There is a new phenomenon in golf for the disabled: Issa Nlareb, without both legs, without the five fingers on his left hand and with only two fingers on his right hand, but with a power and elegance of game that goes beyond any physical law .
Issa Nlareb, story
His swing is powerful and elegant, the artificial legs are perfectly connected to the rest of the body, as well as the drive, it seems an extension of his arms.
The ball flies, flies, flies… it reaches the green and then passes further into the rough. No problem for Issa: up and down, birdie. Issa Nlareb was born in Cameroon in 1990 in Bafia, but lived from an early age in Yaoundé , near a golf club.
To get to school he had to take a road that crossed the golf course, that’s how he immediately falls in love with the game. At the age of 11 he lost his mother and found a second family in the golf club: so he began to attend more and more often and became a caddy. Issa’s golfing talent soon manifested itself: from a caddy he became a professional player within a few years, until he landed on the Alps Tour.
2017 is his golden year: he wins the Gabon Open, the Nigeria and the Senegal Open. In February 2018, at the first Alps Tour competition of the year which took place in Egypt, Issa did not feel well: severe pain, especially in the legs, and fever. The diagnosis is terrible: meningococcal sepsis (to be clear, it is the same pathology that affected Bebe Vio).
He is hospitalized in Egypt, then in Cameroon. Issa says: ‘My legs and arms went into necrosis within two weeks. Doctors wanted to amputate the legs at thigh level and the arms above the elbow. I refused, hoping that medical therapy could reverse the necrosis.
And so it was: slowly it regressed, but the pain was very strong, I needed massive doses of morphine. I managed to go to Brussels for treatment, but unfortunately there was nothing left to do. In the end, I could no longer bear the constant pain, so I decided on amputation, which however was less invasive than what I had been told in Cameroon.
I saved the arms and the amputation of the legs was done above the knee. Issa keeps thinking about golf. ‘The doctor assured me that with the prosthesis I could walk as before. I also asked him if I could go back to playing golf, he replied that he couldn’t guarantee it, but in any case I could rest assured that I would walk.
My right leg was a little less badly affected than my left leg, and that helped. As soon as he was given the all clear by the doctors, Issa started working on his swing. In 2022 he incredibly regains the Alps Tour card. Only in 2023 does he learn about the EDGA Tour.
After three competitions he is in ninth place in the WR4GD gross strokeplay ranking (and the result of the Grand Prix de Baden will only be entered from next week!). Issa Nlareb, in addition to his professional status, is also a golf instructor. But there is an important news: we will soon see him play in Milan, where he recently moved with his family.