Meador, the 2011 and 2012 United States Blind Golf Association National Champion, will receive a special trophy from golf writers during the association's annual awards dinner in Augusta, Ga., on April 10. The event will help kick off the 2013 Masters Tournament. Past "Ben Hogan Award" winners include well-known golfers such as Ken Venturi, Fuzzy Zoeller, Paul Azinger, Judy Rankin, and Tom Watson.
The former USBGA president was only 18 when he lost his eyesight in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve in 1966. By Easter of the next year, the college freshman was playing golf again.
"It was my father who got me back in the game," said Meador, who at age 64 still credits his father and the game of golf for a lifetime of opportunities to interact with great people. "This award now gives me the chance to bring attention to the game of golf and in particular how it can help someone overcome adversity."
The blind Tennessee golfer, also a two-time cancer survivor with a history of complications and surgeries, relies on a simple but strong philosophy.
"Like blind golf, pushing through troubles is never a solo accomplishment," added Meador, who has been married to his college sweetheart, Connie, for more than 41 years. "It's always a team game."
Meador, a 39-year member of the USBGA, admits that he averages only six to eight rounds of golf a year. He still manages to break into the upper 90s on 18-hole courses.
Meador credits his golf coach, Everett Davis of Nashville, for keeping him in the game. Davis has coached Meador since 1994, helping him win two consecutive USBGA National Championships and place in the top five in regional, national and international tournaments.
"It's always a matter of teamwork," said fellow blind golfer and current USBGA President Jim Baker. "The coach physically sets the club face behind the ball and allows the blind golfer to feel a sense of balance and alignment. What comes next is a feeling of trust that lets the blind or vision-impaired golfer swing with confidence and athleticism."
In addition to serving on the USBGA Board of Directors, Meador is an accomplished motivational speaker. His autobiography, "Broken Eyes, Unbroken Spirit", shares memorable reflections on returning to life as a blind man, and being forced to learn incredible new ways of seeing along the way.
Meador is the fifth USBGA member to win the "Ben Hogan Award". Others include Clint Russell (1957), Charlie Boswell (1959), Joe Lazaro (1970), and Pat Browne Jr. (1988).
Founded in 1953, the USBGA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has sponsored an annual blind golf National Championship since 1946. It also stages two regional tournaments each year. The USBGA Junior Golf Program introduces blind and vision-impaired students and adults to blind golf through clinics and individual lessons. Many USBGA tournaments help raise much-needed funds for local charities.
The USBGA is proud to state that 100 percent of all funds received are used to support USBGA junior golf clinics and programs, tournaments, and member recruitment. For more information about the USBGA, visit http://www.USBlindGolf.com .