Dr. Bill Montgomery has been playing golf since his childhood in Detroit, but years of carrying rocks as a geologist have led to two back surgeries. He can still swing a club, but he experiences pain after walking more than 50 yards, so the addition of an adaptive golf cart at Montgomery’s favorite course has been a huge benefit.
“I’m really thrilled with it,” he said. “It’s made it possible for me to play golf again.”
The SoloRider was purchased as part of a USGA staff holiday fundraising campaign last year and donated to Coakley-Russo Memorial Golf Course in Lyons, N.J. Not only is the facility located just a few miles from the USGA’s Liberty Corner campus, but it is affiliated with a veterans’ affairs hospital. The hope is that former military members use the cart and have an opportunity to experience the healing power of golf.
“It’s been very well received,” said Steve Dendinger, a shift supervisor at the course. “Older guys with a heart condition or coming off an operation are getting out multiple times during the season thanks to the SoloRider. It’s rejuvenated their ability to play golf.”
Montgomery teaches environmental science at New Jersey City University on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he plays every Monday and Wednesday morning at Coakley-Russo.
“It adds another component to what we can offer at our course,” said Sean O’Grady, an assistant director with Bernards Township Parks and Recreation. “If they are coming and they have an ailment that limits them physically, they have that option here.”
The SoloRider is equipped with hand controls and a hydraulic swivel seat that lifts a player to a standing position for play.
“There are so many golfers in our community who have a lifelong love of the game and need our help to make golf more accessible for those with disabilities,” said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. “This one small effort shows the restorative and connecting power of golf and shines a light on the many ways we can make the game more welcoming to all who play it.”
At its 2017 Annual Meeting, the USGA announced plans for a national championship for players with disabilities. Those efforts continue to advance and information regarding format, timing and location are forthcoming.
The USGA also created the Modification of the Rules of Golf for Players with Disabilities, which allows disabled golfers to play equitably with those that are able-bodied.
You can help make golf more accessible to people with disabilities by giving a special contribution to the USGA. Your meaningful gift will drive golf forward by enhancing the on-course experience for all those who play the game, especially juniors, beginners and those with disabilities.
Jordan Schwartz is the creative and content lead for the USGA Foundation. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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