It’s taken years for Gerry Nelson to achieve what he calls “a good, sound, fundamental golf swing.”

“Literally thousands of practice putts, thousands of golf swings,” said the 54-year-old.

But Nelson, who’s legally blind, is not alone in his quest for the perfect swing. His best friend Chris Villeneuve has doubled as his coach for the last 20 years, making sure Nelson is pointing in the right direction.

“I have to be perfect to give him a chance, and he has to be pretty darn good to make it look good,” said Villeneuve. “And if one of us is a little off, well you know where that golf ball’s going.”

Nelson, who’s preparing for his third appearance at the World Blind Golf Championship, lost his eyesight when he was just 25 years old due to complications with diabetes. The sport helped him regain a sense of normalcy in his life.

“Until I started playing golf, I was just trying to figure out where I was going in life, what I was going to do,” he said. “And when I went out and hit that first bucket on the range, I realized that if I can hit balls on the driving range, I can do anything, and it really motivated me to get up and get going.”

Nelson also helped to form Blind Golf Canada, and is currently in his second term as president.

"It really has pulled a lot of people out of their shell. Instead of people sitting at home on the couch, thinking they can't do anything. You know, we want to beat each other's socks off, but at the end of the day, we're (joking around) about the 200-yard drive we said went 350. A form of peer support unlike any other, I would say."

Despite the fact that he can no longer watch his ball sail off the tee, for Nelson golf is still, well, golf. The same things he enjoyed about the sport when he had his vision are what keep him coming back now.

“Every golfer can relate to this: you hit that one shot that is just right on the screws. It feels so good, and you think, ‘OK, yeah, I want to feel that again,’” he said.

And the sound of the ball rattling into the cup to signify a hole well-played is still just as sweet.

“That sound is the same. That’s never changed,” he said with a smile.

Nelson and Villeneuve, who are fundraising to help cover their travel costs, will head to the world championships in the fall.