disability
is different, and every ability is different. So it’s hard when people
only focus on their negative and not their positive. What you guys do makes
them feel included. Right. Exactly. Which is so important. This is going to be fun. I’m excited. Yeah, you’re going to love it. It’s that inclusion that draws
the athletes, the volunteers, and the sponsors to the Special
Olympics year after year. Golf as a sport celebrates
our individuality. We all come to the sport
with a unique path. We as a business are inspired by
the uniqueness of our customers and their stories. And as a partner with
Special Olympics, we are inspired with them
on their individuality. Are we going to
have a commercial? Ha. We’re going to do a commercial. [LAUGHS] It’s this trifecta connecting
us all together and really around that mission of
inclusion and individuality. As we wait to tee
off, I’m already enamored with this group,
whose honesty and kindness seems to have no bounds. Good shot, brother. All right. The key is, is you’re
playing to better yourself. Right. That’s how the game works. That’s the sole
lesson of golf, right. It is. It’s a good lesson. I have faith in him. I have faith in him, too. He’s going to go
right in the middle. It’s in the middle. May have spoke too soon. I could play that. Little tight. Yeah. Well, it takes time to warm up. That was a good shot, though. Thank you. If you’re wondering,
I did not do that on purpose, which is
both good and bad. So, Kyle, how did
you get into golf? Well, I got into golf
with my dad and my uncle. I got into golf at an early age,
right around three years old. Wow. And so I participated
in my first tournament probably five years ago. It is nice. That’s great. Placed third place, but I
wasn’t mad, but I wasn’t happy. I was sort of in
the middle ground. That’s golf for you. Yeah. You’re going left. No, that’s more left. There you go. When Faith met David, it
was through a girlfriend that had dated David. And she said, oh, you’d
really like this guy. And so she brought him home. He wouldn’t even look at us. He was looking at the ground. He was so scared. Scared. And they wanted to
move out together. And that’s right when
her medication failed, and she was so ill and having
so many seizures that they couldn’t. So he moved in with us instead. Line. Boom. Boom. I’ve been very blessed
with Faith’s parents. They gave me a shot– Yeah. –and trusted me. And I help her
with her seizures. We bowl together. And we play golf together
and bocce and have fun. For 11 years, he’s stood
by her and caught her when she was falling and
literally stood this close to her. And now she’s had five years
without seizures and a trip to Abu Dhabi. Who would have ever thought it? This is opening ceremonies. In March of this year,
Faith was selected to go to the Special
Olympics World Summer Games held in Abu Dhabi in
the United Arab Emirates. They were doing different
sports like bowling, basketball, different sports. That sounds fun. Yeah, it was fun. And I did golf. I was the only one
doing golf from America. Why did you choose golf? Because I love golf. And I got a gold medal for
golf, participation gold. When I took this job, a lot of
people from the sports world would say, Bill, that’s
wonderful what you’re doing for those poor people. And I said, you think we
drive the bus up to the park and get off and kick
the ball around? That’s not the Special Olympics. You need to come out and
see what this is all about. You will see some fairly
severely disabled athletes who compete with courage, who
compete with determination, who compete with emotion. You’re also going
to see athletes that are bordering on elite
that are incredibly skilled, that happen to have an
intellectual disability. So we kind of cover the gamut. I’m just glad that
you’re doing what you’re doing, because
golf has always been a very elitist sport. And by you doing these
programs, even more people are going to see that
there’s access to it, and it’s a great game. It’s a game for a lifetime. I mean, this is something that
Faith and David can do forever. Good shot. Nice lay. We just got back
from a tournament. It’s called Field Day. Have you heard of that? Field Day. No, I haven’t. Well, what it is– Field Day is involved
with all sports. OK. And they show people we can
actually do it, ability. Oh, that’s great. Like we’re showing
you right now. Right. With how we can play golf. Yeah. And how we
communicate very well. Very well. Yeah, exactly. Actually, I would say, better
than most on a golf course, really. Yeah, for sure. Your level of honesty is– makes me wish more
people were that honest. But it’s not,
because we’re living into a world that’s very cruel. The only way to get better
is to understand each other. Yeah. Like if you had a
Down syndrome son, you still have to
love that child. Yeah. Because that child will grow up
and benefit themself and show others at that
school how to love. Yeah, we don’t learn that. Our athletes can
be very disarming. Their transparency,
their honesty is just so winsome that you
can’t help but be touched. [INAUDIBLE] I don’t think I was
entirely expecting this. Everybody gets involved because
they want to help the athlete. And what happens is that
the athlete helps us. Oh. [LAUGHS] Great shot. Great shot. We learn patience, we
learn perseverance, we learn that you don’t get
things right on the first try, but keep trying. We learn to appreciate and
take on new challenges. I don’t know what we can’t learn
from Special Olympics athletes. They are just so motivating
and inspirational. Great job. OK, there we go. That was a fun, guys. Thank you, Kyle. That was fun. I know that it’s definitely
impacted Faith and David’s life amazingly. The places they’ve
been, the people they’ve been in contact with,
the things that they’ve done would never have happened
without the game of golf. And they’ve been in a lot of
sports in Special Olympics, but there’s nothing like
Special Olympics golf.


