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I recently had the privilege of attending a two-day B.I.O.N.I.C. ("Believe It Or Not I Can") Golf Seminar given by LPGA Teaching Professional, Martha Sue Yeary. As a golf instructor for over 20 years, I truly learned more about teaching golf to the developmentally disabled in those two days than from any other Golf Seminar. I have been very involved with Special Olympics Golf instruction for the past 10 years, but I learned some valuable techniques from Martha Sue and I have implemented the techniques in my teaching. The thing that caught my attention is how Martha Sue was able to keep our disabled golfers interested and learning. I watched with amazement as Martha Sue taught first time disabled golfers how to make a swing through her series of simple yet extremely effective drills. I have to admit I was skeptical at first, but she made a believer out of me.
Martha Sue's method was so simple yet effective. She had students understanding and making the swing motion in a very short amount of time. Golf is challenging enough, but add a developmental disability and it can be quite frustrating, unless Martha Sue is teaching you. Besides the excellent drills and her knowledge of golf, Martha Sue is passionate about helping others and it shows. She has an excellent sense of humor and a ready smile that can put anyone at ease. I highly recommend Martha Sue's teaching techniques to any golf instructor, especially those teaching the developmentally disabled. I certainly learned a great deal and enjoyed the entire process. It would be my pleasure to speak to anyone on behalf of Martha Sue.
Bill Iwinski, PGA
Head Golf Professional
Ironwood Golf Course
Gainesville, FL 32609
From Other Golf Professionals
A couple of months ago, I was introduced to a lady named Martha Sue Yeary. She came to our golf course with a goal of getting students of all ages with special needs to take part in a golf program and learn the basics of a sport many people across the country play and love. While I have worked with these types of students before through the Special Olympics program, I never fully understood what they were going through until Martha Sue shed light on what it was like to have a disability.
Through her Bionic Golf Program, she taught me a teaching method of getting the student to visualize what was going to happen and taking everyday things that they know and understand and relate it to trying to hit a golf ball. I, like many others, was skeptical at the beginning when she told us to have the students talk to the ball, wiggle the hips, or even yell out a happy word if the ball was struck well. However low in behold, this method actually worked with the students and they became fascinated with saying hi to the ball as they addressed it and the happy word became louder and louder, just as the smile on their faces did, as we continued to go through the program.
As the weeks progressed however and the students started to learn more and more about the game of golf, I started to discover that it was me actually learning more than them. It wasn't about the game of golf; it was about life and how hard these kids with special needs have had it throughout their lives. It made me realize that worrying about waiting in traffic or having an argument with my spouse is petty compared to what these kids go through day in and day out. What Martha Sue has done is given them hope and the opportunity to do something they thought they never could have accomplished in life. To see the excitement on their faces after a good shot has meant the world to me and I have treasured every moment I have spent with the students and have established a relationship with them that I never would have without Bionic Golf. I know that this program is only at the beginning stages of what Martha Sue envisions happening and her work ethic and drive to help these kids is something that I have never seen in a person. I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring students from our community in and take them through the process of feeling like they too can accomplish something people have told them they would never be able to do. So whether or not it's a couple or a couple of thousand kids that she is able to help, each one is better for having met Martha Sue and her program.
Jeff Cardozo Assistant Golf Professional
Ironwood Golf Course
I am on the National Advisory Board for B.I.O.N.I.C. Golf and the New Life Skills Program for Persons with developmental Disabilities.
Martha Sue Yeary is a gifted LPGA Professional and has developed B.I.O.N.I.C. Golf, a remarkable grass roots program that is developing partnerships between PGA and LPGA professionals and physical therapists to bring quality golf and lifestyle coaching to persons with developmental disabilities.
I am the PGA advisor and liaison between this board and the PGA Sections and members. It is our goal to help PGA Sections and members reach an understanding of how this program and training can help their clients and communities.
My introduction to B.I.O.N.I.C. Golf was as a host club for Martha Sue's training at Neumann Golf Course in Cincinnati in 2002 during her 2002 B.I.O.N.I.C. GOLF Cross-Country Tour. On the tee line was a man with a visual impairment, a woman that had never touched a club before and the host professional that had played one of the top five clubs in Ohio that Monday (it was not a good experience for the pro). After about ten minutes the golf professional had an "a-ha moment."
The next day brought a man with both legs amputated below the knee and a man with MS. It was an eye opening and life-changing week. I saw a vision of growth in a personally rewarding direction.
I am a member of the PGA since 1973 and a Quarter Century Club member. Great PGA and LPGA teachers have influenced me throughout my career. I have 50,000 ways to say it. Now I have 30 more. And those 30 have changed my life in a very positive way.
First of all, I am now the 2003 Greater Cincinnati PGA Senior Champion. Secondly, my students have the advantage of one turned-on teaching professional. And thirdly, my golf community will experience my growth as I help those challenged by physical and/or emotional disabilities.
I look forward to the role of third party credibility to B.I.O.N.I.C. Golf and Martha Sue's unique visualizations and philosophies.
Bill Terasa, PGA Member
Director of Instruction/Player Development
Billy Casper Golf