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Athletes Practice for 2014 Special Olympics

Golfers learn skills to help them win gold

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Greenwich, CT | Added on July 17, 2014 At 12:12 PM

Practice makes perfect for these golfers as they prepare for the 2014 Special Olympics.

"Most of the athletes do skills, where they do putting, chipping, and hitting long irons and drivers during a competition," said Dave LaRusso, the Greenwich Special Olympics Golf Coordinator. 

This competition happens in Hamden in early September. A volunteer teams up with an athlete to compete for gold. 

"We have about four or five athletes that go out on the golf course and play alternate shot. It is with a unified partner.  I am a unified partner, so I would hit one shot, and my partner would hit the next, and then I would hit the next until you finish the hole. Then, you start all over again," LaRusso said. 

LaRusso's partner is his sister, and she is part of the reason he took on his role with the Special Olympics. 

"I was asked to do it because I am a golfer and my sister is involved in Special Olympics. She swims, she skates, she's been doing stuff with Special Olympics since she was very, very young. She's now 52. When they asked me, I was very happy to do it," LaRuso said. 

Stanwich Golf Club has been offering its facilities to LaRusso and his athletes since the program started 16 years ago. 

"When we come, they give us all the space we need because we have a lot of athletes. It's really just a lot of fun for everybody," LaRusso said. 

"Golf is just a sport, and we all have fun," said Greg Burline, an athlete. 

There are 12 volunteers that teach the athletes skills, and act as partners in the final competition. LaRusso says he is always looking for  more volunteers and athletes. 

"They can go on the Greenwich Special Olympics website, all the information is there. Then, they can get in touch with me. I'll be glad to have them along," LaRusso said.  

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