By Romi Bean
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Fifteen-year-old Kaden Ford of Colorado Springs is living every golfer’s dream – a chance to play at one of golf’s most sacred grounds – Augusta National.
Ford traveled to the Home of the Masters to compete in the Drive, Chip, and Putt National Championship. He was one of 10 finalists in his age group.
Ford comes from a golf family, so this dream is one he can’t wait to share with his parents.
“When it first happened, I was just really proud of myself for making it that far. And I was really happy that I’m able to share this experience with my parents. They’ve been wanting it for a long time. For the past few years, they’ve been calling me ‘the ticket’ because I’m their ticket to Augusta.”
Ford’s accomplishments on the course are remarkable. But for the Ford family, the trip to Augusta is extra special because of the hurdles he’s faced off the course.
As a 1st grader, Ford began experiencing what he described as blackouts. Doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy – the blackouts he was having were a result of seizures.
“I didn’t know they were seizures. I didn’t know the word seizure back then. They would last for 10 seconds at a time. I didn’t really know what they were, so I didn’t treat them as a big deal,” Ford said. “After a while we went to the doctor and found out it was a big deal, and we needed to treat it… It’s hard to describe. They don’t have a feeling associated with them. It’s just that you black out and you skip a scene of your life. And all of a sudden you’re in the next scene.”
Ford has never let his epilepsy get in the way of his dreams. He’s never considered quitting. If anything, it’s given him the drive to achieve anything he sets his mind to.
“It gives me a good perspective – it could be a lot worse. All obstacles you can overcome with enough effort, and I think I’ve overcome this obstacle very well, especially being able to play at Augusta,” he said.
For Ford, Golf is so much more than just game. It’s more than winning tournaments and overcoming obstacles. Golf is a way of life.
“My favorite part of about golf is it forces you to be a gentleman on and off the golf course. It makes you a better person just because of its nature… in golf you call your own shots. And you have to be gentleman to others,” he said. “It’s not like most other sports where there’s a ref and you can trash talk the ref after the game. You are the ref. You have to treat yourself with respect and treat the game with respect.”
Ford is only the fourth Coloradoan to qualify for the final round of the Drive, Chip, and Putt National Championship. His 6th place finish is the best ever for a competitor from Colorado.