How friend of 90-year-old blind man helps him play golf

In the words of the U.S. Blind Golf Association: “You don’t have to see it to tee it.”

WALLINGFORD, Conn — John Casolo has been totally blind since 1984, but the 90-year-old is intent on still hitting the links.

Casolo is part of Gaylord Hospital’s Sports Association, which provides the opportunity for physically challenged athletes to stay in the game. Every week, Casolo gets picked up by his “coach”, good friend, and golf guide Gary Kendall for at least a nine-hole round.

“I just love being out here, I love the camaraderie,” Casolo said from just off the first tee at Sleeping Giant Country Club in Wallingford. 

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Kendall, who still hits the ball well at 75 years old, said he has been helping Casolo hit his shots for years.

“I’m his eyes for the day,” said Kendall, “You have to pay attention to what he’s doing, how he’s swinging and make sure his left arm comes through.”

“When I hit a good shot that’s beautiful, I can tell,” Casolo added. “I can tell by the sound, I can tell by the feel and that’s really nice when I hit a good shot.”

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While Casolo, like every golfer, endures his share of bad shots, he said he lives life by a simple statement that comes from the U.S. Blind Golf Association:

“The saying is ‘you don’t have to see it to tee it,’” Casolo said.

Casolo, also a grandfather and a great-grandfather, still plays in blind golf tournaments across the country.

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When asked if he plans to hang up his golf bag, Casolo laughed and said, “I’m going to keep playing, they’ll probably have to bury me on the 17th green!”

“John loves life, he brings out the goodness in everyone,” Kendall added.

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