Laurent Hurtubise was born with one arm, but he hasn’t let that stop him from playing sports — or excelling at them.
Hurtubise, an amateur golfer who was playing alongside a pro at the PGA Tour American Express 2020, hit a phenomenal hole-in-one Thursday on the 151-yard 4th hole of the Stadium Course in La Quinta, California.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 17, 2020
The reaction from everyone in Hurtubise’s group was electric. There was cheering, there was hat flinging, there was high-fiving, there was even a butt slap.
Amateurs are invited to participate in the American Express 2020 and play alongside professionals, and Hurtubise has been doing it for years. This year his pro partner was three-time PGA Tour winner Troy Merritt, who was bursting with joy at Hurtubise’s accomplishment.
“That was the coolest experience I’ve had on the golf course,” Merritt told PGATour.com.
Hurtubise took up golf at 11, but has been playing sports his whole life.
"As a kid, sports was a way for me to prove that even though I had a difference that I could perform as well as normal people ... as they call them," Hurtubise told the Desert Sun in 2018. "People have differences and handicaps and whatever, but it was my way to prove that I could be as good as everybody else."
He started with hockey, holding the stick under his shorter arm and using his longer arm to shoot. He also played baseball as a catcher, and developed a smooth motion to make up for his shorter arm.
"I would catch the ball, put the glove under my arm, take my hand out, take the ball out, throw it and put my glove back on ... all in about a second," Hurtubise said to the Desert Sun.
He left all that behind when he found golf, though. Now a grandfather, Hurtubise has played in many tournaments for golfers with disabilities, and has even played in tournaments built specifically for amputee golfers. He’s able to drive the ball about 230 yards with his one-handed lefty swing.
Hurtubise, who works at a car dealership in Montreal, has also taken the time to talk to kids and their parents about living with and overcoming a disability at Shriners Hospital in Montreal.
"I wish I could do more of that, to be honest," he said. "But it does feel fulfilling when someone tells me they've been inspired to play a sport because of me."
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