ROANOKE, Va. – More than 160 golfers teed off this weekend in the Scott Robertson Memorial Tournament in Roanoke.
But for one teenager, golf ended up rescuing his life from the war in Ukraine.
Nearly three months ago, 15-year-old Misha Golod found himself not on the golf course but traveling miles away to evacuate from his home in Ukraine.
“It’s been crazy,” he said. “I’ve been falling asleep hearing explosions, and I’ve been waking up hearing explosions. So it’s awesome to get away and to be here right now, but my parents are still there.”
Misha said his parents are now safe, but he misses them every day.
“It’s extremely nerve-wracking knowing that they are still there and anything can happen,” he said.
Misha’s passion for golf started at nine years old after watching his father play.
But once he recognized the sport required a strong mindset, Misha knew it was more than just a hobby.
“I mean a lot of sports you find yourself playing somebody, against a team,” he said. “But in golf, you play against yourself.”
World renown golf instructor David Leadbetter heard about Misha’s story and offered him a full scholarship to his golf academy in Orlando, Florida.
David Louys-Moroney travels with Misha as his coach and admires the teenager for picking a sport that is not as common in Ukraine.
“You have to be a certain character to do something out of the norm,” Louys-Moroney said. “He’s got a real passion and love for the game, so we are here hopefully, to just help him and support him on this journey.”
Despite an unexpected turn in his life, Misha hopes to one day make headlines for his skill.
“My goal is to obviously make the headlines not for what’s happening in Ukraine but for my game,” he said. “So hopefully we will see that in a couple of years.”