This Kabuki Syndrome Patient is Making Waves in Golf

According to a story from the Rancho Santa Fe Review, 26-year-old Tyler Schutz began taking the sport of golf by storm last year. The young man made the Double Eagle Club’s list of elite, non-professional golfers who successfully shot a double eagle in 2022. A double eagle is achieved when the golfer scores three strokes under par on a single hole. Tyler was able to achieve this feat twice last year, and even scored a hole-in-one on the par-3, 161-yard eighth hole at Torrey Pines South Golf Course. What makes these achievements in golf even more impressive is that Tyler lives with a rare disease: Kabuki syndrome.

About Kabuki Syndrome

Kabuki syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that can have varied impacts throughout the body and causes distinctive facial features. The name is derived from a perceived resemblance of these facial features to the makeup used in kabuki, a traditional Japanese style of theater. This syndrome is typically not inherited and appears as a random mutation. While the causal mutation cannot be determined in all cases, mutations of the KDM6A and KMT2D genes have been linked to Kabuki syndrome. Symptoms include distinct facial features (long eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyelids, downturned mouth, flattened nose tip, and prominent ears), infections, small sized head, mild to moderate intellectual disability, developmental delays, issues with feeding, poor muscle tone, problems with hearing and vision, skeletal abnormalities, heart defects, and short height. Treatment is focused on managing symptoms and complications as they appear; Kabuki syndrome itself does not shorten lifespan. To learn more about Kabuki syndrome, click here.

Tyler’s Story

Tyler’s Kabuki syndrome has left him completely blind in one eye, and he has a ‘dead spot’ in the other. His father Tom says that Tyler is also deaf in one ear. He’s had to undergo 18 surgeries throughout his life. His surgeon didn’t clear him for golf until last January; only a month later, he scored his first double eagle. These impairments make the young man’s achievements all the more remarkable.

Though he has never received any formal instruction until very recently, Tyler has been playing golf from a young age and began playing regularly five years ago. He also plays soccer, bowling, and ice hockey. His father attributes at least some of his success in golf to his years of hockey.

“We never tell Tyler he can’t do anything, and he doesn’t tell himself he can’t do anything either.” – Tom, Tyler’s father

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email