It has been more than an average spring for PGA Professional Kim Moore, a former University of Indianapolis standout player turned groundbreaking golf instructor. Training for a new job four hours away, Moore became an ardent supporter of the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid by selling advance tickets.
Moore will not be a formal volunteer, May 24-27, when golf's premier seniors visit Harbor Shore in Benton Harbor, Mich., yet she says she has a sincere desire to promote the Championship. Sitting idle is not part of Moore's DNA, especially when it comes to promoting a sport that has benefited her.
This summer, the 31-year-old native of Fort Wayne, Ind., embarks on career that no previous PGA Professional has taken. A nine-time National Amputee Champion, Moore becomes the first director of golf for SRT's National Prosthetics Center in Indianapolis, a multi-purpose facility set to open in late June, which will include a golf center. Patients will receive PGA instruction, practice on a state-of-the-art golf simulator and gain inspiration toward developing an active lifestyle.
"I admire people who suffer from amputations later in life," says Moore. "For me, this is what I'm used to. I grew up with an amputation, and I have never known anything different. What I find in the patients I meet is that they are a lot more comfortable with me from the start. They understand what I have been through and we form a quick bond."
Opening doors for others is part of Moore's remarkable personal journey. Born with a clubbed left foot, Moore also had a birth defect on her right leg just below her ankle and became a below-the-knee amputee. She was fit for her first prosthetic at age 2, when she first began to walk. Meanwhile, she has endured numerous surgeries on her left leg, which has no calf muscle.
Moore's love for sports lifted her to new heights, competing in basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and golf. She was a member of her grade school and high school basketball team. She struggled with her balance, but kept running, kept moving.
"As the game became faster and I was getting slower, my Dad suggested that I might pick up golf," says Moore. "So I did, and began playing at age 15. I have loved it ever since." Among those who have shaped her career, she says, are three PGA Professionals.
Gary Gant, formerly of Pine Valley Country Club in Fort Wayne, was her first golf instructor; Mike Riley of Colonial Oaks Golf Club in Fort Wayne encouraged her to become a PGA of America member and opened her professional career with an assistant's position; and Tom Thome of Elcona Country Club in Bristol, Ind., became a second mentor, who "opened me up to becoming more of a golf professional."
Moore earned a scholarship to the University of Indianapolis and competed on the women's golf team from 1999 to 2003. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry and Spanish.
Upon graduation, Moore was ranked eighth in the nation; had won seven college events set an individual scoring record and was presented an honor by the National Golf Coaches Association. She was recipient of the Kim Moore Spirit Award for women golfers in NCAA Divisions I, II and III.
"I look at the list each year of award recipients and contact each one to congratulate them," said Moore. "Most don't have an award named after them unless they have passed away. I'm pretty honored."
Moore turned professional in 2003 and competed on the Duramed Futures Golf Tour for two years, making a few cuts, and playing in several Indiana State Opens. Beginning in 2003, Moore won the first of nine consecutive National Amputee Golf Association titles, and defends her crown Aug. 5-10, at The Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. SRT Prosthetics is a supporter of the 64th National Amputee Golf Association Championship. Moore, who owns a personal 18-hole competitive best of 67 and has made four holes-in-one, also went international with her talent. She won the 2003 Canadian National Amputee Golf Championship and the 2005 Japan Amputee Open Championship.
"I can still run and can jump, but not too high," says Moore, who became a PGA member this past February. "I look upon doing what comes normal is a matter of what you can put into it."
Prior to her joining SRT Prosthetics, Moore was a teaching professional and received Thome's guidance toward building her career at Elcona Country Club in Bristol, Ind.
Her position at SRT, according to founder and CEO Sam Santa Rita of Bryan, Ohio, was an evolutionary process.
"We did not openly recruit Kim, because she was one of our patients," said Santa Rita, a certified prostheticist who founded his company in 2002. "Kim really created this position for herself. She is really a unique person. I have never seen her have a bad day. She loves people.
"She will be a very busy professional for us, traveling a lot and helping us spread the message about keeping people motivated and staying active. What we are presenting at the new center will be no charge to the patients. We are optimizing their chances to feel better about themselves."
It has been nine years since Moore received her college diploma, and she said that she is ready for a new career in golf.
"I guess if I was never in golf, I would be a doctor," says Moore. "But I found that I liked golf so much and was pretty set for what I wanted to be by my junior year in college."
The criteria for recipients of the Kim Moore Spirit Award is that they exemplify a great spirit toward e game of golf, a positive attitude on and off the golf course, and are a role model for her team and mental toughness in facing challenges.
That is all part of Moore's makeup, a sincere desire that is easily picked up by a willingness to teach others that there is plenty to smile about, plenty to enjoy.
"My goal is to keep people in the game of golf," says Moore.