Athletes prepare for Special Olympics golf competition


OTSEGO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens of West Michigan athletes will flex their golf skills at a Special Olympics event in Allegan County.

The Special Olympics Michigan Golf Skills Competition and Golf Outing was inspired by Gabe Porter and his dad, Dave. The event returns to Lynx Golf Course for the third year Monday.

Gabe Porter, 24, has a mean golf swing, but his it’s hard to miss his compassionate personality.

“Gabe has an effervescent personality and there’s nothing not to like about him,” his dad said. “He’s well aware of what ‘par’ and ‘birdies’ are, and he goes into quite a little dance when he gets a birdie.”

Gabe Porter’s knowledge of the sport will come in handy on Monday at the competition.

Jim Szilagyi, the general manager of the course, said it’s Dave and Gabe that inspired him to host the annual Special Olympics event.

“We’ve just grown a real attachment to them,” Szilagyi said.

Szilagyi said that participation has grown larger each year. Gabe Porter will be one of more than 40 athletes from Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Ottawa counties participating this year.

“It’s tough,” Gabe Porter said.

There will be four challenges: putting, chipping, straightest drive and closest to the pin.

The Porters told 24 Hour News 8 that when they hit the links, it’s about more than the sport of golf.

“To be able to see the chemistry of all the Olympians and everybody else and to just see the excitement everybody has: it’s contagious,” Dave Porter said.

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Online:

Special Olympics Michigan — Area 16