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Brian Beazell’s knack for golfing

Thursday, September 1st, 2011 | Posted by

Brian Beazell at Windsor Golf Club. (Christopher Chung / PD)

By HOWARD SENZELL / Sports Correspondent

Brian Beazell Jr. dreaded going to elementary school because fellow students teased and make fun of him.

At 17 months old, he was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, which is caused by a neuromuscular mobility impairment. The result is tight muscles that cause stiff and jerky movements.

But in 1999, just before he enrolled at Piner High, his grandmother bought him a set of used golf clubs at the thrift store where she worked. That gift wound up changing his life.

Beazell had never considered trying golf. He just assumed the disease would prevent him from accurately hitting the ball.

At the urging of his parents, Brian and Gina Beazell, he finally picked up a club and took a swing. While he wasn’t a natural, with practice he developed a knack for hitting a golf ball long and straight.

He felt comfortable enough as a freshman to go out for the Piner golf team and wound up being voted “most inspirational player” by his teammates.

Twelve years later and now 25, Beazell has become such a good golfer that he now has 10 Special Olympics Tournaments.

More important than winning the gold medals, his accomplishments have enabled him to become one of the guys at Windsor Golf Course, where he plays three or four rounds per week.

Beazell’s disease no longer defines who he is. In a 180-degree turnaround from his early school days, fellow golfers in the Windsor Men’s Club now seek him out to join their foursomes.

“He’s one of the most popular men’s club members,” said teaching pro Jason Schmuhl. “Everyone goes out of their way to talk with him. He has no trouble finding people to play with; in fact people ask him if he wants to join them.

“He’s a gentleman on the course, a good golfer and fun to play with.”

Last Sunday at The Villages in San Jose, Beazell walked away with another gold medal, shooting a 48 to win the nine-hole Northern California Special Olympics Tournament.

The Windsor resident’s accomplishments reach beyond California. One year he won the National Special Olympics Tournament in Ames,Iowa, by six strokes.

Golf also took him to China, where he finished fifth in the 2007 Special Olympics World Games.

“That was the most exciting thing I’ve done,” Beazell said. “I played four days on the most beautiful courses you can imagine.”

He plays at a 19 handicap, which means his average 18-hole score is 91. He consistently drives the ball 210 yards or more off the tee.

“The palsy affects my putting,” Beazell said. “Your body should be motionless when you putt and only your hands should move. With palsy, that’s difficult. Some days are better than others.”

Last Sunday’s round in San Jose is a perfect example of how he works around that limitation. Beazell three-putted three holes but went on to win the tournament.

Good golfers don’t learn the game without help along the way, and Beazell is no exception.

“My mom and dad have always told me, ‘Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something,’” he said. “I always remember that when things aren’t going well.”

As Beazell was falling in love with golf, his parents paid for his lessons. He credits local pros John Russell and Molly James with teaching him the game. And these days his Special Olympics coaches, Marin-based Curtis Fong and June Drott, help him hone his game.

“Bob Lavery, who I met while playing at Windsor, has helped me a lot,” Beazell said. “I was honored to have him caddy for me in the tournament last Sunday.”

Since 2004, Beazell has worked at Sutter Hospital where he delivers medical supplies to various departments. While he likes his job, he sheepishly admits that he’d rather be playing golf.


  • Laurie

    What an inspirational story! I truly wish tales such as this were considered front page news. Spreading good news might be contagious….it could catch on.

  • Jesse


    • http://www.facebook.com/official.erin.scholzen Erin Scholzen

      Golf= Game of loving fun.

  • Wendy

    We Bertolini’s are very proud of you Brian, you have grown into one of the best men I know. So kind hearted.

  • Stewart Beazell

    You go, Little Brian!
    Love, Stew

  • Sally Longinetti

    Dana forwarded this link and said Ben and Mia were at the Villages tournament…what a GREAT article!
    CONGRATULATIONS on your persistence, perseverance…and, of course, your victories!
    We would love to know your tournament schedule and try to attend one in the Bay Area sometime soon- We’ll check with Ben, but do you have a tournament schedule or a blog?
    Please give our regards to your family-
    Bob and Sally Longinetti

  • http://www.facebook.com/erinscholzen1 Erin Scholzen

    Best fricken coworker ever!!

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James Lanaras is our Windsor correspondent.
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