Disco Dave Fulfills a Dream
February 16, 2012
By Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff
NAPLES, Fla.—He’s already a champion in a league all his own.
On Wednesday afternoon at The ACE Group Classic, Dave Bierbrauer of Marco Island did what he’s been doing for almost four years, but the venue was totally different. He came out swinging. Only on this particular day, it was with a golf club in the tournament’s first pro-am round at The TwinEagles Club rather than sitting in a doctor’s office, undergoing another treatment for a rare form of cancer.
In 2008, the St. Louis native, known locally as “Disco,” was diagnosed with carcinoma of the cardiac gland, affecting his ability to produce saliva. Since then, he’s undergone 48 weeks of chemotherapy and 82 radiation treatments. He’s beaten cancer on eight different occasions but is currently battling the disease for a ninth time, this time in the form of Stage 4 lung cancer. However, he’s not doing it alone.
Through a groundswell of support from the membership at the Classics Club at Lely Resort, which was inspired by his strength and courage, Bierbrauer, an employee in outside services at the facility, was able to live out his dream and cross an item off his bucket list, playing in the pro-am with eight-time PGA TOUR winner Dan Forsman—who claimed the Champions Tour’s season-opener, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii, last month.
An accomplished player in his own right, Bierbrauer earned his nickname because of his background as a disc jockey, a trade he still dabbles in when not working his regular job at Lely. Bierbrauer also holds the course record at Lely’s Mustang Course, once shooting 63 on the Lee Trevino-designed layout.
“To just be here was a dream, and I was honored to play with Dan today. Everything just fell into place. It’s what I wanted to always do since I was diagnosed. I’m going to keep moving forward and do whatever it takes,” Bierbrauer said.
In order to make his dream a reality, the club’s membership not only raised the $3,500 fee that allowed him to play in this week’s pro-am but also an additional $17,500, setting up a fund to help him with his medical treatments. Initially, about 40 emails went to Classics members, but more than 150 members of the club eventually contributed. On Wednesday, members from Lely were on hand at TwinEagles, walking with Bierbrauer’s group to show their support.
“We’ve known about his condition for over three years now, and we’ve known Disco for a long time. He’s one of these people that once you meet him, you’ll decide there’s only a handful of people in your life that are like him,” Bob Brook, a member at Lely said.
“Dave is well-loved by all the golfers at the Classics,” Art Arduin, another member at the club said. “He had talked to me last year about playing in the ACE event but wasn’t able to get in. This year, a spot was available. We got a truly amazing response from our membership.”
In addition to playing with Forsman, Bierbrauer received a deluxe goodie bag, containing golf apparel and meals as well as VIP access to the tournament on the weekend. He also attended the event’s Tuesday night draw party at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Tiburon.
“Dave was an inspiration to all of us today. His attitude and spirits were high, and I’m honored to have spent the afternoon with him. He comes from a skilled golf background. He knows what it is to play at the highest level, and you could see that today. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I wish him nothing but the best in his fight with cancer,” Forsman said.
“You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you,” Morgan Freeman said when he portrayed Carter Chambers in the 2007 movie, “The Bucket List.”
Judging by the support he received Wednesday, “Disco” Dave Bierbrauer is destined to spin many more hits in his life.
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