Kim Moore switched roles this week.
Moore is a PGA teaching professional and has been head coach of Western Michigan University's women's golf team since 2020. But this week she's teeing it up at Pinehurst No. 6 in the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open — the USGA's newest championship, which showcases the world's best golfers with disabilities.
After Round 1 of the 54-hole event, Moore finds herself leading by four strokes at 4 over. Though she still hopes to "improve" in the next two rounds, just playing this event is something she's dreamed of.
"(Being a part of this championship is) very exciting," Moore said after Round 1. "It's very humbling, and it's been a long time coming. But I'm just excited to be here, excited to be a part of it, and I can't wait to see how this grows. But I'm just super excited to be here and very humbled."
The 41-year-old from Portage, Michigan, was born without a right foot, a severely clubbed left foot and a mild case of spina bifida. But that didn't stop her from achieving a slew of success in golf for almost 30 years.
Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she played basketball, but in her freshman year of high school, she shifted her focus to competitive golf.
She attended the University of Indianapolis from 1999-2003 and starred on the women's golf team, ranking in the NCAA Division II top 10 as an individual and earning all-conference honors all four years.
The Kim Moore Spirit Award, which is given to one female golfer in each of three college divisions who exemplifies perseverance and high character, was created in her honor, and Moore received the first-ever award.
"Growing up through high school and in college, I just played all my events as able-bodied events and did pretty well in the able-bodied scene, then played professional golf on the Futures Tour,” Moore told the Kalamazoo Gazette last week. “I was the only one with a disability playing on that tour, so it wasn’t very prevalent at the time, but has definitely gotten more popular. As the game has become more visible across the country, it’s developed into different state tournaments and regional events and now national and world events."
Moore has continued to make a strong mark in golf — especially in the adaptive game. She was the Midwest trustee for the National Amputee Golf Association. And aside from being a standout coach, she's still an exceptional player. She's won multiple adaptive tournaments, including the U.S. National Amputee Golf Championships in October 2021 and this past May she led Team USA to a victory over Europe in the Cairns Cup — an adaptive Ryder Cup-style tournament.
Now on arguably the biggest stage adaptive golf has ever been on, Moore holds the second lowest handicap of the field's 18 women (1.4) and looks to bring home another win to the ones she usually tries to lead to victory.
"(My players at WMU are) just excited," Moore said. "They're sending me texts: 'Good luck, Coach.' I know they're watching. I know they're following along."
But to become the U.S. Adaptive Open's maiden champion, she'll still put on her coaching hat and follow her own advice.
"You can't win anything on the first day," she said, "so just staying patient and playing one hole at a time. I always tell my players that bogeys don't kill you, so I've got to remember that. Just trying to learn from your mistakes and learn for tomorrow and hopefully put together another solid round."