Aluesi’s success despite the odds

 Parker Aluesi, watched by his father, Mike, plays the game he loves. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Parker Aluesi, watched by his father, Mike, plays the game he loves. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Parker Aluesi is like plenty of young golfers out there.

But then again, not really.

Aluesi (18) was good enough to make the eight-strong senior men’s Otago team for a provincial match last year and has an impressive 0.5 handicap.

From a distance, he looks like any other player in the field but get a bit closer and you realise his journey has been far from straightforward.

When he was 6, Aluesi attended a birthday party which proved a life-changing moment.

Aluesi was on a treasure hunt and fell over backwards hitting his face on a metal pole sticking out of the ground.

"I remember it being a very scary and terrifying moment. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for my mum and dad. It was awful," he said.

Aluesi’s parents rushed him to Dunedin Hospital and, on arrival, he learned they had to remove his eye. He now has a glass left eye.

"It all happened really quickly and it’s a bit of a blur. But I remember it being a really hard time for our family."

ACC supported Aluesi in his doctor’s appointments and his rehabilitation.

His dad, Mike, had introduced Parker to golf when he was 5.

For a right-handed golfer not being able to see his target down the fairway or the hole on the green was tough going.

"At the start it was a real challenge and I had to trust a lot in my swing.

"Putting was also a lot harder. I couldn’t see where I was aiming so I would just try to take it back to square behind the ball and then come through straight.

"Over time I’ve been able to overcome that and now I just trust where I am aiming. It definitely impacted me a lot straight after the accident, but I’ve worked hard to overcome it."

St Clair Golf Club professional Patrick Moore has coached Aluesi for the past four years and has seen considerable improvement in that time.

"In my whole time working with Parker he hasn’t used his missing eye as an excuse at all," Moore said.

"As he’s grown, he has improved to the point now he is a solid scratch golfer and made the Otago eight-man team this spring. He has done very well to overcome one eye.

"It has meant he’s needed to be more deliberate when lining up. Most golfers with two eyes line up poorly so for Parker to get to the level he’s at with one eye is remarkable."

Aluesi, who works part-time at St Clair in the pro shop and behind the bar in the clubhouse, captained the Otago side in the junior provincial championships in Cambridge

"I’d love to turn professional. That’s the dream. It would be amazing playing on tour.

"I got a wee bit of a feel for what it’s like and I’d love to do more of it. I know I have a long way to go.

"I don’t want my loss of sight to be an excuse. I just want to get on with life and keep doing the best that I can."

Keeping safe

 with ACC
  • Falls caused nearly half of all child hospital admissions in the period 2013-17. 
  • That amounted to more than 3700 admissions per year or 396 in every 100,000 children.
  • The age group 5-9 is at the greatest risk of fall-related injuries. 
  • About 30 children aged 5-9 years were taken to hospital for a fall-related injury per week. 
  • One-third of fall admissions for this age-group occurred at school, followed by 24% at home and 6% at a sporting or athletic ground.

Add a Comment





Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter