There are miracles out there.
20 years ago a young 16 year old Levin lad called Josh Hartwell teed it up here at Paraparaumu in the Caltex Boys and Girls under 18 open tournament. Playing the game only 12 months, Josh arrived at the 16th hole and like many of us, was simply thinking about landing on the narrow green thus avoiding all manner of lurking trouble. Moments later with the assistance of his trusty old Slazenger 7 iron, Josh had not only landed the green but landed the “perfect shot”.
Move forward to 2007 and Josh is lying on a pavement in a London street having suffered a cardiac arrest whilst training for the London Marathon. Starved of oxygen during the initial 18 minutes following the arrest, he survived but lay in a coma for 2 months with a damaged brain and was expected to die.
Meet Josh for a few minutes and you quickly realise that this guy is anything but a quitter and with signs of recovery he was returned to New Zealand and commenced a process of recovery that continues today.
Golf has been a huge part of Josh’s recovery and after being confined to a wheel chair and told he would not walk, used it as an inspiration to not only gain the use of his legs but to return to the game he loved. Once playing off a handicap of four, Josh has patiently worked his way slowly back into golf, one hole at a time and although on a slightly higher handicap, now plays up to three times a week at the Manawatu Golf Club. He tells me the hole in one he achieved on our 16th was a massive beacon of hope during some of his darkest days and so it was great to meet Josh today, listen to his story and see him, flanked by three of our members who share close family ties, take to our links again with his trusty Slazenger 7 iron back in the bag.
His walk today is special for more reasons than most and we wish Josh all the best with his continued recovery. Whilst our golf club may have provided moments of inspiration for his story of recovery, the real inspiration is in fact Josh Hartwell himself.
Have a great weekend
Saw this growing out of the middle of the 5th fairway at Kapiti Golf Club, my wife’s golf club. This amazing specimen sprung up overnight, it was gone the next day.