The Dennis Walters Story: Overcoming Paralysis to Become a pro Golfer

Nothing is impossible. That’s the message Dennis Walters has been carrying since July 21,1974, the fateful day when the brakes on his golf cart failed while rolling down a steep hill. The crash left him paralyzed from the waist down, his promising pro golf career in shambles. He was told he’d never walk again, never mind swing a golf club.

Some people just can’t be put down. Dennis Walters attended North Texas State University on a golf scholarship, leading his team to four consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championships. He placed 11th in the USGA Amateur Championship. His accident occurred while he was preparing for a PGA Tour qualifying event.

It didn’t happen in competition. Dennis had gone home to play a friendly round of golf with friends. It was a random, freak occurrence, one that would have made any man lose his desire to move on. Not the case with Dennis. He rehabbed for five months and started searching for ways he could once again play the game he loved.

A Man with a Mission

How about adding a swivel seat to a golf cart? After multiple failed attempts at golfing from a sitting position, Dennis got together with his father and a few friends to devise a seat that swiveled out ninety degrees to give him room to swing. They had to tweak it a few times, and new technology has definitely made it better over the years, but it worked. Dennis started playing golf again.

Dennis Walters’ achievements and the message he carries to those suffering from spinal injuries has earned him many awards and accolades. He’s an honorary lifetime member of The PGA of American, one of only eleven people to hold that title. He’s also the host of the Dennis Walters Golf Show, an hour-long demonstration of precision golf shots that you or I would struggle with.

October Golf Magazine is proud to feature Dennis Walters as our Hero of the Week. This man has been inspiring people for nearly five decades. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. More importantly to us, he was presented the Bob Jones Award in 2018, which is given to an individual who demonstrates spirit, personal character, and respect for the game. That’s who Dennis is. We are grateful to have such a fine individual represent our sport.

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