Watch above: A means of transportation at a Saskatoon golf course is helping people with disabilities get back in the game. Aaron Streck introduces us to the SoloRider, a specialized golf cart for individuals with mobility challenges.
SASKATOON – Pete Andrews was shaking off the rust Thursday, his first time back on the golf course since being involved in a motorcycle collision 16 years ago.
“I wasn’t a great golfer but I always loved golf prior to my injury,” said Andrews.
Since suffering a spinal cord injury, Andrews has been active on the water competing in adaptive waterskiing but his days on the links he thought were behind him, until he found out about the SoloRider.
It’s similar to regular golf carts but the $13,500 piece of equipment has some extended features designed for people with disabilities.
The specially adapted golf car is equipped with a swivelling, elevated seat and is easy to handle with ergonomic controls for mobility-impaired players.
“This would definitely address the fatigue factor of pushing a chair over 18 holes, said Andrews. I never experienced actually using a cart that gets you into a different position to allow you to swing so that was new to me, to find out that that’s available, something I would take advantage of,” said Andrews.
“I know we’ve had some other people come out it’s easy for them to transfer into from their wheelchair, it will stand them right up and allow them to swing the club pretty freely as well as move through the whole course, so they can go into the sand bunkers and right onto the green without wrecking the green,” said Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association program coordinator Leanne Schellenberg.
Funding for the state of the art cart from Texas came from Sask Sport Inc., Saskatchewan Lotteries and ParaSport.
“The cart is well worth it, when you happen to see people get back into the game and when they make contact with it they’re out there having laughs with their friends, that smile is priceless,” Golf Saskatchewan executive director Brian Lee.
This is the only one of its kind golf cart in Saskatoon. Regina also has one and is expecting it’s second later this summer.
While he’s been through a number of obstacles since his injury, the SoloRider allows Andrews to have a smooth round on the course.
“I have two older boys who love to golf and just, this experience today I could see myself setting up a time to go with them,” said Andrews.
The SoloRider golf cart is located at the Silverwood Golf Course and is available for anyone with a mobility impairment to use.
This is the second season the cart has been in use in Saskatoon.