SCI Saskatchewan welcomes back fundraising tournament; first time golfer uses SoloRider
Karthik Babu Menon tries out golfing at SCI's fundraising tournament in August.
Many non-profit organizations use golf tournaments as fundraisers allowing groups to provide services and support to their clients they support in their fields and Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan Inc. (SCI) is no different.
SCI couldn’t host a tournament in 202 due to COVID-19 but on Aug. 7 the organization was able to host a tournament at Mark’s Nine Golf Course near Prince Albert. Executive Director Launel Scott said the day turned out fantastically.
“It was really good because obviously the golfers were anxious to do it,” Scott said. “We had more teams than we could accommodate actually at the end of it. We really lucked out again with a great day, the rain was looming, but it turned out great. It was a perfect day.”
The event raised approximately $25,000 that will go towards supporting SCI’s 1,100 clients province wide in areas such as rehabilitation, education and employment, awareness, and inclusion, as well as systems navigation. Scott added that the money raised will assist in the organization expanding services to not so accessible areas of the province.
“One of the priorities that we’ve had and it’s shown up in our strategic plan is to increase our engagement and connections to people who are Indigenous living with physical disabilities, particularly in the north. We are looking to commit new funds and the funds from the tournament to allow us to reach out more. We’ve been doing things virtually, but we also have the goal to set up a physical satellite office as well,” Scott explained.
One of the people that participated in the golf tournament was Karthik Babu Menon, SCI’s client service coordinator. Babu Menon had never golfed before due to living with his disability but that didn’t stop him thanks to one of three SoloRider golf carts Golf Saskatchewan stocks across the province.
“You know what, I thought when I was holding the club in my hands it was really satisfying. For a person who has never played golf in my entire life it was really satisfying,” he said.
SoloRider carts are made to travel anywhere on a golf course while allowing people living with disabilities to play. The SCI group used the cart that is housed at Saskatoon’s Wildwood Golf Course. Babu Menon said getting a chance to play the game was special.
“Within that one day I have created a niche in my mind that golfing is a good activity to get around, get to know people, and socialize. After being stuck at home for one and a half years getting onto the golf course and socializing was great fun,” he beamed.
Golf Saskatchewan has a new SoloRider at the North Battleford Golf and Country Club. One was also housed at the Royal Regina Golf Club but has since been returned to the provincial organization with plans in place as to where the cart can be utilized at a more southern course. For now, Babu Menon said he encourages others to give the cart and sport a try.
“When I talk to our clients, I always tell them if there is something you want to do to just to get away from boredom golfing is a good learning experience. I don’t have the particular words, it’s just a great overall learning experience when you play for the first time,” he added.
SCI is now planning for their third annual tournament in 2022.
Golf Saskatchewan delivers third SoloRider
North Battleford’s Ron Inkster cannot wait to get back on the golf course. Thanks to SaskSport’s ‘Adaptive Sport Grants‘ and Golf Saskatchewan Inkster can utilize a new SoloRider cart that will be housed at the North Battleford Golf and Country Club (NBGCC).
Inkster was on hand on Wednesday at the club when Golf Saskatchewan delivered their third cart of the provincial fleet. He was an avid golfer at the NBGCC before Multiple sclerosis began to limit his mobility six years ago. However, with the SoloRider at his home course Inkster was able to swing again.
“It’s very good, it seems very good to drive,” he said after testing the one-person cart out. “Hitting will take a little bit of practice but at this point in time that’s what I will do is practice.”
Inkster admits he was never a competitive player but enjoyed playing the game on a social level. His wife Zelda was on hand for the delivery and stated it will be great for Ron to get “back with the boys.” Inkster could not hide his excitement for a return to the links as well.
“I have been more a social golfer, and this will be helpful for me to go out with people once in a while, hit the ball, and hopefully not lose too much money,” Inkster joked.
Golf Saskatchewan has a SoloRider at the Silverwood Golf Course in Saskatoon, and the other is available for use at the Royal Regina Golf Club. NBGCC head professional Dana Johnson said he’s excited for Inkster and others to have the option of the cart at his club.
“It makes me so happy for a gentleman like Ron who missed the game of golf for so many years unfortunately and now he’s able to take part again, I am so proud to see him out and I’m so happy for him. You can see the gleam in his eye, he has that golf bug back, it’s great,” Johnson said.
Brian Lee is the executive director of Golf Saskatchewan. He seconded the notion of Inkster’s excitement after the test run of the SoloRider.
“It’s basically a rejoining of some resemblance of normal for a number of folks that may have thought golf was over or time with their friends and family were gone, now this gives them an opportunity to come back. It may not be exactly the way they used to play but they get to be part of the game. Hopefully this will be used at the NBGCC for years and decades to come,” he said.
Randall Kaeys with Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan Inc. He added how important initiatives such as the SoloRider placement is too people with injuries.
“Adaptive technologies – like the SoloRider – allow persons with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to stay active within the community, and to continue with activities that may have been enjoyed pre-injury. These adaptive technologies also allow individuals with SCI and other physical disabilities to enjoy new experiences and participate in inclusive activities,” he said.
The SoloRider is available for other clubs in the region to utilize, the same for the carts in Saskatoon and Regina. Anyone interested in more details or availability of the SoloRiders can call Golf Saskatchewan at 306.975.0850.
