There are two million car accidents in the USA every year with over 43,000 fatalities. Those lucky enough to survive have trouble getting back to normal. Others overcome and excel at their chosen professions.
Greg Rounds, head pro at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth, Mass was born without vision in one eye. Yet, Greg never allowed this to stop him from participating in sports, especially the sport of golf. This passion to overcome any obstacles would serve him well a few years later.
Greg is a native of Swansea, Massachusetts and grew up next to a golf course. At the age of 5 Greg developed an interest in playing the game. When his parents loaded up the car for a trip to the golf course, Greg would sneak into the back seat. Upon arriving at the course, his parents discovered Greg, who reasoned that since he was already there, he should be allowed to tee it up with his mom and dad.
Greg quickly developed into a prodigious golfer, but at the age of 10 his life almost came to an end. On a frigid New Years Eve, Greg was a passenger in a car that was involved in a horrible car accident. He was rushed to a hospital and spent the next three months fighting to recover from this serious car crash. He had sustained a number of injuries, including multiple fractures, the most serious being the leg. The tibia and the fibula are the two bones in the lower leg which connects the knee and ankle, were both crushed. Greg was healing from some of the injuries, but his leg was not responding to treatment. And this 10-year-old boy faced a life-changing event which threatened his chance to excel at sports.
The doctors told them that the shattered bones were not healing, and amputation of his leg may be the best option. “I was 10 years old and had been in the hospital for three months and I just wanted to go home,” said Greg. So, this 10-year-old boy told the doctors to “cut it off.” At the time, the procedure was such a risky one, that Greg was given the Last Rites of the Catholic Church before the operation.
Thankfully Greg survived the operation and did not let his injuries stop him from playing sports, including basketball and especially golf. When I asked him what kind of adjustments he made that enabled him to play golf he stated simply “When I fell down, I got up again and kept going.” Rounds worked on his game and managed to establish a 12 handicap at the age of 13.
The local sports media heard about his accomplishments and after years of hard work Rounds won the coveted Joe Lazaro award from the Boston Globe. Joe Lazaro was a World War 2 veteran that lost his sight when a mine exploded in Italy. After recovering from his wounds, Lazaro played golf as a form of therapy, and eventually won seven national blind golf championships. In that same spirit Greg continued to develop his game, and eventually won a golf scholarship to Rollins College in Florida.
While he played collegiate golf, Greg competed against some future tour pros like Chris DiMarco, who would go on to win eight PGA tournaments. Rounds said, “I would shoot par, and guys like Chris would score in the sixties, I knew I had developed a good game, but it was then that I realized that I would never live my dream of playing on the PGA Tour.” But he knew he could still realize his dream of becoming a golf professional.
He started working in the golf business at the bag room of Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. He progressed to the position of assistant pro at Crestwood Country Club from 1997-2010 and then assistant pro at Quidnessett in North Kingston, RI, eventually returning to Crestwood as the head pro in 2014.
Greg has developed an exemplary junior golf program at Crestwood in addition to serving the needs of the members. Greg is busy providing lessons and seeing to the needs of the all the members. He has also given instruction to several amputees who wished to develop their golf game despite their physical challenges. “I tell them that they can succeed if they practice with confidence. Confidence is the most important thing to have.”
How is Greg’s golf game these days? “He told me that in the winter he spends some time in the Dominican Republic. “I had a few good rounds” he replied, “shooting a 69 and a 64.”
As a member of Crestwood Country Club, I always look for Greg before teeing up. A quick friendly greeting and a little bit of advice from such a determined man always makes my day. After all confidence is the key to success.