Dick Pomo, who has been involved in bringing golf to the vision-impaired for more than 20 years, has been inducted into the U.S. Blind Golf Association Hall of Fame.
Pomo, 80, along with four others and an organization, was honored Oct. 6 at the group’s 75th anniversary golf tournament in Orlando, Florida.
Pomo has been legally blind since birth and lost his sight completely about 20 years ago. He and his wife, Sharon, moved to Green Valley in 2007, after he retired as executive director of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind in 2005, capping a 40-year career in human services.
The Pomos hosted regional golf tournaments in Wisconsin and nine ISPS/Handa Open blind-golf tournaments in Green Valley, six of them with international competitors.
“It was fantastic because of the community support,” he said. “We would stack those tournaments up against anything in this world.”
The Green Valley tournaments recently came to an end due in part to COVID-19, but Pomo still plays the game 50 years after first picking up a club — and recently got a new coach.
“Coaching a totally blind person is a lot of work,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to play golf without the volunteer coaches I’ve had over the years here in Green Valley.”
Many others, in turn, have Pomo to thank for getting them onto the course. He was elected to several terms on the U.S. Blind Golf Association Board of Directors and was president from 2015-19.
“I think what I gave back to the game was helping people understand that once you lose your vision you still can continue to do the things you love to do, sometimes with just a little help," he said.
Outside of golf, Pomo helped with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, advocating for the bill in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. He was at the White House when it was signed into law by President George Bush.
Pomo keeps busy even when not on the course, talking walks, playing cards and always in the middle of a book made available through the Library Services for the Blind. He's also president of the Green Valley La Canoa Lions Club.
Pomo laughs at the age milestone he reached this summer, and in typical fashion found a silver lining.
“What's nice about reaching 80 is two things. I don’t have to be amazing or an inspiration," he said. "In order to be a lousy golfer, I’d have to improve. And that’s probably part of the reason I got into the Hall of Fame. There are people who are really good at the game and that’s wonderful. But there are a lot of people who lose their vision and weren’t that good when they had vision but love the game. So I kind of take that tack, you don’t have to be amazing or an inspiration when you’re blind or vision-impaired. You just have to be a person and enjoy life.”