Transgender & Non-binary Individuals
Golf Saskatchewan will continue to add to and develop this area of our programming in 2023.
We want everyone to know, golf is a safe, welcoming, and fun environment for all.
The eligibility language for the 2023 Golf Saskatchewan competitions now includes transgender and non-binary individuals are welcome and encouraged to compete.
In April of 2021, Golf Saskatchewan passed a new set of bylaws with gender neutral language.
Tony Cote Summer Games
The Tony Cote Games were first instituted in 1974 as the Saskatchewan First Nation Winter/Summer Games under the guidance of Chief Tony Cote.
The Games were instilled as a way to include First Nation athletes under the age of 20 into mainstream sports. The 2021 Games were hosted by the James Smith Cree Nation in 2023 after two years of postponements due to COVID-19.
Dakota Dunes Golf Links on the Whitecap First Nation hosted the golf event, for complete details and results click here.
More details on the Tony Cote Games can be found here.
The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council is the International Governing Body for the NAIG exercising exclusive jurisdiction, either directly or through its affiliate members or committees, over all matters pertaining to the Games. It ensures the purposes and philosophies are reflected in all aspects of the games.
The NAIG Council is the principle authority for policy development, rules and regulations for the North American Indigenous Games.
The NAIG Council works in a manner which is consistent with the cultural, spiritual and traditional values of the peoples it is representing. In their activities they promote and encourage holistic individual development that assures mental, physical, emotional and spiritual growth.
For more information on the NAIG Saskatchewan team click here.
Please go to www.naig2023.com and follow NAIG Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts @naig2023 for updates.
About NAIG 2023: The event will be the largest multi-sport and cultural event ever to be held in Atlantic Canada. More than 5,000 athletes, coaches and team staff from 756 Indigenous nations will take part in cultural celebrations, and compete in 16 sports across 21 venues, with the help of 3,000 volunteers. NAIG 2020 was originally due to take place from July 12 to 18, 2020 in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), and Millbrook First Nation, Nova Scotia and has now been set to take place July 15 to 23, 2023.
About North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council: The NAIG Council is the International Governing Body for NAIG and helps actualize the collective potential of the bodies, minds, and spirit of our people and their hopes and dreams. The Council oversees all matters pertaining to the Games, including the inclusion of purposes and philosophies during the event that are consistent with the cultural, spiritual and traditional values of the peoples represented in the games. In all activities, the Council ensures the promotion and encouragement of holistic, individual development that assures mental, physical, emotional and spiritual growth.
Golf Saskatchewan owns three SoloRider adaptive golf carts. The cart is used for amputees or people with mobility issues, spinal cord injuries or impacted by aging.
The SoloRiders are housed at the Silverwood Golf Course in Saskatoon and the North Battleford Golf and Country Club. Transporting the carts for special events is possible with permission from Golf Saskatchewan.
Investments such as the SoloRider elevate life experiences for persons with SCI and other physical disabilities to achieve independence, self-reliance and full community participation.
Adaptive technologies – like the SoloRider – allow persons with SCI and other physical disabilities to stay active within the community, and to continue with activities that may have been enjoyed pre-injury. These adaptive technologies also allow individuals with SCI and other physical disabilities to enjoy new experiences and participate in inclusive activities.
To quote four of our clients regarding different adaptive technologies that allow them to continue to participate in sport and recreation:
“I have been more a social golfer, and this will be helpful for me to go out with people once in a while, hit the ball, and hopefully not lose too much money.” – North Battleford’s Ron Inkster
“It’s a way to be active, doing something I really love with friends and family.” – SCI Sask Client DB
“It’s given me something to wake up and strive for every day.” – SCI Sask Client BL
“I find it easier to hit with one hand compared to two.” – SCI Sask Client KF
Without adaptive technologies, many individuals with SCI and other physical disabilities would not have the opportunities to continue being involved in activities they love.
*SCI – spinal cord injury
Special Olympics Saskatchewan has been working with children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability for over fifty years. Special Olympics offers year-round sports programming for over 1,200 athletes in 16 communities across Saskatchewan.
Their Mission: Special Olympics Saskatchewan is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through sport.
Their Vision: Our vision is that sport will open hearts and minds towards people with intellectual disabilities and create inclusive communities all over the world.
Each year the Nipawin chapter of the organization hosts golf lessons and a year end celebration at the Evergreen Golf Course. You can read more about the events below.
That’s the motto of Blind Golf Canada, the governing body for the sport in the nation. Blind Golf Canada’s mission is to develop and promote competitive golf and sportsmanship for blind and visually impaired golfers.
The International Blind Golf Association has 14 member countries with tournaments hosted across the globe. Canada hosts the Canadian Open Blind Golf Championship twice a year. Canada has also hosted the World Championship on two occasions, Winnipeg, Man. in 2002 and Truro, N.S. in 2012.
Saskatoon’s Gerry Nelson is one of the most accomplished blind golfers in the world. He is president of the national organization and sits on the international board.
To visit the Blind Golf Canada Website click here.
Saskatchewan also has a website devoted to blind sports, to visit their website click here.
Dissolution of the Canadian Deaf Golf Association can be read here.
Golf Saskatchewan aims to promote and encourage a love for golf and being active for all individuals. We hope to enrich people’s lives through empowering an understanding of how to lead healthy, happy lifestyles, both physically and mentally using our great game.