94 Responses

  1. Beach Fraser

    December 3, 2019 11:13 pm

    I am a retired Tennis academy Pro, English but worked most of my life in Germany, took up golf 6 years ago, play loads, taught many wheelchair tennis happy people, nothing more satisfying than doing this!! well done for exposing and promoting these truly amazing people!!

  2. David Golf

    December 3, 2019 11:18 pm

    Erik a FANTASTIC video, thank you. One of my best friends growing up had downs syndrome and he was the coolest kids to be around. This took me back many, many years and really touched my heart again. They really do have hearts of gold and are so loving. We can learn from them.

  3. Nick Woloszyn

    December 3, 2019 11:34 pm

    Erik, thank you for shining a light on these athletes and the Special Olympics! I was fortunate enough to act as a scorekeeper for the 2019 SO Fall Golf Championships and it was undoubtedly one of the greatest golf experiences I've had. I'll never forget when the athlete I was paired with hit a goose with his ball off the tee. After we assured him the goose wasn't harmed, we all had a good laugh. I'd encourage everyone to volunteer your time or donate if you can!

  4. Alex Field

    December 3, 2019 11:36 pm

    I have a lot of respect for you for being as honest as you were when you were taking about handicap parking spots. Anyone who can admit fault like that and show that they want to learn and are open to their mind being changed like that is okay in my book. Good on you for recognizing your ignorance and bettering yourself. We are all ignorant in one area or another, the world would be a much better place if everyone could do this.

  5. Steve B

    December 3, 2019 11:38 pm

    I've coached swimming for 22 years. We've had some Olympians come through our program. To see these athletes become part of a team. To be accepted no matter what special needs they may have. Not only to see their individuality emerge but to hear them groan about Butterfly drills just like every teenager. Seeing them be brave enough to travel with the Special Olympics Program and returning home to tell you every detail of their trip. Finally, having to ask them how they swam……because the trip, the friends and the experience was as important as the swim meet. People…..just wonderful people.

  6. Brent Colby

    December 3, 2019 11:40 pm

    erik i had the pleasure quite a few years ago to caddy for some of the special olympic athletes on one of the hardest courses in New England ( Yale Golf club). it was an amazing day to witness the talent these athletes have. they were all supportive of each other and cheer each other on even though they were competing against each other. it was a wonderful sight to see, it gave me a new respect for the game to see how it should be played on a daily basis.. thank you Erik for showing others there skills and joy of there game.

  7. Matt Elkington

    December 3, 2019 11:44 pm

    This video should be watched before you play every round of golf for the rest of your life.
    That long put off the green, amazing.
    Great work EAL and all the team behind the scenes.

