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Unwavering passion for golf

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  • Unwavering passion for golf

    Unwavering passion for golf
    Herald-Tribune staff

    On a scale of one to 10, Braden Hirsch would probably rate his passion for golf at a nine.

    But without the help of an adapted golf cart for people with physical disabilities, it's unlikely the Sherwood Park resident would have ever discovered that about himself.

    "I'm fairly fanatical ," smiles Hirsch, 43, who was left a paraplegic at the age of 19 in a motor vehicle accident near his hometown of Golden Prairie, Sask. "It's just another example of inclusion and integration, absolutely. It's something that's got to happen here, it's going to happen everywhere. Society's getting older, there are more people with walking disabilities and there's no reason why more people shouldn't be golfing."

    Saturday, Hirsch was on hand at the Dunes Golf and Winter Club in conjunction with the Ken Sargent Hole-In-One Auto Classic to offer tips and demonstrations on chipping, putting and driving using the adapted cart.

    The cart is for people with difficulty walking, for people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, arthritis or other disabilities. It looks similar to a power cart, but it only seats one. The chair swings out to the side to allow the person to golf from a seated position.

    Currently, the Wolverines Wheelchair Sports Association has one such cart available to the public at the Bear Creek golf course.

    Before Hirsch's accident, he was an avid sports fanatic, playing everything from hockey to baseball. Nothing, not even a spinal cord injury, could prevent him from still being active.

    "There's adjustment, you've just got to do things a little bit differently, and I think as long as communities are open and inclusive, it gets a lot easier," said Hirsch, who now acts as the northern Alberta manager of community rehabilitation for the Canadian Paraplegic Association.
    "Golf courses are going to have to make that transition as well. I think we've done it throughout the communities in all recreation facilities...I'm glad to say that me with my cart, everyone's been very accepting of it."

    A wheelchair basketball player for 15 years, Hirsch says his love for golf began when a friend told him about an adapted golf cart on a course in Edmonton three years ago.

    "The cart wasn't really being used by hardly anybody and there wasn't anybody available to help me use it," he recalled. "I just had to figure it out on my own."

    Using one hand for balance and the other to make a shot, Hirsch says he can hit the ball 160-170 yards off the tee and on 18 holes, he normally shoots a score of 100.

    He's hoping others will become as comfortable on the course as he is, but Hirsch admits it was quite intimidating at first.

    "You're going out and you usually attract a little bit of attention because you're the odd duck swinging out of the chair," he concluded. "It is a little scary and there's nobody really to follow, but fortunately it is starting to become a little more common and hopefully somebody up here will start golfing."

    The adapted cart at the Bear Creek course has been there for about a year, but Sheila Kohlman, program director for the Wolverines Wheelchair Sports Association says the response so far has been disappointing.

    "I'm not even sure that it has been used at all," she admitted, adding if there was more of a demand the Wolverines would love to put more of the carts on other area courses. "The knowledge just isn't out there, it's not commonly known that we have this cart and that it's for public use. We're just hoping to raise a little more awareness and get people out, having fun and seeing that it isn't so bad."



    Copyright 2001 Daily Herald-Tribune

  • #2
    I've heard of these accessible golf carts before, but have never seen any information for the manufacturer. Anybody know where these carts can be found?


    • #3
      check this out
      "Life is about how you
      respond to not only the
      challenges you're dealt but
      the challenges you seek...If
      you have no goals, no
      mountains to climb, your
      soul dies".~Liz Fordred


      • #4
        Golf carts

        The current (August 2001) edition of New Mobility has an extensive article about golf carts and lists pretty much all the manufacturers. Get ahold of a copy or check out the electronic version of this article at this URL:


        [This message was edited by SCI-Nurse on August 09, 2001 at 02:34 AM.]
        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.