From a distance, Dennis Walterslooks like just about any other golfer on the course. But then there’s his dog, Bucky. Believe it or not, Bucky can count.
“How many tires on a car?” asks Dennis. Bucky responds by barking four times. “And a spare?” asks Dennis. Bucky barks once more.
But Bucky isn’t the only thing that sets Dennis apart from others on the links. Dennis is paralyzed from the waist down. He lost the use of his legs when his golf cart rolled over in 1974.
“I wasn’t going very fast, I was going down a steep hill,” says Dennis. “That’s all I remember.”
Dennis woke up in the hospital. One of his first thoughts was that he would never golf again.
“My big dream was always to play successfully on the PGA tour and I’m laying in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the waist down. It’s not looking really good for my dream.”
But dreams don’t always come true in the way we think they will. Determined to play golf again, Dennis came up with an idea. He rigged up a golf cart with a swiveling seat. While strapped into the seat, Dennis can rotate his hips like any other golfer.
“I hit all of my shots from this seat, then the seat swings around and I drive off and hit the next one. That’s how I got back on the course.”
Dennis didn’t stop there. He’s taken his game on the road. He’s golfed in every state, even overseas. He’s an honorary member of the PGA and a spokesman for The First Tee, an organization that teaches kids respect, sportsmanship and integrity through the game of golf.
“I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I could do.”
He’s teaching others to do the same.
“I’m encouraging people to reach for their dream, strive for excellence and do something they didn’t think they could.”
From a distance, Dennis looks like a lot of golfers on the course. Clearly, he’s not.
“If you’re willing to work hard, persevere and hang in there, I think you can probably be successful at almost anything.”