Kevin Hall: The First Deaf Golfer on the PGA Tour

first deaf golfer pga kevin hall
Robert Traynor
March 27, 2023

Most amateur golfers in the U.S. view the sport as recreation and exercise. But a select few possess the diligence and talent to thrive professionally on the PGA Tour. Kevin Hall exemplifies one of golf’s most overlooked yet inspirational stories in relentlessly chasing that dream.

More than just a gifted athlete, he serves as a barrier-breaking role model for perseverance.

Born in 1982 to Percy and Jackie Hall, Kevin grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio as a typical curious toddler. But at two-and-a-half years old, he contracted a devastating bout of H. influenzae bacteria that often leads to fatal meningitis. Miraculously, Kevin pulled through after receiving gentamicin, a potent antibiotic that unfortunately causes permanent hearing damage in around 11% of patients. He lost all hearing from the illness but otherwise suffered no lasting health effects.

In an interview, Kevin said, “Somehow through the grace of God I survived and the only thing I lost was my hearing. I was fortunate otherwise to be a normal child, but I had gained a new course in life.” Like many deaf kids, Kevin found success through exceptional parental support. His mother and father advocated for his enrollment at St. Rita School for the Deaf in Cincinnati alongside mainstream programs. Their tireless commitment to his holistic growth and confidence laid the foundation for accomplishments to come.

Passion for Golf

Around age nine, Kevin discovered his passion for golf after a family friend introduced him to the sport. He remembers the sensation of pure contact in his inaugural swing, watching the ball sail through the air. Kevin devoted himself to daily practice and absorbed volumes on golf technique, gaining skill rapidly. By high school, he earned the distinction of Cincinnati’s best player, securing a Ohio State college scholarship. His talent culminated in a record-setting 11 stroke victory at the 2004 Big Ten Championship.

Since graduating in 2005 with a journalism degree, the glass ceiling-shattering athlete has spent 14 years working towards PGA membership. Hall has enjoyed some starts on the main tour but mostly competed on provincial circuits where pros carry their own clubs and dodge recreational players. Golf’s attrition rate buries many promising careers. However, Kevin’s story resonates differently through its relating of personal barriers overcome on the journey.

Kevin acknowledges, “People will always see me as deaf and black; I don’t think people will see me as just another golfer. That’s my story.” For the first time ever, Kevin holds real stature on the 2018 Tour now. Reaching the upper PGA echelon no longer feels like a distant aspiration. He will soon get his shot thanks to immense perseverance.

Beyond his profound determination, Kevin also hopes to expand diversity within golf through his pioneering example. And there may be no better person to lead that charge. As a former Big Ten champion – also the first Deaf African-American player for Ohio State’s program – Kevin’s place in history already feels assured regardless of further accolades. But with Tour access, he now prepares diligently for the brightest spotlight yet to come.



  • Beall, J. (2018).Kevin Hall, the tour’s first deaf golfer, is not giving up on his chase.  Golf World.  Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  • Centers for Disease Control (2018). Haemophilus influenza. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  • Hall, Kevin (2018). Kevin Hall:  Golf Professional.  Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  • World Health Organization (2018).  Bacterial meningitis.  Retrieved March 27, 2018.


About the author

Robert M. Traynor, Ed.D., is a hearing industry consultant, trainer, professor, conference speaker, practice manager and author.  He has decades of experience teaching courses and training clinicians within the field of audiology with specific emphasis in hearing and tinnitus rehabilitation. He serves as Adjunct Faculty in Audiology at the University of Florida, University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado and The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.


**this piece has been updated for clarity. It originally published on March 27, 2018

  1. Hello Kevin Hall, Amazing for deaf golfer. Congratulations!! Iam deaf too. It will be so nice to have you
    there as our special guest. Im Vice President of Arlete Rocha Foundation for the deaf (President) on
    Feb. 23/19.
    Please let me know if you are interesting to come to meet deaf, HoH of and hearing people. Of course
    interpreter too.
    Regards Jane Laidlaw

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