Game Changers

How Golf Has Given Double Amputee Ryan Cutter, PGA, a Fairway For Life

By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Published on

PGA of America Golf Professional and Bend, Oregon native Ryan Cutter was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a rare condition that causes amniotic bands to wrap around part of the developing fetus, halting the growth and maturation process.
The deformation this caused in Cutter’s legs led to him needing prosthetics when he was two years old.
He and his family would have to go to Shriners Children’s Portland every 6-12 months for reevaluation and sizing. As his body grew, so too did the apparatus that aided in his ability to get around.
Ryan Cutter, PGA.
Ryan Cutter, PGA.
Cutter says his family was always very competitive, so as he got accustomed to walking and running with his prosthetics, he played baseball, basketball and soccer as a child.
“I gravitated towards golf because I could be more competitive and beat people, whereas in the other sports, it was more difficult for me to play at the higher level,” Cutter remembers. “My dad was a big-time golfer and got me involved at a super young age. I started playing when I was three, and my first real memory in the game was using his old Callaway irons that were cut down to size.
Cutter on the driving range. (Photo courtesy of 406 Mt Sports)
Cutter on the driving range. (Photo courtesy of 406 Mt Sports)
"I took to the game immediately."
Cutter was playing competitively by 10-11 before moving from Oregon to Los Angeles, where he then moved into high school golf. After high school, he attended Loyola Marymount for a couple of years where he was in a pre-med program, with aspirations of going into medicine.
It was, however, during this period when, for the first time in his life, Cutter felt like an outcast. He says he didn't know any better when he was a kid. It wasn’t like he had use of his legs at one time, lost them, and then had to adapt to life with prosthetics. The life he lived was the only one he knew and as most kids do, went with the flow. 
The prosthetics Cutter wears have enabled to play the game he loves.
The prosthetics Cutter wears have enabled to play the game he loves.
In Los Angeles, everyone was more about what you looked like than who you were and what you may have endured through life. He felt out of place in Southern California. He left Loyola Marymount and did his own thing for a couple of years, trying to figure out who he was.
Cutter then moved to Denver, Colorado, where things would become clearer to him.
“I just always came back to golf,” he says. 
He took a job in outside services at a course in Denver, passed his PGA of America Playing Ability Test (PAT) on the first try, and enrolled in the PGA Golf Management Program at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He came out with an accounting degree, his Class A PGA of America membership, and a clear direction to move forward. Little did he know at the time just how successful he’d be in the game of golf. 
Now Cutter is the PGA of America Director of Instruction at Green Meadow Country Club in Helena, Montana, a role he assumed last year after serving four seasons as an assistant. With 425 members at Helena’s only private golf facility and almost 100 on the waitlist, Cutter is busy coaching and delivering a stellar private club experience to every member he encounters.
Cutter plans and implements various player development programs for his members, covering all ages and skill levels. He also coaches individual lessons for golfers who want a more personal approach.
For his tremendous efforts, Cutter earned the 2020 and '21 Youth Player Development Award in the Western Montana Chapter of the Pacific Northwest PGA Section and earned Assistant Golf Professional of the Year honors in the Chapter in 2021. He was also the recipient of the Pacific Northwest PGA's Deacon Palmer Award, which acknowledges PGA of America Members who have succeeded in their roles despite hardships. 
Cutter with his girlfriend at Pinehurst's famed Payne Stewart statue.
Cutter with his girlfriend at Pinehurst's famed Payne Stewart statue.
Cutter tees off at the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open.
Cutter tees off at the 2022 U.S. Adaptive Open.
That's all on top of the fact that Cutter represented the PGA of America alongside other PGA Members in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open in 2022 at Pinehurst Resort. It was a moment Cutter will never forget, calling it "one of the coolest experiences" of his life.
Today, in addition to his daily duties at Green Meadow, Cutter runs a non-profit he created in early 2023 called All Abilities Golf Academy. He offers free instructional programs to people with disabilities and military Veterans who are PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) participants.
Cutter says that despite playing several other sports growing up, he realized that there’s nothing like golf. In addition to using the term humbling, he describes the game in many other ways, some we can’t use here.

"Golf has done so much for me in my life, that I want to pass those opportunities along to someone else. I want to spread the game of golf and help people find themselves in ways they might not have thought possible."

Ryan Cutter, PGA
And in that regard, he is no different than any of us who love golf. Whether you’ve made it your career or simply try to play as much as possible, the game changes lives every day, and PGA of America Golf Professional Ryan Cutter is one shining and inspiring example.