Hayato Yoshida, golf after losing his right leg

Hayato Yoshida is the winner of the gross strokeplay ranking of the second edition of the Giovanni Nasi & Diasorin International which took place in September at the Golf Torino – La Mandria

by Andrea Gussoni
Hayato Yoshida, golf after losing his right leg
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Ehrmann / Staff

Hayato Yoshida is the winner of the gross strokeplay ranking of the second edition of the Giovanni Nasi & Diasorin International which took place in September at the Golf Torino – La Mandria. He lives in the Tokyo region and is a PGA professional, but you should know that he only started playing golf after the serious motorcycle accident in which he lost his right leg.

His dream since he was a child was to become a professional baseball player, a very popular game in Japan.

Hayato Yoshida, statements

He says: “To graduate and become a professional baseball player, I played on an amateur club team, training hard every day.

However, after a year, I realized that I didn't have what it takes to become a professional and so I gave up on my dream. After graduating, I still played at an amateur level and worked in a restaurant in the evenings. Then I decided to try to become a firefighter to make the most of my physical strengths.

And I succeeded." But on the morning of Valentine's Day 2008, when he was 24, Hayato had a serious motorcycle accident while returning home after a night shift. Hayato says, “There was a taxi parked on a two-lane road with its lights flashing, picking up a passenger.

As I approached the center line to overtake him, the driver suddenly took off and rear-ended me. I was unable to brake in any way and at that speed I crashed into a light pole on the pavement on the opposite side of the road.

My right leg was trapped between the bike and the pole, almost detached from the rest of my body. I had never seen so much blood and I thought I might die. Since I was studying to be a firefighter, I was reminded of first aid lessons: I tied the belt high on my right leg to stop the bleeding, but I couldn't stop it completely.

I continued to lose blood little by little while I waited for help to arrive. While waiting, I fought to banish the fear of death. I started talking to myself, to keep myself conscious. Until, finally, the ambulance and paramedics arrived and saved my life." Hayato continues his story: “The memory of this experience continues to make me grateful to be alive.

When I was hospitalized for a year and a half due to an infection from the accident and when it was finally decided to amputate my leg, I was able to say to myself: 'I can only do this because I am alive. .’ This feeling of gratitude is what helped me survive this experience”.

Hayato says he worked very hard in the rehabilitation phase for the next 18 months, strengthening all his muscles, his arms and his left leg to have the best mobility possible. Then it was time for the new leg, the prosthetic.

“My doctor told me it would take about a year to get used to walking with a prosthetic leg, but much to his surprise, it only took me about a week and I was quickly released from the hospital”. Hayato immediately realized that he would be done with baseball for good.

However, one day a childhood friend suggested he try golf, and Hayato would not only find a new sporting focus, but he would discover a new path for his future career. “I played my first golf competition at the age of 30 at the Lotte Minayoshidai Country Club.

I scored 126 shots. It was an exhilarating experience and I was able to completely enjoy the round. I'll never forget the feeling of taking my first shots. I thought it would be easy because I played baseball, but it was actually very difficult.

A year later I could play 90 shots. I got good scores if I played for fun, but I was frustrated because my scores in competitions were terrible. I couldn't handle the pressure. I turned this limitation into motivation to train and in three years I became a one-digit handicap player." “As a professional, I hope to be able to show others with disabilities similar to mine that with training it is possible to become a good golfer.

I would like to be a golfer who can show people how exciting life is and encourage them to find the same satisfaction in golf that I have found. Golf is a stimulating challenge that should be enjoyed by all. As a player, however, I would like to be among the top 50 in the world in the WR4GD gross strokeplay ranking."