Teen Aims to Become First Blind PGA Golfer
By Casey Vaughn and Trent Butler, WHNS
Greer, SC (WHNS) — Most people who have 20/20 vision have a hard time hitting a golf ball, but a 15-year-old showed the Upstate of South Carolina you don’t have to actually see the ball when you’re living by faith.
Jake Olson is like most teenagers, he enjoys playing putt-putt golf, he wants to finish first when he’s zipping around a go-cart track, but there is one difference – he’s blind.
Jake lost sight in one eye to cancer before he turned one, yet he never slowed down and continued to battle cancer, returning eight separate times.
In Nov. 2009, another operation was needed that would take his sight entirely.
“I can sit here being blind and complain about being blind and say all the things why me?” said Jake. “Why did I have to go through this? Why did I have to lose my sight? And sit there all day in bed and pout. But, I started thinking to myself, where is that going to get me in life? What am I going to achieve by doing that?”
The answer was nothing. Before losing his eyesight, Jake practiced golf with his eyes closed, knowing that darkness would soon be his reality.
He admits it was not pretty at first, but through a lot of hard work and perseverance, he’s moving forward with his goal of becoming the first blind golfer on the PGA tour.
“I decided to work hard, stick with the game of golf, and what comes out of it comes out of it,” said Jake. “And right now I’m hitting it better than I was with sight.”
Right now, Jake shoots in the low 80s.
Jake traveled to the Upstate this week to share his passion for golf and message of hope called “Open Your Eyes to a Happier Life” at an event at Covenant United Methodist Church in Greer on Wednesday.
“It really does put a feeling in me that God allowed this tragedy of me losing my eyesight and dealing with cancer my whole life, he made it out for the good,” said Jake at the event. “And he’s using me through my story to inspire others.
Jake is a huge sports fan, especially the University of Southern California where he hopes to major in broadcasting and work on-air in sports talk radio.
While his goals may be ambitious to some, Jake said he is just following his own advice – the future you see is the future you get.
Besides golf, Jake also plays football at his school in California. He also surfs, plays guitar and is an “A” student. He has written a book, and the proceeds go to his foundation that provides support and resources to other blind children.