The retired corporal's ascent in the golf world reached a new level this past weekend. Pfeifer was invited to play in the American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe, Calif. He was in a field of 80 professional athletes and entertainers competing for $600,000 in prize money in the charity tournament's 25th anniversary year.
"I'm no celebrity, that's for sure," said Pfeifer, who is a PGA club professional at Goodyear's Golf Club of Estrella, Ariz. "So to be included in that lineup and for me to be able to be around all those guys, guys I idolized growing up, it's pretty cool."
Pfeifer, 32, lost his left leg above the knee on April 12, 2007, when a roadside bomb exploded while Pfeifer was on patrol in Iraq. He also was inflicted with a heel fracture, minor traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"They had two courses there on the base, and it wasn't too far from the Intrepid Center where the guys with injuries stayed," Pfeifer said. "I would just go to the course and just hit balls, and they'd let us play for free in the afternoons when it slowed down."
"Playing the other sports growing up that I loved so much was frustrating with the prosthetic, getting used to it," Pfeifer said. "But golf got me outside, it got me walking around on different terrains, walking uphill, downhill, so it was great practice as far as getting used to the prosthetic."
The three-sport high school athlete played college baseball at a few smaller schools and enjoyed playing basketball before his injury, but he couldn't compete at the same level in those more-physical sports. Golf leveled the playing field.
"A one-legged guy can compete with a guy playing for 20 years that's maybe a scratcher or better than scratch golfer," said Pfeifer, who in 2011 won the National Amputee Golf Association Tournament at Rio Verde Country Club.