Former Prodigy Back On The Same Golf Course That Almost Killed Him
A Sunshine Coast teenager who almost died from a stroke is getting back on course, via the golf course.
Matt Durham was 17 and playing in an A-Grade golf semi-final when he suffered a massive stroke.
“Fourth hole, hitting my tee shot. Then I just felt funny and collapsed.”
It's taken seven years of rehab and recovery for him to take up his favourite game again.
The now 24-year-old plays down the severity, but doctors had told his mum Leanne Durham he was to have survived the stroke.
“At the time I thought everything’s over. It was devastating. I was just absolutely devastated," Durham said.
“He probably handled it better than I did. I still get emotional about it, but I’m very proud of him."
Matt needed part of his skull cut out to relieve the pressure on his brain, and it left him unable to use the left side of his body.
When he got out of hospital, he knew golf was going to be the key to his recovery.
“I was always out here with the boys straight after my stroke. Not playing, but always out here watching them.”
After a while, he picked the clubs back up and started playing again.
His swing was one handed, but still crisp, and before long he was back where he always felt he belonged.
“I’m out here four or five times a week, playing competition, so I’m right back into it now.”
The once promising junior is determined to get his life and his game back on track.
“I’m hitting them that well these days. You’ve gotta see it,” he said.
It wasn’t a boast, more a declaration. Matt plays most of his rounds at Caloundra -- the course where he had his stroke.
He’s got no qualms about going back to the fourth hole where he was struck down. He just hates it because it’s a par five.
“I’ve birdied it since I’ve been back… Got some revenge,” he laughed.
Matt took up golf at 13, and he credits the sport with keeping him on the straight and narrow during a rough patch while he was growing up.
He said it turned his life around then, and it’s been the reason he’s pulled himself together after his stroke.
While the club means a lot to Matt, it’s clear the love goes both ways.
Tom Arnott came on as Caloundra’s pro at the start of the year, and says the place wouldn’t be the same without Matt getting around.
“To be as good of a junior player as he was, and to go through what he went through, and to come out of it the way he has… You can’t speak highly enough of him,” he said.
Contact the author: Jhill@networkten.com.au