  8. Juan Alvarez

    December 3, 2019 11:47 pm

    What an amazing episode to end this season with. Thanks for another great season and I’m really looking forward for the next season of Adventures in Golf.

  9. Jared W

    December 4, 2019 12:24 am

    These are my true hero's! Those who aren't afraid to conquer adversity to reach their goals, on a daily basis. These fine folks can teach the Golf community what acceptance means.

  10. Matthew Hatfield

    December 4, 2019 12:43 am

    Erik. This was the most humbling piece you and your team have created to date. Thanks for sharing you most important adventure in golf with us all today.

  11. David Williams

    December 4, 2019 1:03 am

    This one was special Erik. Not what I was expecting at all. Those are some awesome people you got to hang out with for the day.

  12. Diz Pipe

    December 4, 2019 1:11 am

    Thank you Mr Lang for this episode. I have a special needs son that plays on a local special needs sports team and The Special Olympics. What David said at the end needs to be preached to the world. Again sir, thank you for this episode, thank you for taking time and spending time with the athletes and thank you for spreading awareness and inclusion.

  13. Connor Lansdown

    December 4, 2019 1:25 am

    That was an amazing episode.
    Not often that something brings a tear to my eye.
    Keep doing what you do man. Spreading love and positivity is so important.

  14. lolzorr5

    December 4, 2019 1:30 am

    Wow. A wonderful episode of this great show. Erik always seems to be a man of many words but watching him not have words to say after David’s profound speech was a powerful moment. Great work y’all.

  15. Brother Dunne

    December 4, 2019 1:32 am

    Well done! Love the episodes that show how golf is so much more than an elite, country club sport.

  16. Pokediesel23

    December 4, 2019 1:51 am

    Huge fan of any video you and your team have created for AIG and RGC… but this might be the most inspiring video you've produced to date. Keep up the incredible work guys!

  17. Millennial Culture

    December 4, 2019 2:30 am

    "We're living in a world that's very cruel. The only way to get better is to understand each other. If you had a downs syndrome son, you still have to love that child… Because that child will grow up and benefit himself, and show others that tool: how to love."
    Erik, how many times have you been left speechless? I daresay you can count it on one hand. You should be proud of producing such a stirring video.


    December 4, 2019 2:34 am

    thank you for this more people need to see this. golf is such a special sport and everyone needs to try it

  19. somdslight

    December 4, 2019 2:41 am

    Cant hit like HARD enough. One of your best ever. What wondeful ambassadors for golf showcased in this episode!

  20. nmbassy

    December 4, 2019 4:49 am

    Good for you, Erik. What an awesome video. You've gone to some amazing courses with amazing backstories, but this is by far the best episode I've seen. Everything said in this video is 100% true and genuine. Thank you.

  21. Monte Miller

    December 4, 2019 5:23 am

    EAL I see your mind unwrapping a beautiful gift in this video. When you boil us as humans, all the way down, the one thing we all have a need for is LOVE. You found a lot of love in this adventure!!

  22. John MangO

    December 4, 2019 5:26 am

    dude videos get me so emotional!!!!! jeeeez man!!!! so many videos with such deep meaning. truly hoping to meet u in person one day just to tell u how amazing of a person u are erik! u really are the my favorite person on the internet.

  23. nothingstands

    December 4, 2019 5:33 am

    what is this salty discharge?! amazing video and people. the transparency, honesty and understanding should make all of us take a long look in the mirror. thank you erik.

  24. Damian Miller

    December 4, 2019 5:35 am

    This video is more than about golf, it is life and how the teachers are sometimes people we barely see and/or talk to unless we open our eyes, ears, and spirits. EAL, your best video yet and the most human…

  25. Golden God

    December 4, 2019 5:57 am

    I didn't even read the adventures in golf part of the title, huge fan of the show but I was very interested in this episode. Thanks.

