“I’m above ground, so I enjoy life”

It’s a beautiful day at Westchester Golf Course. The birds are chirping, breeze is blowing, and the sun is shining through cotton candy clouds. The only thing brighter than the gleaming sun is Irwin Merein’s smile. Merein, an above knee amputee who will celebrate his 70th birthday next June, has worked hard on the driving range for the past two hours. Grinning ear to ear, he shares each time he attends an Angel City Sports Golf Clinic he can see his swing become more consistent. Today he drove a golf ball right into a target four times!

Merein is a man on the move. He worked as a postal worker for the City of Santa Monica for 38 years and has been a long distance runner his entire life. He has competed in countless races across the country and even participated in the Boston Marathon in 1978 and 1982 - running his fastest time at 2:43!

After losing his leg in 2014 due to hip surgery complications, Merein was frustrated. Retraining one’s body to do basic movements is a daunting task for anyone, especially for someone whose license plate reads run26miles. He felt limited and lost - unsure what was next for him if he couldn’t run. Fortunately, Merein was approached by Ezra Frech himself as they were both training on the same track. After Ezra shared his story and the opportunities Angel City could provide, Merein was instantly inspired. 

Now, Merein has a wonderful attitude. He is West Los Angeles College’s number one fan and can often be seen in the bleachers supporting every athletic squad - especially the Cross Country team. “I’m above ground, so I enjoy life” he beams as he watches the golf ball sail across the green.

Merein loves attending Angel City Sports Golf Clinics because it gives him a sense of encouragement. He enjoys having an opportunity to get out of the house and appreciate the fresh air. When he isn’t at Westchester Golf Course, he can be seen strolling the West LA track, gradually regaining his strength and confidence.

Merein enjoys traveling and attends the Olympic Trials every year with his friends. He is also a proud member of the Runners Reunited Club- a group of elite runners who meet annually to discuss the ‘good old times’ when everyone ran on dirt tracks. His strength improves daily, and he is excited to continue to improve his stability and independence. His ultimate goal is to be able to run again - hopefully before his 70th birthday!

Angel City is so proud of Irwin. We can’t wait to see him back at Westchester Golf Course on October 17th for our next Adaptive Golf Clinic!

Written By:
Camille Mahlknecht
Program Manager