ParaGolf Canada Player Profile – Darren Douma
by ~ Todd Keirstead
Darren Douma has been golfing his whole life. Darren even worked in the golf industry for many years, but in 2005, he was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease. Stargardt’s disease not only changed Darren’s relationship with golf, but also his life.
Stargardt’s disease is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration that causes central vision loss. Unfortunately, disease causes progressive vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses or even surgery and there is also no treatment to slow or prevent vision loss.
With having lost much of his vision by 2009, Douma had all but given up on golf, struggling to locate his ball and feeling like a burden to fellow competitors. It took witnessing an incredible shot by Phil Mickelson during the 2010 Masters to pull him out of his rut. Darren was completely inspired by Phil’s shot . That one shot at Augusta National changed his life. It gave him hope. Darren choose to embrace what he was dealt with and found a rejuvenated love for the game again.
Years later, Darren has continued to embrace the game and has become one of the world’s top blind golfers.
Darren plays with the aid of a sight coach who helps make sure he is properly aligned for his shot. Since he still has light perception, the sight coach gives Darren a target in the distance, such as a tall tree, to help him aim and tells him the distance he’ll need to hit. The rest is up to him and his swing.
Darren has competed in multiple Blind Golf Championships including the World Blind Golf Championships in Australia.
“Golf is out there and it’s a life-long outlet for anybody to participate in and no matter what abilities you have, or disabilities you’re facing, you can go out and do it,” Darren said.
“You just have to have the desire to do so.”
We are so proud to have Darren a member of ParaGolf Canada.