Unique cart gets all golfers on the green
Wayne Creighton, Niagara This Week, Sept 20, 2006
Frank Peter putts from his SoloRider
on the 11th green at Grand Niagara.
The SoloRider enables physically
disabled golfers such as Peter to play
a complete round of golf, enabling
them to go on the green and into
sand traps. Watching Peter putt is
Grand Niagara general manager and
executive professional Shayne Dysart.
NIAGARA FALLS -- Until recently, Frank Peter might as well have left his putter at home when he headed for the golf course.
Paralyzed from the chest down following a car accident in 1985, the 39-year-old was able to tee off, hit his approach shot from the fairway and even chip when he missed the green. But draining a 20-footer for birdie was out of the question -- courses frown on wheelchairs on the putting surface.
However, recently Peter has been able to take his putter out of hibernation and he credits it to the discovery of the SoloRider single-rider golf car.
The unique car gives players with mobility-impairment the opportunity to experience full access of the golf course thanks to turf-friendly tires and a 350-degree swivel seat which elevates. The cars can go in to sand traps and even on the greens.
Peter purchased his own SoloRider, they sell for about $8,600 American, and is encouraging courses throughout Niagara to add one or two to their fleet of golf carts to allow not only the mobility-impaired to enjoy a complete round of golf but also seniors who may be forced to give up the game because of mobility issues.
"I took up the game about a year and a half ago and played from my wheel chair," said Peter, a 10-year member of Canada's national wheelchair tennis team. "I would play once or twice a year and it was fun, but I couldn't get to all the holes if they were on a steep hill or it was elevated tee and, of course, I couldn't go on the green with my wheelchair.
"Since I discovered this car, it's been fantastic. I can golf with my kids, and my wife has shown an interest in the game. Now we can go away on golf vacations like we used to do with tennis."
Peter says by adding one or two SoloRiders to their fleet, courses can benefit not only mobility-impaired golfers, but also their own corporate image.
"There is no reason that instead of getting 100 two-person golf carts, they can't get 98 and two SoloRiders," said Peter.
Peter said the United States recently passed a law last year that every public access golf course has to provide single-rider golf cars. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, passed in 2005, requires equal access for everyone at social, recreation and educational facilities and Peter says that could be interpreted to include single-rider golf cars.
Grand Niagara general manager and executive professional Shayne Dysart said his course is considering adding at least one SoloRider next year.
"Whether you have one or two or three of the vehicles it sends a clear message to the marketplace that you're interested in supporting anyone who wants to play the game of golf, at whatever level," said Dysart. "Anything you can do to promote the sport and increase participation is important."Dysart said that as the population ages, the need for the SoloRider will increase.
"This is going to be a significant product in the next five to 10 years with the (baby) boomers," said Dysart.
"Golf course operators who don't buy this are going to be doing disservice to their customer and a disservice to the game."
For more information contact Peter at 905-933-4951 or check out www.solorider.com.