Prescott Valley man finds hope on the golf course

PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ - The sound stings the ears. The ball soars so high and so far, it literally disappears from sight. Four hundred yards away, it finally comes to rest.

Brendon Jacks of Prescott Valley can hit a golf ball like few other people on the planet. That he's here, at all, is a little miracle.

His golf swing, however, is not the first thing most people notice when Jacks shows up in a golf long drive competition. He's used to the stares and the comments about his prosthetic left leg, like the announcer in his very first appearance.

"When I got up to the tee, I was wearing shorts and he said, ladies and gentlemen, this man hit it 400 yards yesterday and seems to have forgotten his leg," Jacks said.

For Jacks, all of it feels like redemption.

Growing up in Yuma, Jacks was a naturally gifted athlete, but he admits, he got involved with alcohol and drugs, and descended to a place where he believed he had nothing to live for. 

"I came home one evening with some bad thoughts in my head and I grabbed my father's 12 gauge shotgun. Luckily my father came out and asked me what I was doing and a struggle ensued, and unfortunately there was a chambered 12 gauge shell and it wound up going off of my thigh." 

The blast shattered Jacks' femoral artery. His father tied a tourniquet, and kept him from bleeding to death, but his leg couldn't be saved.

Jacks said during his recovery, he hardly thought about golf or playing any sport again. His father thought differently.

" My father was a real positive person. One day he came up to see me in the inpatient facility. He said 'Hey, I got your sticks, let's go do it,'" Jacks said.

They played, and Jacks found hope. Not only could he still enjoy the game he loved, but he could still hit a golf ball longer than most able-bodied golfers. 

A friend encouraged him to visit the offices of Krank Golf in Tempe, a company that sponsors long-drive competitors.

"We've never had anybody who was an amputee in there," said Krank president Lance Reader. "He went into the sim and started posting some very impressive numbers." 

So impressive, in fact, Krank agreed to sponsor Jacks professionally. In his first effort, Jacks missed qualifying for the World Long Drive Championships by just six yards.

Jacks said he now looks at his disability as a blessing. "If someone wants to come up and ask me about it, I have no qualms about it.  It's my life now."

In fact, Jacks believes the loss of his leg allowed him to find his faith, and even to meet the love of his life. He's now married, with two children.

"I've been given a second chance. I can't waste it. I got to do something with it," he said. "There's always hope. If you get up every day and you're breathing, there's hope." 

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