Golfer takes aim at 36 holes from dawn 'til dusk
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- From the outside looking in, what Moncks Corner resident Fred Gutierrez is doing today is something of any golfer's dreams.
Fred is planning on completing 36 straight holes of golf, from dawn to dusk. It's the perfect way to enjoy the game he loves, and at the same time try to raise some money for charity. For Gutierrez, this will be one of the toughest days of golf he's ever played.
"I'm really excited. I need to focus my energy now. My stomach is churning and I'm so excited. I need to keep very well focused," Gutierrez said.
What may seem easy for most golfer is far from it for Gutierrez. He is paralyzed on the entire left side of his body; he plays golf with only one arm.
Gutierrez limps his way up and down every fairway and every green. He will play in pain and have to take some breaks. After that, there are the golf challenges.
"I golfed left-handed. I restructured my thoughts from left-handed to right-handed. I changed from two-handed to one-handed," he said.
Challenges are nothing new to Fred Gutierrez.
"Back in 1996, I'd been suffering for 45 years from bipolar manic-depression and PTSD. All of that culminated into me trying to commit suicide. I took a .38-(caliber handgun) to my head. The bullet went 1-1/8 inch and God stuck his hand in and diverted the bullet out," Gutierrez said. "It left me paralyzed on my left side."
It was a changing point for Gutierrez. It was a moment that obviously changed Gutierrez's life forever -- but it changed for the better.
"Rather than feel sorry for myself, sit around and get lazy, a friend of mine built me a set of golf clubs to put me on the road to recovery," he said.
The rest is history for Gutierrez. He plays one to two times a week.
"I've moved my handicap from 36 to 17," he said.
He manages his pain through Botox injections and acupuncture, which help loosen the muscles. He loves golf, it has given him purpose. He wants to promote his religious faith and help people in situations similar to his own.
He also wants to finish 36 holes in one day.
"I'm going to finish, no doubt about it I'll finish. I want everyone to know you can do anything if you get off your duff and believe in yourself," Gutierrez said.
That's a big day of golf with an even bigger message.