Golf helps 12-year-old child with autism in unexpected ways
After trying to pick up multiple different sports, 12-year-old Topher Cox found one that stuck.
"Every time I come out here, I meet new friends," said Topher. "It makes me feel really awesome."
"He was diagnosed with autism when I want to say he was three, so he's a lot of fun, but he has his challenges," said Topher's mom, Stephanie Cox.
She said golf helps him in ways they never expected.
"It's teaching him how to read and understand some of those emotions that are really hard for kiddos with autism," said Stephanie.
When Topher first started playing, he said golf made him nervous.
"It felt like I had butterflies," said Topher.
His coach, Wendi Wiese, is the former Texas A&M University's Women's Golf coach. Since moving on from college golf, she has begun coaching children in the Operation 36 program at Pebble Creek Country Club.
In 2019, Wiese became one Top 50 Operation 36 PGA Coaches in the nation.
Wiese said she's been learning just as much about Topher as he is learning about golf.
"He's been working really hard, and he found that he really enjoys golf," said Wiese. "I love watching him."
Topher said he's made a hole in one, but he credits his success at golf to his coach, new friends, and family.
"We're all in this together," said Topher. "My parents and Coach Wendi just keep cheering me on."
His message to other kids is simple.
"Just keep going and going, and never give up," Topher said.