Disc Golf Champ Plays from His Heart

1 decade 10 months 3 days ago July 21, 2006 Jul 21, 2006 Friday, July 21 2006 Friday, July 21, 2006 9:55:35 PM CDT in Sports

The sport holds a special place in Ash's heart because it has helped him make it through the ultimate heartbreak.

"My wife was killed by a hit-and-run driver. It was the day our baby was baptized," he remembered. "I became a single parent, I lost my wife and also the owner of a day care, and I was just in shock."

Playing the game helped him get through the hard times.

"I quit my job working for the state of Arkansas as a family service worker," he added, "and went into a depression actually for a few months, just trying to figure out what I was going to do."

A friend of Ash gave him a disc, which turned out to play a key role on his road to recovery.

"I would take my son out in the stroller to our local park," he explained. "And I would just walk around the park, just trying to get through the pain, and just throw the disc and push my son and pick it up and continue to throw it. Along that way, I found myself healing from the loss of my wife and felt like I was ready to get back on with my life."

Eventually, disc golf turned into more than just a hobby.

"I set a goal to win the PDGA amateur world championship as an advanced master," he said.

In 2003, Ash won the Amateur World Championship in Kansas City.

"One of the most bittersweet feelings about winning the disc championship was standing on the awards ceremony stand and my wife not being there by my side," he admitted.

Disc golf gives Ash more than just a diversion, as the circle he tosses helps fill the hole in his heart. And he brings his nine-year old son to disc golf tournaments as they travel across the country.

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