Kevin Hall lost his hearing at age 2. That didn't stop him from becoming a collegiate standout and winning as a professional. Hall, who competes on the Advocates Pro Golf Association (APGA) Tour, earned his fourth victory on Tuesday at the TPC Deere Run tournament in Illinois.
“The key was to stay calm and focused on one shot at a time,” said Hall who shot 73-63 in the 36-hole event. "I did that from start to finish and it paid off big time. I think that just having the courage to go out there and compete week in and week out despite my deafness.”
When Kevin was 2 1/2, he got hit by H-flu meningitis and there was a high chance he wouldn’t survive. A miracle happened and Hall only lost his hearing, wearing a telex and hearing aids until he was 13. Hall, 38, now communicates through American Sign Language and lip reading. Depending on the person, he uses his voice but types out most of his responses on his phone or on a piece of paper.
“It [my deafness] has never gotten in my way and it never will,” Hall told CBS Sports. He earned a scholarship to play golf at The Ohio State University and won the Big Ten Championship in 2004 by 11 shots, which influenced his decision to turn pro. “I was taught at a very young age that nothing in life comes easy. I had to work twice as hard for whatever I wanted to accomplish in life.”
The APGA Tour is a non-profit organization committed to providing opportunities for Blacks and other minority golfers to excel on the professional circuit and within the golf industry. In 2016, Hall won the tour’s season-long Lexus Cup Point Standings Championship and received the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2017 Genesis Invitational, hosted by Tiger Woods.
“They have tried to make sure that not only I but many others have a chance to play tournaments and have the best equipment/coaches/financial to help us continue to improve and reach the highest level of golf,” said Hall of the APGA Tour. “They have also put us on great golf courses that force you to play really good golf to win and prepare you for professional golf at the same time.”
Hall’s story as a deaf professional golfer reached national attention when CBS Sports featured him for its 2020 Masters promo.
“CBS reached out to me to see if I’d like to do it since no spectators were allowed at the tournament and I would be a great choice to describe the silence,” said Hall in an earlier interview with them, who jumped on the opportunity. “I hope that people who saw the opener see that deaf people are just as excited about golf as they are and experience the game in a slightly different way. I wanted that excitement to show through my facial expressions and in how I described my experiences of watching the Masters on TV.”
Hall has also played events on the Korn Ferry and PGA tours. He's still seeking his first made cut in the big leagues, but has a career-best T-30 on the KFT. His parents travel with him and have been a huge support in his golf journey. “They have been with me every step of the way and it is really a joy to share my success with them because it’s a testament to the hard work they have put in with me," Hall said.
"I’ve caddied for Kevin as long as I can remember," said Hall's father Percy. "We’re are a close family and our main priority has been love for each other and support. There’s no give up in Kevin. If God’s plan for Kevin’s life is to inspire people then so be it. We are very proud of Kevin no matter what the outcome."
His next event will be the APGA Tour’s Billy Horschel Invitational at TPC Sawgrass and he will end the year with the Korn Ferry Qualifying Tournament.
“I have always been told throughout my life that you can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it," Hall said to CBS Sports. "Not every day is going to be all nice and rosy. You are going to make mistakes. The important thing is you learn from them and keep improving. Life is a journey. Enjoy it and always keep moving forward.”