He grew up on the golf course, travelled the world doing trick golf shots for charity events and golfed professionally for 20 years.
This was the life of Todd Keirstead before he decided he was looking for something more. This was when he decided to create a program aimed at assisting abled and disabled individuals and those with post-traumatic stress disorder to grow mentally through the game of golf.
He called the program, Bring Back the Game.
On Tuesday, March 29th, Keirstead is teaming up with some students from the Sport Business Management program at Durham College to host the first Bring Back the Game event at the Abilities Centre in Whitby for the community of the Durham Region and are still in the process of finding a set date for an event at Variety Village in Scarborough.
Stéphane Côté, one of the Sport Business Management students running the event, says the planning process for the event began in mid-January and will be completed roughly around the second week of March.
Côté says the plan for the Bring Back the Game event is to allow individuals to build confidence and self-esteem where it has once disappeared, through the game of golf.
“For the outcome of the event we are hoping to open doors to people who feel that because of their circumstances they can no longer participate in sports,” says Côté. “We want to show them that despite the challenges they may have, that nothing is impossible.”
Keirstead’s inspiration for Bring Back the Game began when his father passed away in 2009. Keirstead’s father introduced him to the game of golf and inspired him to motivate and bring others together through the game.
“I just wish I could hit one more golf ball with my dad, but I can’t,” says Keirstead. “What I can do, in his memory, is give others the opportunity to do the one thing they wish they could do with their dad, their mom, their sister or brother. The opportunity to do something they either thought they couldn’t do or were told they would never do again.”
At the events, Keirstead places the same restrictions on his body that the client has. He might be in a wheelchair, using a prosthetic limb or even blindfolded in an effort to teach the client how to hit the golf ball successfully. With the technique usually passed along in one session, clients are back on the golf course after once thinking that their golfing days were over.
Kierstead and the Sport Business Management students will be hosting the two events at the Abilities Centre in Whitby and at Variety Village in Scarborough.
For more information and finalized dates, visit Bring Back the Game’s Facebook page or the program’s website at www.bringbackthegame.ca.