Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


An amputee golfer for 28 years, Danny Alston aims for Champions Tour


Donny Alston's first artificial leg weighed 18 pounds.

But in the 28 years since he suffered a training accident while in the Army, prosthetics have advanced considerably. Now he has extra legs for different occasions, whether running or swimming.

Or golf.

Alston, 46, always has been a good athlete, but golf is his main game. And if things go according to plan, he might be making a bit of history.

For the next four years, Alston will train for the Champions Tour. He would be the first amputee player ever on any professional tour.

• • •

For years, Alston has been a fixture at Fox Hollow Golf Club in Trinity. Everyone knows him and admires his game.

Recently, former PGA Tour player Brad Bryant sought Alston out at the Birdies for the Brave charity event at TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz. Bryant now plays on the Champions Tour and wanted to sponsor Alston. Bryant saw talent, a possibility of something special. Bryant said he wants to inspire other veterans, whether physically disabled or not, to follow their dreams after their military careers.

"I really don't want to put odds on it," said Bryant, who turned pro in 1976, "because it's a real long shot, but when I first met him and watched him swing a golf club, I said, 'Well, that's really something. He has a lot of talent.' He has a lot natural ability with the way he swings and how he controls the ball.

"I'm hoping Donny will be successful just because it would be an unbelievable story."

Alston has been playing golf since he was 5. He joined the Army at 18 in Tampa and thought he was on the way overseas when he was injured. He left leg was removed just below the knee.

"When I got hurt, I didn't think I could be a soldier or a golfer," he said. "I didn't really have a desire to be either. I never thought I would play again. I thought I would be awful at it and I don't like being awful at anything."

He worked long and hard on his game — and eventually he adjusted to the prosthetics. The leg is held on by suction, and perspiration causes Alston's skin to chafe. So while playing rounds, he has to take it off because he can blister. He carries a first aid kit to care for lesions that sometimes appear.

• • •

When Alston learned he might have a chance to play on the Champions Tour once he turns 50, he came home excited to tell his wife, Angie.

"I was surprised when Donny told me about it," she said. "Donny was into it and wanted to do it (from the) very beginning. He tried to feel me out about it, to see if I would go for it, but I was never going to say no."

They've been married for 18 years. She is a Web designer.

"He's always been a golfer and he's always been an amputee,'' she said. "I don't know him any other way."

• • •

Making the Champions Tour is something else for Donny to prove, but he has his work cut out. Right now, he has a plus 4 handicap. It needs to be about a plus 2, but thanks to Bryant and others, he has a contract with Adams Golf, which supplies him with equipment.

Donny practices up to three times a week. He works at the David Leadbetter camp to refine his game. He'll put in more than eight hours a day of ball striking and putting. The rest of his free time he juggles between Angie and playing at Fox Hollow.

He realizes this is his chance after missing out early in life. He won't say he's under pressure, but he embraces the risk ahead of him.

"If I can't do it now, it's on me," he said. "They've pretty much done everything they can do for me to succeed. This really is my chance to do something I've wanted to do since I was 10. To be a golf pro."

Community Sports Editor Mike Camunas can be reached at or (352) 544-1771.

What's going on at your golf course?

Let us know and we may come to document it. Tell us about an event, a game, a practice, an outing, a tournament — just about anything! We're especially looking for upcoming golf tournaments in the area. There's a lot going on in the community and we want to know about it. Contact community sports editor Mike Camunas and tell him what's happening. Call (352) 544-1771 or e-mail him at We live in this community, so let's talk to one another.

Fast facts

Donny Alston

Age: 46

Hometown: Tampa

Web site:

An amputee golfer for 28 years, Danny Alston aims for Champions Tour 06/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions


    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) pumps his fist to the crowd after Tampa Bay's 29-7 victory over Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. The Bucs play at Minnesota at 1 p.m. Sunday. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Sorting through the Bucs' injuries


    Greg Auman sorts through the Bucs players sidelined with injury and illness in the latest edition of our Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Kwon Alexander left the Bucs' game against the Bears with a hamstring injury. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  3. College football week 4: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions


    The Times' college football coverage team makes its picks for week 4 of the college football season:

    USF coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls face Temple in a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday at Raymond James Stadium. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting


    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]
  5. Clearwater enjoys view from the top


    CLEARWATER — The offense still has a familiar feel. Short passes become big gains. Linemen drive their opponents in reverse, forcefully and repeatedly. Runs along the sideline continue to leave defenders breathlessly behind.

    The outcomes are similar, too.

    Clearwater’s Brandon Gary, from left, Jacob Day, Damon Dennis and Jarius Williams celebrate a turnover recovery deep in Countryside High territory during the second quarter of Monday’s game at Countryside. Clearwater won 35-14.