• Last modified 3358 days ago (Feb. 11, 2010)


Veteran looks to become golf pro

Staff writer

Hillsboro resident Pete Richert will only be kept off the golf course by snow. Cold weather, enough to stop the average golf enthusiast, is not enough to stop Richert from playing the sport he loves.

“I think he’s crazy,” Krista Richert, Pete’s wife, said. “He just went last week.”

The Hillsboro High School graduate is poised to receive a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Tabor College in May. He wants to use the degree to become a golf professional, but would also consider coaching cross-country, track and field, or basketball for a high school.

Richert currently golfs with a 12 handicap, but the sport is complicated by the fact that Richert only has one leg and wears a prosthetic leg when he golfs.

“I’m not able to transition weight as easily or smoothly,” he said. “My center of gravity has to be at the front of my stance. It makes it difficult to get consistent shots going.”

Richert’s right leg was amputated just above the knee after shrapnel from a roadside bomb wounded him in 2006 while he was serving with the Kansas National Guard in Iraq. He received his first set of modified golf clubs from the organization, Hope for the Warriors. The lengths of the clubs and the angles of the club faces on the irons are different to accommodate Richert’s leg.

The main problem for Richert on the golf course is a buildup of fatigue from walking a course. He said that his handicap is raised because his shot becomes skewed later in his round.

“I have to work twice as hard to walk, if not three times as hard,” Richert said. “When I play a nice course, I use a cart. I only shot 6-over the last time I rode in a cart.”

But, Richert is a golf purist and prefers to walk the course. He wouldn’t accept an invitation to play with the Professional Golfers Association if he had to ride in a cart.

“Everything slows down and you can get in a rhythm when you walk a course,” he said.

Don’t feel bad for Richert. He said that he regularly drives the ball 280 to 300 yards when he is healthy. He struggles with his long irons — the 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5- irons — but is getting better as he continues to golf.

Richert has golfed several times with Hope for the Warriors, including trips to Humble, Texas, to golf at Redstone Golf Club where the PGA holds the Shell Houston Open every year and Robert Trent Jones course in Alabama. Richert and his family are looking forward to more trips to courses with Hope for the Warriors this summer.

Richert said that he would be willing to work at any level of golf course: from smaller courses where he would have more of a role as a teacher, to courses like Redstone where he would be more of a course representative for the PGA and golf in professional and amateur competitions. He realizes that more education may be required for different courses and is willing to do whatever it takes to become a professional.

Last modified Feb. 11, 2010