News & ToursApril 8, 2009

Alzheimer's and golf

Amid the media's blanket coverage of the Masters, a story pertaining to golf that has nothing to do with Augusta National occasionally stands out, as this one does, from the Wall Street Journal on the therapeutic value of golf for Alzheimer's patients who once played the game.

Even those who do not recall ever having played golf begin recalling their golf past when re-introduced to the game.

"For Joan Brown, an elegant, 82-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer, the chance to hold a club and putt for a while is like a powerful mood-altering drug," Matthew Futterman writes.

"Last Wednesday morning, terror gripped Ms. Brown at the thought of heading out for an afternoon of golf. 'I can't do that,' she said, shaking her head and growing agitated. 'I've never played golf before. ... No, I can't do that at all.

"But just after noon, as Ms. Brown and her son began tapping balls toward their targets on the putting green at Deep Cliff, she spoke of how she had learned to play as a child in Calgary, Canada. Her father, a Scot, was a committed golfer, she said. She recalled taking lessons from a local pro and talked about the weekly ladies rounds she played. 'I could always hit the ball long,' she said."

The story's headline: "Memories Slip, but Golf is Forever."

-- John Strege

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