Mussato golf course to hold demonstration of SoloRider

July 26, 2007

MACOMB - Dany Baker had been an avid golfer since the age of 15, but in 1993 his life changed when an automobile accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. After several months of rehabilitation, Baker was determined to hit the links again.

After seeing a television show that demonstrated a modified golf cart, and with the help of a friend, Baker designed a swivel seat to place on his golf cart, and with a little practice, he was back in the game. Baker has since become a spokesperson and consultant for accessible golf carts, including the SoloRider, which he will demonstrate at Western Illinois University's Harry Mussatto Golf Course at 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2.

Baker's demonstration is open free to the public. According to Roger Pretekin, founder and president of SoloRider, accessible carts are similar in price to a traditional golf cart and have been designed in a way that it will not damage greens or slow play.

"Access for individuals with disabilities is important in recreation activities as a part of the complete education experience," said Cathy Couza, director of Western's Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. "We are excited to provide this demonstration of the SoloRider to the community."

Baker has participated in numerous charity golf events throughout the years and is a counselor at the Sports Camp sponsored by the St. Louis Society. He is also a member of the golf advisory committee for the St. Louis Wheelchair Athletic Association and is a board member on the National Alliance for Accessible Golf. Baker travels throughout the United States to demonstrate accessible carts and how courses can make golf accessible to persons with disabilities. He currently is the commissioner of parks in Coffeen (IL), spending most of his summer giving individual and group golf lessons to children and adults.

"Golf is a lifelong sport; however, many people find themselves unable to continue play due to illness, aging or disabling conditions," added Rachel Smith, a member of Western's ADA Committee, who is also a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. "Adaptive equipment, such as swivel seat carts, make it possible for seniors and those with mobility impairments to continue in the sport they love."