Hyden on course at Victorian Open
PETER Hyden is a lucky man.
It may not seem like it but after being paralysed from a motorbike accident in 2011, he was given a chance to play in the Oates Vic Open Pro-Am alongside a professional golfer and two other road crash survivors.
The TAC contacted Hyden last week — as well as Rod Paykel, of Healesville, and Scott Harris, of Macleod — and invited to play a round with Western Australian pro Whitney Hillier.
The group played at 13th Beach Golf Links — where the Open is being played — in Barwon Heads on Wednesday, with the support of TAC and Golf Victoria.
The Rochester Golf Club member said he had a round to forget, but a day to remember.
‘‘My golf was horrible,’’ Hyden said.
‘‘It was a good course though. I’d never played there so it was the big unknown.
‘‘It was challenging more than anything I’d say. There were two courses there and we played the harder of the two. We had a combined stableford score of 71 points and the winners had 86.’’
Hyden, Paykel and Harris each play golf using customised equipment, including Hyden’s motorised wheelchair which is known as a ‘paragolfer’.
It allows him to be in a standing position to swing a club, which came into great effect on Wednesday.
‘‘It enables me to stand up and swing the club,’’ Hyden said.
‘‘It works for me. There are some good shots and some bad ones, but I might be to blame for that. It goes up hills and down and amongst trees no worries,’’ he said.
Hyden was left paralysed after his accident in October 2011. He lost control of his motorbike on a bend on Healesville-Kinglake Road, veered onto the wrong side of the road and was struck by an oncoming vehicle.
‘‘It’s history now, but I was on my bike and fell off and unfortunately I collided with a car,’’ he said.
‘‘I spent two months in hospital and then had rehab before I came home.
‘‘I haven’t got back on a bike since, and it couldn’t really be a two-wheeler anyway (if I did), but I wouldn’t be scared to get back on, I don’t know why I fell off, I don’t have anything to blame, so I don’t,’’ he said.
Golf Victoria’s Inclusion Program assists people with disabilities to pursue the sport.
With support from the TAC, these golfers have access to cutting-edge technology to get them back onto the course.
TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore said the partnership enables TAC to help clients realise their important goal to get back to playing and ‘‘getting their lives back’’ on track after injury.
‘‘We know that for many people, getting back to their everyday life roles is just as important as getting back to work, whether they are a parent, carer, community volunteer or sports club member,’’ Calafiore said.
Rochester golf fanatic Peter Hyden (second from right) played a once-in-a-lifetime round with Scott Harris, professional player Whitney Hillier, and Rod Paykel at the 13th Beach Golf Links course.