The golf and I by Andrea Calcaterra (Blind Department Chairman)
I began playing golf by chance in 1961. I was just 9, and I went to the Golf Club in Rapallo to play tennis together with the other kids on holyday, as I was, in Santa Margherita Ligure. But instead of playing tennis I spent the whole afternoon watching some golfers, trying to understand why they were having fun putting a ball in a hole far at least 200 m.
After a few days I wanted to try. That's how I started.
In 1968 I already had a good hcp, for those times: I think 14. We decided to go to Rome for a promising new talents tournament. And what promises! I remember Baldovino Dassu, Massimo Mannelli, Stefano Manca, Federico Lang, Eva Ragher and Federica Dassu; I felt the worst of them, together with my cousin Roberta Cusi.
Thanks to the mentoring of Pietro Manca and Ugo Grapassonni, I could take the Italian Golf Federation (FIG) licence and get into the golf world.
I was so passionate, it was so easy to me to hit the ball that my hcp fall to 7 in just 2 years; and I could play with continuity. As a matter of fact I started winning tournaments and participating to junior championships, as a single player or in team, with fair results. Since 1972 I won some important tournaments.
Then I moved to England, to study and work, and I couldn't join any tournament because I didn't frequent an English golf club officially recognized by the FIG.
When I came back to Italy, in 1976, I began playing really good: my national hcp was 4.
I was one of 50 Italian players with the best hcp, and the FIG called me to join federal courses in addition to juniors teams tournaments.
Later I could play in two International Opens of Italy, in 1978 and in 1979. I went on playing, but my sight began to get worst, and in the 1998 I became blind .
When my friends asked me: «What do you miss more?», I used to answer: «Playing golf».
Thanks to my cousin Arturo, that patiently see me to the Lainate Golf Club to practise, and to coach Ettore Della Torre, who teach me how to play, I started again ...
One day I met Roberto Caja, who founded with Danilo Redaelli the Italian Golf Federation for Disabled (FIGD). From that moment a new life started to me: as a matter of fact, since 2003, I began to participate to tournaments organized by the European Disable Golf Association, both in Europe and Italy.
During three years, I won twice the International Open of Italy in Rimini and Lignano (blind category), I was second at the Open of Spain in 2004, I won three Italian championships at the Collina del Gavi Golf Club, and the 2005 European Championship in Rapallo.
The greatest satisfaction I got was to conquer back a hcp.
I also became counsellor of our Federation: my goal is to promote golf among blind people.
If my friends should ask me now the same question: «What do you miss more?» I would answer: «A wonderful eagle at the hole 17 in Villa d'Este».