Adaptive golf becomes therapy for local college student

Three years ago, Mak Yost was a typical high school senior: a lacrosse player, ready to graduate and head off to the University of Georgia.

"I would say that he defined himself as an athlete," says Mak’s mother, Faye. "And we always did, too. I mean, I have four kids, and this is my athletic kid."

Then, one day in the school weight room, a tangle of blood vessels in Yost’s brain ruptured; the Smyrna teen ended up suffering two strokes, leaving him in a wheelchair and with limited speech and mobility.

"When that happened — and Mak and I have talked about this extensively — he pretty much thought that his life the way he knew it was over," says Faye Yost.  "Especially as an athlete; he thought it was over."

But on a sunny day earlier this year, the now 21-year-old college student and his mother were invited to an adaptive golf clinic hosted by Shepherd Center and the Georgia State Golf Association that was held at Bobby Jones Golf Course in Buckhead.  Within minutes of getting a golf club in his hands, the old high school athlete was back.

"Once he broke that smile striking the ball, I knew I had him hooked," says instructor Orlando Rodriguez.  

Adaptive golf uses some specialized equipment — like a Solo Rider, which allows Yost to stand — and various adaptations to make golf accessible to people of all abilities.  Working regularly with Rodriguez at Bobby Jones Golf Course, Yost isn’t just getting the chance to play sports again, he’s also getting physical therapy.

"I've seen him grow and get stronger; to this point since we started, I mean, leaps and bounds.  He’s getting better and better," says the instructor.

For the Yost family, adaptive golf has truly been a "game-changer" — a driving force, they say, that’s nothing less than heaven-sent.

Says Faye Yost: "We are people of faith anyway, but I'm telling you, God has been here and His hand has been on this from the very beginning."

For more information on the Georgia State Golf Association’s Adaptive Golf Program, click here.

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