John Marshall Golfer Cody Grall Knows No Limits
Monarch Doesn’t Let Hearing Loss Slow Him Down
WHEELING– Most golfers appreciate the stillness and tranquillity of the golf course.
John Marshall senior Cody Grall is no different.
Every day he hits the links with his teammates but does not hear the rumble of the golf carts whistling past or the chattering of fans in the distance. Instead, he remains calm — focused on his next shot.
Grall suffers from severe hearing loss but doesn’t let that interfere with his game. Despite the everyday challenge, he continues on with passion, courage and a will to play the sport that he loves.
“It’s quiet,” Grall said. “Sometimes I hear ambient noises on the course but I’m pretty focused as long as nobody is walking down the fairway.”
Standing by his side every step of the way has been his trusty speech interpreter, Cathy Irish, who has been working with Grall since he was 3 years old.
Irish is a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing in Marshall County and has made communication on the golf course easier for Grall through sign language, but the one thing Irish admires most about Grall is his determination.
“I’ve been working a very long time with Cody,” Irish said. “He just keeps trying. He said he wanted to golf the first year and the next year he said it again and now here we are.”
Although, she admits she didn’t know much about golf before Grall started playing, she has enjoyed the journey one shot at a time.
“I knew nothing about golf so it’s been a big learning experience for me but it’s nice getting out and meeting the kids,” Irish said. “There are some really great kids and players out there. It’s just nice to see how accepting everyone is.”
Grall’s teammates have provided plenty of support throughout Grall’s three-year golfing career, an integral part of his commitment to join the team as a sophomore.
“I wanted to have fun and make some new friends,” Grall said.
“My coaches, (Cathy Irish) and my teammates have all supported me.
“When I first started it was difficult but it’s gotten easier through practice.”
John Marshall coach Dave Gaudino has witnessed the hard work Grall has put in during the offseason and in practice but as impressive as his work ethic is, it was his performance in his final match last year that really showed his potential.
“He shot a 43 on the front nine at the Steubenville Country Club last year,” Gaudino said. “That was kind of his breakthrough round.
“On the Par-4 fourth hole, he almost drove the green. That really got my attention and I thought ‘whoa! This guy can really play.'”
From that point on, Grall continued to get better and better and with the help of Danny Ackerman, the golf pro at Oglebay Park, he has added even more power to his drives.
“We were up at the driving range at Oglebay and I said ‘Dan, we need to tweak a little bit in his swing,'” Gaudino said. “He worked with Cody for a couple of minutes and probably gave him another 20-25 yards with this tip. As if he didn’t hit them far enough already because there is no doubt his driver is his best club.
“He’s probably typically 250-270 yards now on his drives. It really made a difference in his game and another progression in his development.”
Not only has he improved as a player but he has made strides in being a mentor, as well.
“Cody has been a great leader as a senior,” Gaudino said. “He has worked with our younger players to give them ideas and information on becoming better players, themselves. He’s been a role model for them and our program and I can’t give him enough credit for how he’s done that.
“He’s been at every practice at the driving range and if he’s not hitting, he is helping someone else who is hitting. That’s just awesome.”
Before he began golfing in high school, Grall was a multi-sport athlete growing up. Now he has found his niche and doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon.
“I’ve played different sports,” Grall said. “I played flag football when I was little. I played baseball and I do archery, too.
“I’ll just continue to play golf.”
Gaudino added: “He just started when he was a sophomore. We were always told he was a great athlete and we finally got it to where he could play a sport in high school and he’ll probably play golf for the rest of his life.”