Deaf Golfer Beats The Odds

Kevin Hall has already beaten some tough odds, thanks to a caring family and a lot of hard work.

CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts reports that he is now poised to make his dream come true on the golf course.

A good golf game is often like a good life: It's about turning weaknesses into strengths.

Professional golfer Kevin Hall learned that lesson.

"When I lost my hearing, I think that my sense of feeling increased, kind of took its place," Kevin says.

A lesson served with love.

At age two, Kevin contracted meningitis. By three, he was completely deaf. Doctors told his parents he would never read and never function above a 6th-grade level.

So his parents prayed – then came up with a plan.

"We started teaching Kevin how to count rolling bowling balls," says Jackie Hall, Kevin's mom. "One, two, three, four."

Eventually Kevin enrolled in a school for the deaf. He took up golf and found his passion.

Kevin is the first African-American to attend Ohio State on a full golf scholarship. He led his team to a Big 10 championship.

Kevin says his aim now is the PGA tour.

"I was supposed to be mentally retarded or I was supposed to have died," Kevin says. "So I'm going to make the best of it."

He recently made his first check on tour: $3,300. To his parents, it felt like $33 million.

"I've cried many times all the way to work. When I got to work, my eyes I hoped were not red so nobody wouldn't see it," says Kevin's father, Percy Hall.

Kevin and his parents are as realistic as they are optimistic. They know the odds of him making it on the PGA tour, so they've given this dream three years.

But be clear: no one in the Hall household ever gives up.

"We're not worried if this is not going to work for Kevin because we know where ever he lands, he's going to be successful," says Kevin's mother.

You see Kevin graduated from Ohio State with honors and a degree in journalism last May. If the PGA tour doesn't work out, he'll take his "A" game to a newsroom.

"I don't want to sit at home and do nothing," Kevin says. "I want to do something with my life so in the future when I'm old, I can look back and say I fought the good fight."

Gifted and grounded, he's got game alright. And it goes well beyond golf.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com