Back in the early 1970's, Dennis was fresh out of North Texas State University,
which he attended on a golf scholarship. During his senior year, he led the school
to its fourth consecutive Missouri Valley Conference golf championship. That same
year, Dennis was runner-up in the prestigious Tucker Intercollegiate Golf Tourney,
and finished 11th in the United States Golf Association Amateur Championship.
Dennis' dream was to become a PGA touring professional. From all appearances, he
was well on his way.
To sharpen his skills, Dennis spent 1973 competing on the South African tour and
in mini-tour events in the U.S. Shortly before the 1974 Tour Qualifying Event, Dennis
went home to Neptune, New Jersey, for a visit and to play a few friendly rounds
of golf. On July 21, 1974, he was riding a golf cart down a steep hill on a course
near his house when the brakes failed. Dennis Walters was thrown from the cart and
suffered severe spinal cord damage.
At a hospital in Morristown, New Jersey, he was diagnosed as a T-12 level paraplegic
and told that he would never walk again, which also made playing golf highly unlikely,
to say the least. However, at age 24, Dennis was determined to prove otherwise.
After five months of rehabilitation, Dennis went home. Immediately, he began searching
for ways to make playing golf practical. He tried hitting the ball from his wheelchair,
but found it to be unsatisfactory. He had trouble wheeling the chair around the
course and could not venture onto the greens or into bunkers. Then one day he was
struck with an idea.
"Why not mount a swivel seat on a golf cart?"
Working with his father and a couple of friends, Dennis fashioned a seat that would
swing away 90 degrees from a golf cart and allow him to play the game he loved.
Everyone said it would be impossible, but Dennis defied the odds and was back on
the course again.
"I had to experiment and modify my techniques," say Dennis. "I basically tried to
work on things I could do and not worry about the things I couldn't.
Dennis taught himself to hit sand shots and to putt one-handed while balancing himself
on his crutches, and got his game to the point where he could break 80 on an average
He continued practicing his game, and people started noticing what Dennis could
do. Before long, pros were asking him to conduct clinics at their local clubs. "I
liked to put on the clinics because they made me feel like I was preparing for a
tournament again," Dennis says.
Those clinics evolved into "The Dennis Walters Golf Show" which Dennis has performed
for over three decades and has given over 2,000 performances all across the U.S.
and Canada. His program is one not only one of golf lessons but also life lessons
as he tells his story and challenges everyone in the audience to do something in
their life that perhaps they think is impossible. The show becomes much more than
a golf clinic as Dennis presents his positive motivational message and encourages
all to reach for their dreams and to strive for excellence.