Mar 6 2013 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
A one-legged pensioner who is battling cancer and has poor eyesight hit a hole in one at St Andrews.
Joe McLaughlin aced the par-three fifth on the Jubilee course last Tuesday as he played a round with pal Dennis Leckie.
The 70-year-old from Glenmavis is only able to play the sport he loves thanks to a prosthetic limb specially designed for golf.
He said: “I parked up in my buggy and told Dennis to go and fetch the ball out of the hole.
“I used a seven iron and kept looking after I’d hit the shot. The ball just disappeared. I’d been playing rubbish up to that point.”
Incredibly, Joe says this was his FIFTH hole in one in 60 years.
The former teacher at Columba High in Coatbridge and Cardinal Newman High in Bellshill lost the lower half of his left leg in 2009 after developing a blood clot in his thigh.
He takes chemotherapy capsules daily after being diagnosed with skin and bone marrow cancer and has a cataract in his right eye.
But the father of two, who has suffered a stroke, refuses to allow his health problems to hold him back. And it’s thanks to the West of Scotland Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre (WestMARC) team at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow that he’s able to continue playing.
Joe added: “I was on a golfing holiday in Canada when I woke up one morning and my foot was frozen. It was like a lump of marble. I went to the doctor when I got home and they found a blood clot in my main artery.
“The pain I was in was unbearable. The blood wasn’t flowing to my extremities and three months later they took off part of my leg.
“The company have set up my prosthetic leg for golf. This has allowed me to keep playing.
“You’ve got to continue living your life and I love playing golf.”
He was introduced to the sport at the age of 10 by his dad, Joe snr, who played for Celtic and was part of Aberdeen’s first-ever Scottish Cup winning team in 1947.
“I fell in love with the sport straight away,” Joe recalls. “We lived in Caldercruix back then and went along to Easter Moffat Golf Club.”
Joe plays off a handicap of 10 since undergoing surgery but was close to playing off four a few years ago.
He plays with lifelong friend Dennis, a former teacher at St Margaret’s High in Airdrie.