Look: the blind wave biggest winner in Scotland
Barry McCluskey & # 39; s first trip to blind wave a year ago offered little indication of the glory that was to come, as a wayward shot that was scanned into a particularly sensitive part of his guide's anatomy.
But since that unfavorable start with Gerry Green at Royal Musselburgh, McCluskey has established himself as one of the best blind players in the world, he recently won the US Open.
Here, 37-year-old BBC Scotland tells of his "head went" during his last few holes in Arizona, receiving text messages from comedian Kevin Bridges, and his father scored a goal that gave rise to a riot.
& # 39; I thought I had blown it up with five to go & # 39;
McCluskey, the son of former Celtic striker George, is still trying to cope with winning during his first international tournament in April.
There are three categories of blind golf depending on how limited a player's vision is and the Scot has achieved the B3 title – for those with the smallest degree of blindness – after scores of 79 and 82 put him comfortably clear on top of the field of 29 competitors.
"It's a little surreal," McCluskey says. "I thought I blew it up – with five holes to let my head go completely. Thank goodness for the man by my side, Gerry, who managed to pull me back in. I ended up very strong.
"To come home and see my family and my little Ruari, the smile on my face when his father won the blind wave US Open, it is something I never dreamed I could do. "
Riots, Comedians & Unrepeatable Messages
The trophy takes a prominent place at home in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, alongside another famous family souvenir – the ball with which George scored the winner in the Scottish 1980 cup final.
It has been referred to in the family house as "the ball that led to a riot" after fans battle on the Hampden pitch after Celtic's 1-0 extra-time win over Rangers, a game that brought about the alcohol ban that survives in Scottish football today.
George McCluskey, second right, scored the only goal in the Scottish Cup final of 1980
The Scottish comedian Bridges is friends with George and wanted to help, just like the Scottish European Tour pro Stephen Gallacher.
"Kevin sms & # 39; me when I was in Arizona and told me to stay calm and enjoy the experience," says McCluskey, ambassador of the Celtic Foundation, the charity weapon of the former club of his father. "I cannot repeat some of the texts he sends me. They are very funny, he is a character.
" Steven has also been a phenomenal help. He delivered me a completely new adjusted set of clubs. It's good to have such guys in my corner. "
& # 39; I am preparing for the worst & # 39;
McCluskey was diagnosed with degenerative keratoconus disease at the age of 18 after his eczema caused him to his eyes scratched and the cornea's damage. His condition deteriorated to the point where he was blindly registered in January 2018. He struggles with bright lights and cannot see faces unless they are directly in front of him
He has been re-deployed from his job at Glasgow Life, where he worked with children, and is now a processing coordinator at the Royal Concertgebouw.
"I just woke up one day and my eyes didn't feel good" , he says." It was pretty scary, a big turning point in my life.
"Most days I have to use a white stick when I do it. It's stable at the moment If I stay that way, I would be completely in the clouds, but I prepare for the worst – total loss of eyesight. ever comes. I just want to try and keep up as well as I can.
"Blind wave has been an absolute revelation, it has given me a purpose in life again."
& # 39; I couldn't do it without Gerry & # 39;
Gerry Green is the man who helps Barry McCluskey set the course
After his milestone success, McCluskey looks forward to playing for the Rest of the World against North America in the biennial Vision Cup – blind wave version of the Ryder Cup – in June in Dublin. He will also compete in the British Open and British Masters, as well as six or seven events in Scotland.
Gerry, an old friend of the family, will be with him every step of the way. His role is to describe the gap, to assist in the selection of the club and to ensure that the club is placed behind the ball. The rest is due to McCluskey.
"I can see the ball at my feet, but as soon as I stand on the ball, I have no idea where it is going," he says. "I can't judge distances, slopes on greens or anything like that, so my guide is crucial for that. Gerry is a big part of this because if he wasn't there I wouldn't be able to do it."