  26. TheBigEasy

    December 4, 2019 6:09 am

    I do have a son with Down Syndrome and I am so proud of him! Thank you Mr. Lang for this, people need to see and understand how truly special they ALL are. As Matthew Achstatter said about someone cutting onions…….Mine are tears of joy! Thank you once again.

  27. Matthew O'Brien

    December 4, 2019 6:12 am

    how come all these blogs you make touch me so deeply dam onions
    great work love it all as always.

  28. Scott Hollingsworth

    December 4, 2019 7:41 am

    I love this! Having mental handicaps in my family this is really inspiring and uplifting! This show is always fun and I always watch but this episode is something else. I hope that more people get out and play for the connection with others!

  29. Scott Hutchison

    December 4, 2019 8:34 am

    To be honest the most touching and real video. Makes you take a step back and take a moment to be grateful and realise what it's all about.

  30. Brian Johnson

    December 4, 2019 9:09 am

    Great video Erik! Quite possibly your best yet. I had a friend growing up that had down syndrome and his honesty was always touching. He was a true friend and a great person despite his differences.

  31. BDwyer91

    December 4, 2019 10:04 am

    As a PE teacher with two special ed classes, I may now show this episode to my mainstream students to show them that those in the special olympics or special ed are not different then the rest of us.

  32. Deetroiter

    December 4, 2019 11:11 am

    These athletes on their worst day would shame most all of us on even our best days. These athletes are absolutely world class, no doubt!

  33. Jacob Vonloh

    December 4, 2019 11:29 am

    What a beautiful story. Incredibly captured and brought to the public in such a positive light. Love it guys, keep it up!

  34. Dylan Nguyen

    December 4, 2019 12:27 pm

    This is by far my favorite episode of Adventures in Golf. Whether or not you have a disability everyone deserves the same opportunity as anyone else. Love love love this.

  35. Bandit Baker

    December 4, 2019 1:29 pm

    I feel truly Blessed to have watched this episode thank you so much Erik for sharing this with us, David & Faith are indeed special people!
    But I have no words too strong for anyone who could thumb down this vid, but I am so glad that I am not them as their humanity must be worthless!

  36. Doug

    December 4, 2019 6:35 pm

    I played with Eric at Winter Park in the skins game the day he shot the interview with the lady from a United and he really is a good dude. Shows in the video, he seemed really moved by this experience. And like many of you, I'm not crying, you're crying. Great piece, Eric.

  37. Adam Metcalf

    December 4, 2019 8:42 pm

    Thank you🙏 just amazing stuff as always. Fantastic stuff from you, your crew, the course staff, The Special Olympics, and most importantly the athletes👍. Honesty, Bravery, and some of the biggest hearts on the planet.

  38. Team TaylorMade

    December 4, 2019 9:23 pm

    From someone who lost their sister at a young age due to Niemann pick, this just hits home for me. Understanding and accepting 1 another is the first fundamental to growing as a culture. We're all the same from equal parts of life. I hope this opens people's minds and hearts to just accept and love one another. We're all human.

  39. Matthew Robert Haag

    December 4, 2019 9:42 pm

    I don’t think I have ever teared up from a video about golf before this one. Seriously, thank you for shining light on this, Erik. Adventures in Golf not only shows how truly diverse and amazing the game of golf and the individuals who play it are, it also teaches us lessons on life and how to love, listen to, and respect others outside of the world of golf.

  40. Nathan Vriens

    December 4, 2019 10:16 pm

    Erik, Thank you for making such inspiring content! The lessons we learn from special needs athletes are in-measurable! "Every disability is different; every ability is different" is a quote that reminds me how special everyone is! I know this video wasn't made to fetch donations. But is there somewhere we can donate so Faith, David, and Kyle don't have any financial burdens throughout their careers?

    Thanks again, Erik! I look forward to your next enlightening video!


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