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LODA — The rare one-armed golfer, Rich Page admits he’s received his share of long looks through the years as he traverses different courses.
“Up here at Lakeview, it’s normal,” said Page, a 58-year-old Paxton resident. “But when I go other places and people see me play golf, they kind of look at me like, ‘You’re joking, right?’”
He’s not. Just like you, Page plays for the joy of the game, and last Thursday he reached a pinnacle that every Average Joe aspires for. Page made the first official hole-in-one of his career during men’s league play at Lakeview Country Club outside of Loda.
His crowning achievement came on the par-3 17th hole, using an 8-iron from 135 yards out. Page knew he’d hit it well off the tee — he saw the ball bounce on the edge of the green — but he didn’t see it go in because the hole’s set-up blocked the bottom of the pin from view off the tee blocks. As he and playing partner Steve Moore drove closer, Page saw a ball on the green where he thought his would’ve rolled. But when he checked the marking and it didn’t match up, it dawned on him.
“That’s when we both realized my ball was probably in the hole,” Page said.
“I knew it was going to be close. I was kind of hoping when we went up there it’d be in. It was pure excitement, pure jubilation. Especially because Steve Moore was playing with me. He’s a good friend, and he was there with me.”
Page lost his left arm and also severely damaged his left leg in an electrical accident 30 years ago while working for EIEC. He has vowed, though, to not let it define his life, and so he golfs as often as he can, which is usually three to five times a week.
“I’ve always looked at it that I have to live my life as normal as possible,” Page said. “There’s always somebody a little worse off than you are.
“I just enjoy every day as much as I can and live my life as normal as I can.”
Page said he had made a hole-in-one before in his career, but he did it playing alone. Per golf etiquette, a hole-in-one isn’t officially recognized as such unless a witness is present.
Besides, this one was more fulfilling because others were there to celebrate with Page, who recorded a three-over 38 last Thursday on the back nine. That was a much better score than usual, Page said, and he hopes to build off that improvement just like the rest of his competition.
“You just get accustomed to (playing with one arm). Each shot I play, I play just a little bit different than most people, and I have to adjust kind of for each shot,” Page said. “But for the most part, it’s not that much out of the ordinary, what I do.”