The Dart: Disability doesn’t stop Vidalia man

Published 12:33 am Monday, January 23, 2017

VIDALIA — Ja’Larrius “J.J.” Edwards nailed an approximately 30-foot putt Friday, just like a professional golfer, though it took several tries.

“I don’t give up,” Edwards said. “Every time I miss, I’m going to start over where the ball was. I’m going to keep trying until I make it.”

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When The Dart landed on Riverside Street in Vidalia Friday, Edwards was in his front yard playing with a Christmas golf set that came in late. The golf pole and hole set also was missing a component — a flag — so Edwards had to improvise and taped on a miniature Stars and Stripes as a substitute.

But Edwards was not worried about any problems, he was focused on his favorite sport.

“I’ve been watching golf since I was a little boy,” Edwards said.

And after a little back and forth with his mother, Stephanie Scott, he determined he has been playing golf since he was approximately 15.

“Golf is my favorite thing in the world,” he said. “My favorite golfer is Tiger Woods. I just like the way he swings. I like the way he putts.”

Edwards said Woods likely was the reason he ended up taking an interest in golf.

“I like the way he plays, the way he holds the clubs,” Edwards said. “He has won a lot of golf events. To me, he is a champion.”

Though Edwards admits golf is not very popular amongst his friends, back when the 21-year-old was in school at Vidalia High, where he graduated in 2015, he had a teacher he could talk to about golf.

“My teacher plays a lot of golf,” Edwards said. “His favorite (golfer) is Jordan Spieth.”

Edwards has a disability that gives him seizures if he gets too hot, so Scott said golf is perfect for him. The family also has a putting set allowing him to practice indoors if the temperatures are too high outside.

“He has a hard time getting a job because of his disability,” Scott said. “That’s frustrating for him. This just helps him relax.”

Edwards said he would practice his putting throughout the day, looking for any excuse.

“If that dog (Brownie) is whining to go out, I will take her out and play,” Edwards said. “I like to putt.”

Before he can start playing golf in the morning, though, Edwards said he has to take his sister, Ja’Laiyah Kelly, 8, to the bus.

Scott said Edwards is a big help with Kelly.

“She is a help with him, too, when he has his seizures,” Scott said.

Edwards said he has never had golf lessons, but he has learned a lot by watching golf on TV. Edwards said he watches all of the events and has many of them recorded.

“Some say golf is boring, but I don’t think it is boring,” he said. “I think it is the best sport.”

Scott said she doesn’t have a problem with how much golf he plays, as long as he does everything else he’s supposed to do.

“I wanted to try to give him something to do that he could do in the house,” she said. “He doesn’t bother nobody. He’s a good kid.”