26 June 2021: The South African Disabled Golf Association and Canon South Africa welcome Kowie Loots to the Canon Kwazulu-Natal Disabled Open at Mount Edgecombe Country Club.
Before and after his accident – sport has been a significant part of Loots’ life. A multi-talented sportsman – Loots earned provincial colours for golf, rugby (at under-20 level) and Table Tennis.
Like so many young golfers – Loots harboured aspirations of becoming a Tour professional. Like so many young golfers before him, however, dwindling finances brought a premature end to his professional career.
Though a pro career didn’t materialise – his love for the game didn’t diminish. Instead Loots sought to leave his mark on the game by becoming a coach and helping others realise their potential.
In 2009, Loots, having become a father and fiancee – had a wonderful life stretching before him. While working for Ocean Cut Timbers in Woolsley in the Western Cape – Loots’ life took a life-altering turn, though.
The then 41-year-old was struck on the back of the head by a falling pine tree. His coworkers – in a race against time to get him the urgent medical care he needed – drove more than 20 kilometres to the nearest hospital.
He suffered significant damage to his vertebrae and a 5X5 centimeter slash in his skull. Nine hours after the blow to the head – Loots underwent emergency brain surgery.
Three months in hospital followed and Kowie lost the use of his left-arm. Nevertheless – Loots put in the time and effort needed to adapt to playing golf with one arm.
After being discharged from hospital, Loots wasted little time resuming his life in golf in both coaching and playing capacities.
The Hankey Golf Club member has certainly risen to meet the challenges of his circumstances after the accident. His first official handicap after resuming golf was 24 but within three months – through time and effort – he managed to reduce his handicap to a 12.
“It was difficult (the rehab process) but sport is my life, especially golf. God gave me a second chance to prove myself as a disabled golfer,” says Loots.
Though the Canon Kwazulu-Natal Disabled Open will be his first taste of competitive disabled golf, Loots is clear in his mind about his objective for the event.
“I’m feeling positive to do my best and I see it as a great opportunity.”
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