An innovative device which allows disabled golfers to enjoy golf in comfort and in an upright position is set to be introduced to golf courses around Scotland.
Players suffering from conditions such as arthritis or even paralysis will be able to use the Paragolf mobility vehicle, which elevates seated players to a standing position in seconds.
As well as allowing players to take their shots while standing, the Paragolf device can also be used to transport the player and their clubs between each hole on the golf course.
The Paragolfer was invented by South African professional golfer Anthony Netto. After being shot in the hip in Iraq during military service in 1991, Anthony was injured again in December 1994 in a car accident.
As a paraplegic, there were few options available to him in order to continue playing golf. He, along with Otto Bock in Germany, collaborated to make the Paragolfer and he founded the Stand Up and Play Foundation in 2010.
Now the gadget is set to be rolled out to courses across Scotland.
Currently there are only two of the devices in the country but Scottish charity Social Care Ideas Factory will launch ‘Paragolf Scotland’ tomorrow at Mearns Castle Golf Academy in Lanarkshire.
Speaking about the launch, Charlie Barker-Gavigan, CEO of the Social Care Ideas Factory, said: “Our work is focused on supporting people to lead better lives and the launch of the Paragolf Scotland initiative is a major step forward in supporting sports inclusion.
“Paragolf has the potential to give Scottish golf a new lease of life, increasing national membership and participation. “We want to spread the word about these machines to disabled people across Scotland who do not know or believe they can learn or continue to play golf.”
The charity owns the only two publicly-accesible Paragolf vehicles in Scotland, which are free to use at any time on the Mearns Castle driving range or 9-hole golf course.
Memberships to the club have already been boosted by the revolutionary new device, with wheelchair-bound 35 year-old Ryan MacDonald using the device.
Ryan said: “I never thought I’d be able to play golf with my friends and family again. Finding the Paragolf was like a dream come true. I now play regularly and have even been out on the course with my son for the first time!”
Users move the mobility vehicle via a joystick on its dashboard. The Paragolf has three wheels to improve mobility, with its developers suggesting that it could also be used for other standing sports such as archery or fly-fishing.
Head of Stirling University Innovation Park, Lynn Blaikie said: “Golf is a vital part of the Scottish economy and plays a key role in how Scotland is viewed around the globe.
“The launch of the Paragolf therefore represents a major development for Scotland’s national sport.”