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One-armed golfer in New Jersey sets an example of perseverance for his sons

One-armed golfer inspiring his sons in New Jersey
One-armed golfer inspiring his sons in New Jersey 02:44

RIVERDALE, N.J. - A New Jersey father who lost his right arm as a teenager is setting an example of perseverance to those who matter most: His two sons. 

With the support of a golfing organization, Jimmy Nolan proves he's still a competitor. 

CBS New York's Otis Livingston first met Nolan as a a junior at Pompton Lakes High School in the year 2000. Nolan had his right arm amputated because of cancer the previous summer, but Nolan - a natural righty - didn't let having just one arm stop him from learning how to play tennis and become one of the top players in the state. 

Now in 2024, Nolan is 40 and works as a police dispatcher in Riverdale, New Jersey. He still satisfies his competitive juices with another sport: Golf

"I like a challenge"

"It takes time, and that's what I like. I like a challenge. I like trying to see what I can do, and try to prove other people wrong," Nolan said. 

Since 2020, Nolan has been one of the 300+ members of the North American One-Armed Golfer Association, whose mission is to promote the game of golf to those that have an upper extremity disability due to a physically-challenged condition for the purpose of competition, recreation, and physical and emotional rehabilitation.


"Everyone has their own kind of therapy, and this is mine. And just meeting this group, and seeing how everyone's different. Some people had accidents. We have cerebral palsy, we have amputees, we have accidents. It's beautiful and inspiring to just listen and just see what other people do, watch a different perspective of life," Nolan said. 

By overcoming obstacles time and again, Nolan hopes to be an inspiration to his two young sons, 2 and 4. 

"My oldest, he started noticing like a year and half ago that I had one arm. And I just keep on saying 'I'm OK, right? I can still do things.' But now that he's getting older, he's impressed with some things," Nolan said. 

"Well I'm sure at some point they'll get to the point where it's like, 'I can do anything. My dad does,'" Livingston said. 

"Yes. Absolutely. That's hopefully what they'll get from it," Nolan said. 

Nolan says it's very competitive. There are some guys that hit it over 300 yards. But, in the end, it's about camaraderie, getting together, and sharing common experiences - and to just have fun. 

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