Thorp golfer turns heads and wins titles using only one arm
CADOTT (WQOW) -- Seven years ago, a Thorp man thought he would never be able to hit the links again. Now, he's become a world champion.
Once capable of driving a ball 400 yards, golfing is more than a pastime for 28-year-old Jason Aken; it's a passion.
But, the love of driving that little white ball bunkered in 2010 when a 90-ton press fell on his left hand at work.
"Even when I was going into surgery in Minnesota, I told the surgeon before he put me under, I'm like, 'I don't care if I come out with a permanent prosthesis on my left hand -- it has to be able to hold a golf club'," Aken said. "Golf has always been my life really, so it was kind of catastrophic and I thought it was over and you know and here I am I guess."
Due to nerve damage, he didn't get that prosthetic hand, but turns out, he didn't need it.
In early 2017, Aken competed in the World Long Drive Championship, taking 22nd out of 176 golfers, with a drive of 367 yards using only one arm.
"It's not an easy path coming off missing three fingers and doing what I was doing, and you know it's like everyday life is hard," he said. "So, to come and do something like that and have that happen was pretty amazing."
Even as a champion who has chipped his way out of the rough, both on the course and in life, his sights are not only on the flag stick, but helping others find their way to the green along the way.
"If there is anyone that's like handicap or amputee in any sort of way, that they feel their swing wouldn't work, I promise you I can make it work," Aken added.
Last week, Aken took part in the ParaLong Drive Cup, a competition for golfers with amputations from across the globe. There, he took first place. He said he plans to lift weights over the winter, hoping to become a champ among the best two-armed golfers in the world.