With Parkinson's and blind in one eye, Eau Claire man hits round to remember

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A dream came true for an Eau Claire man Friday on the golf course.

Warren Berg didn't get a hole in one. He made no birdies, no pars, and no bogeys. But just being out on the links made for a round to remember.

“I played a 13 handicap when I played for 18 (holes). But it went up drastically when I got Parkinson’s,” Berg said.

Berg got a late start playing golf, first learning at age 35. But as he got older and his health worsened, his playing days would be over too soon.

“He was a very avid golfer. He golfed four plus times a week if he could and he'd still be golfing today but when his condition began to get worse, when you can't hit as well, sometimes you don't want to hit anymore. And so they made the decision to sell his golf clubs,” Paula Gibson with Azura Memory Care said.

Berg, who is blind in his left eye, kept talking about his glory days at his home at Azura Memory Care, displaying his hole-in-one trophy from 16 years ago proudly. Gibson said she wanted to give him another day to remember.

“I was sitting with my residents one day asking them what their best day would be.”

Berg, 73, said he wanted to win The Masters … but 9-holes at Hickory Hills Golf Course in Eau Claire is the next best thing.

With some help from David Morley, a golf trainer, who also donated a set of clubs; for the first time in years, Berg drove, pitched and putted his way through the links, like old times.

“He had some good shots, he had some terrible shots, but that's what golf is for everybody,” Morley said.

“It felt good. This was my first time playing golf in three years, so I wasn't at my best,” Berg said.

Berg left his mark on the course.

“The conditions aren't too good after I played it,” Berg said after making a few divots along the way.

“When he hit that ball, and you heard the ping and you saw the ball fly, it didn't matter that it flew 10 feet or 100 feet, the smile on his face was just amazing and he knows he can still do it,” Gibson said.

Azura even presented Berg with his own green jacket and trophy.

“That was kind of neat,” Berg said. “It made you think.”

It's part of Azura's new dreams program to support its residents by giving them great memories through help and donations.

“You can have so many magical moments. You just sometimes need someone to help support you through that,” Gibson said.

“It was the most fun I've had in a long time,” Berg said.

Morley said he plans on taking Berg back out on the course again soon to help him work on his game.

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