written by Olivia Pennybaker

Louisville native Don Fightmaster was instrumental in changing the way golf is played. Fightmaster was born in Louisville, Kentucky on June 13, 1932 and attended Male High School. He got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and his master’s degree from Indiana University then served in the United States Air Force. Unfortunately, Fightmaster lost his left arm in a Jeep accident while serving in Germany in the 1950’s. Despite his setback, he continued golfing and won many tournaments including the International One-Armed Golf Tournament twice, the National One-Armed Golf Tournament seven times, and the International Senior One-Arm Tournament. Fightmaster was an inspiration to many as he took a difficult situation and created an opportunity for success. In 1979 he founded the Don Fightmaster Foundation for Exceptional Children here in Louisville which benefits children with special needs. The Don Fightmaster Golf Outing has been a part of the Kentucky Derby Festival for over ten years. The 2019 event took place at First Tee – Louisville’s own Shawnee Golf Course where children participated in a fun day of golf and games. Fightmaster was inducted into the Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 and also was one of the founders of the North American One-Arm Golf Association in 2008. Unfortunately in early 2020 Don Fightmaster passed away but his impact on the community was one that will never be forgotten. He was able to change the face of golf as he demonstrated that, despite his disability, he was still able to enjoy and compete in the game of golf.