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Paralyzed from the chest down, Atlanta golf pro finds new way to play game he loves

As a golf pro, sinking a hole-in-one may not be out of their wildest imagination, but doing so when paralyzed from the chest down is a whole other story.

ATLANTA — An Atlanta golf pro had his dreams stripped away from him following a devastating accident that altered the course of his life.

Now, those dreams have been reinvigorated, and he's leading the way for what's possible on the course.

For a golf pro, sinking a hole-in-one may not be out of their wildest imagination, but doing so when paralyzed from the chest down is not a feat Marcus Williams thought he'd ever be able to accomplish.

"I don't put too much on bad shots or good shots," he said. Except for that one time... "148 yards out, straight in the air, bounced one time and then went in the hole."

But it's not about the hole-in-one for Marcus. It's about how the game made him whole again.

Marcus was hit by a drunk driver in 2012. He was instantly paralyzed from the chest down.

"I will never forget that day. I felt like I was just shoes in a dryer, tumbling," he said.

Everything in Marcus' life changed following the accident. His day-to-day would never be the same.

"I had to learn to get dressed, to put my shoes on, to live an independent life," he said.

Despite that, he's flipped the script on his fortune and plans to ace his next challenge to get back in the game.

After 144 days in rehab, Marcus wasn't ready to give up on those dreams quite yet. He quickly discovered adaptive golf -- something Marcus quickly came to learn was a stroke of luck.

"I play this course every day about 7:30 in the morning. It's my coffee, it's my companion. It's everything to me," he said.

Adaptive golf allows people with disabilities to continue to play the game they love through modified rules and equipment based on the particular abilities of that person.

Marcus is currently the starter at the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Atlanta. He's making the game his own -- and showing people how to roll with it. But now, Marcus is stuck in the rough, unable to play for the past four months.

But, everything isn't always easy.

The stand-up adaptive chair he uses to play broke down -- making an already expensive sport inaccessible.

"This has been the toughest time of my life, it's the first time I have ever felt disabled," he said. "For an adaptive golfer, it's just that much more expensive. You need a chair to play the game, you can't just grab some clubs and get some swings in."

He's still out on the course every day trying to raise money to replace his chair -- and raise awareness for other people to play the sport. 

"Most people have no idea this sport even exists. So if they see it, they can believe it," he said. 

Not only can they believe in the sport, but they can believe in themselves. 

"I always say, it teaches me how to forgive myself because if you hit a bad shot, it's on to the next shot," Marcus said. "So it's kinda parallel with life. You have good days, you have challenging days."

Despite his latest challenge, he's not backing down. And for Marcus, that's par for the course. 

"My goal is to reinvent what's possible for people in metro Atlanta," he said. 

Marcus is trying to raise money not only to replace his chair but buy an accessible truck and trailer so he can travel to golf courses across the country to teach people about the sport.

Those who want to support Marcus can do so here.

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