Kevin Hall, a deaf golfer, is making headlines after CBS Sports featured him in a video.
We interviewed the golfer who relentlessly pursues the dream of winning on the PGA Tour.
Kevin Hall in CBS Sports Video
Sporting events in 2020 looked much different than usual, with nearly all events omitting spectators. Spectators can be loud and bring a certain energy to the event. Quite often, the athletes feed off of the fan excitement. CBS Sports chose to highlight this unique narrative for someone who experiences all events in silence.
In a promo package for the Masters Tournament — the first major championship of the year — Kevin Hall, a deaf golfer, is featured. The pro golfer he shares how “the silence of the year’s Masters is nothing out of the ordinary.”
Kevin Hall’s Deafness
Through our wonderful community, HearingLikeMe was able to connect with Kevin Hall to learn more about him, his golf journey, and his featured TV spot.
HLM: Let’s start simple. Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Kevin: I’m 38 years old and was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I went to St. Rita School for the Deaf until I graduated high school. Then I went to The Ohio State University for college and graduated with a journalism degree. [In the fall of 2005], I turned professional in golf. [I] have been doing that since then.
HLM: Can you share the details of your hearing loss and communication methods?
Kevin: When I was two-and-a-half, I got hit by H-flu meningitis. I got so sick that I was supposed to either die or become a vegetable; I lost my hearing instead. A telex [was worn] along with hearing aids up till I was 13 years old. I don’t wear anything now. I communicate primarily through American Sign Language. Communication with hearing people is mainly lip reading. Depending on the person, I’ll use my voice. Other than that, I type out my responses on my phone or there’s the old school paper/pen.
HLM: Does anyone else in your family have hearing loss? If so, what was it like growing up with someone who shared similar experiences? Or do you know anyone else with hearing loss?
Kevin: I’m the only one in my family who’s deaf. My interactions with deaf people growing up were mainly at St. Rita School for the Deaf and activities outside of school.
How Kevin Hall Became a Deaf Golfer
HLM: How did you get into golf? Tell us about your golf journey to date.
Kevin: I played a lot of sports during my younger years. When I was nine years old, one of my coaches in the junior bowling league came up to me and asked if I was interested in learning how to play golf. One afternoon [I met him] at the driving range and was instantly hooked from the first swing. I was able to play golf for a mainstream school near my home during high school, [and] went on from there to play golf at Ohio State. I won the Big Ten Championship in 2004 by 11 shots. That influenced my decision to turn pro. Since then I’ve played in a few PGA Tour events, Korn Ferry events, and various mini tours throughout the years.
HLM: You’ve reached quite a high level. What or who do you credit for helping get you to this point?
Kevin: My faith in God and my awesome parents, family, and friends. Also hard work. 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.
Kevin Hall on Being a Deaf Golfer
HLM: You are as far as we know one of if not, the only deaf golfer playing at this level in the country. What does that mean to you?
Kevin: It is a pretty surreal feeling but at the same time a pretty lonely experience. However, I made the choice to do this a long time ago. I don’t regret a second of it. It would be really nice to see other Deaf golfers do the same thing and get to share the experience with them. Maybe one day we’ll see more of them. There are a few playing professionally on the European Tour, I believe.
“It would be really nice to see other Deaf golfers do the same thing and get to share the experience with them.”
HLM: What obstacles have you had to overcome as a golfer with hearing loss?
Kevin: It is just mainly communication. Some things can get lost in transition. Other than that, I would think trying to cope with life on the road playing professional golf in the hearing world. It’s not easy at all, but I find a way to make it work. I try to bridge the gap between being a deaf person needing the interaction of the deaf community while functioning the majority of my time in the hearing world.
HLM: Are there any challenging moments on the course?
Kevin: No different than all the other golfers, the game of golf can drive you nuts in various ways! With me not being able to hear, there are days where sometimes it’s hard to stay engaged especially when you’re dealing with 5-6 hours on the golf course. It helps when I have my dad who is my regular caddie or someone I know on my bag.
Takeaway Messages From Kevin Hall, Deaf Golfer
HLM: What do you wish hearing golfers knew about deaf or hard of hearing golfers?
Kevin: That it’s not hard at all to communicate. Just because we can’t hear doesn’t mean we are mute. There’s many ways for all of us to communicate on the course during the round.
HLM: What do you wish deaf and hard of hearing people knew about golf in general?
Kevin: That it is not an easy game at all. It takes all of your concentration every single round if you want to play your best. You will have days where you simply don’t have it. It’s just a tough game to master and we never will.
HLM: How have others helped you through your golf career and your overall hearing loss journey?
Kevin: A lot of people have helped me in various ways. The physical stuff, the mental side of the game, financially, and just through general support. Having all those behind me spurns me on to keep working hard each and every day towards my dreams. It has been a pretty memorable journey. It still is.
HLM: Tell us about your recent feature in the promo for the 2020 Masters. What was that experience like? How did it come together? What do you hope people take away from it?
Kevin: It was a very awesome experience. It was the first time I have ever set foot on Augusta National. I tell people every chance I get that TV does ANGC no justice. It was just so beautiful to see in person. 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. I jumped at the chance and 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.
Words of Wisdom
Hall leaves us with these words of wisdom: “I have always been told throughout my life that you can do anything you want to if you put your mind to it. 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.”