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.