(ORLANDO, Fla.) – On Course Foundation member Chad Pfeifer has qualified to play in the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open Championship, July 18-20 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.
Pfeifer, 40, an army veteran from Caldwell, Idaho, persevered to overcome the loss of his left leg above the knee to become a scratch golfer. On Course Foundation – the organization that helps injured Service members with their physical and mental recoveries through golf, and harvest newfound confidence into careers in golf – played an important role in Pfeifer’s ascension.
The championship will be contested over 54 holes of stroke play on Pinehurst No. 6 between 96 players with physical impairment, sensory impairment (vision) or intellectual impairment, who have a WR4GD Pass as well as an authorized World Handicap System Handicap Index. Pfeifer averages an amazing 275 yards off the tee and classifies his short game as a predominant strength.
“I’m out to win it,” says Pfeifer, who played Pinehurst No. 6 during U.S. Adaptive Open media day and is one of the favorites to capture the title. “But no matter what happens on the course, the U.S. Adaptive Open is a chance to show the world what disabled people can achieve and become the best versions of themselves. I only lost one leg and to see people with one or no natural arms tee it up is awe-inspiring.”
Pfeifer’s story begins in 2005 when he joined the army with stints at bases in Georgia and Alaska before deployment to Iraq. Six months into the war there, his Humvee was hit with an IED and Pfeifer was air lifted to Germany to replace a shattered leg with a prosthetic. Rehab over 15 months in San Antonio was physically arduous, and not knowing how life would turn out with his new disability led to deep depression.
“Golf saved by life, forcing me to get up on one leg and walk hilly terrain and in and out of bunkers,” says Pfeifer who never picked up a golf club until 2008. “Mentally, golf was very therapeutic and gave me purpose to look forward to the next day.”
Pfeifer was smitten with golf and, given he was medically retired from the army, practiced daily. His introduction to On Course Foundation strengthened his desire to make golf a major part of life, even attending the Golf Academy of America in Scottsdale, Arizona.
With a much-improved handicap, Pfeifer played in On Course Foundation’s pinnacle event, the Simpson Cup, five times beginning with the inaugural edition in 2012. The Ryder Cup-style matches pit wounded U.S. veterans against their counterparts from the U.K. Pfeifer captained the U.S. team in 2018.
“On Couse Foundation gives me a sense of brotherhood just like being part of a military unit,” he says. “The organization not only makes people better players, but it gives them the necessary career skills to work in the golf industry and places them in jobs with companies like Callaway and ClubCorp, and at golf courses and country clubs.”
Nowadays, Pfeifer is a stay-at-home dad to three sons and a motivational speaker at events using golf as a cornerstone to help others conquer disabilities. In addition to being the first amateur veteran to play on the Web.com Tour (now Korn Ferry Tour), he’s teed it up in Pro-Ams with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Harold Varner III, Nelly Korda, Lydia Ko, Danielle Kang and other Tour stars.
About On Course Foundation
With offices in Orlando and London, On Course Foundation helps wounded, injured and sick military veterans use golf to facilitate their transitions back into society. Founded in 2010 by John Simpson – former agent to Nick Faldo and 17 major tournament winners – the organization breathes newfound confidence into more than 2,000 members. Education focuses on the myriad facets of embarking on a career in golf with full-time job placements at Callaway, ClubCorp, Marriott Vacations, TaylorMade, Topgolf and other golf companies, golf courses, clubs and resorts. Most members were first introduced to golf by On Course Foundation where they learned playing skills, overcoming lost limbs, mobility and mental acuity, and other physical and psychological debilitations. On Course Foundation’s pinnacle event is the annual Simpson Cup that pits 13-person teams from the U.S. and U.K. against one another in Ryder Cup-style matches with many competitors amazingly sport low single-digit handicaps.