Golfing While Sitting
So Happy I Am Able to Golf This Way
It is quite preposterous, when you think about it.
First of all, I gotta tell ya, I am incredibly lucky. I live at a time after the STAD has already been invented, right now I have the only existing prototype and production model, thanks to my collaboration with Frank Casto. Right now public golf courses near within an hour of my house are plentiful and tee times are more or less affordable, as are driving ranges. This coincides with my having reached retirement age, and having a reliable roof over my head, food in the fridge, and both the time and at least some extra funds to allow me to pay for some golfing.
In this precise moment, to misquote my inimitable late father, I find myself in the unlikely role of being the First, the Only, and therefore the Best, Safety Air Golfer in the world.Quite possibly the Best Alternative Golfer in the World. ** I don't say this to brag, just assessing and asserting what seems to be the actual situation. Just 6 months after I ever set foot on an 18 hole course, I have placed in the top 100 on Global Top Tracer Leaderboards for many of the famous virtual golf courses and tee positions Pebble Beach, Kiawah Island, Harbour Town, Bro Hof and others.
All this at 67 years old, with a spinal condition that wouldn't let me swing a swing trainer, much less a golf club, without hurting myself.
It is quite preposterous, when you think about it.
I call myself "a golfer" because like those who use clubs, I have a device that lets me get a regulation golf ball from the tee to the hole quickly and accurately, and bring that device with me to find my ball and take the next shot, until I hole out with a putter. I have to introduce the way I play the long game of golf with other, traditional golfers who of course use golf clubs.
Practically speaking, I book a tee time, and often am paired with one or more other golfers. So far, they understand I will be able to keep up with them and not interfere with their enjoyment of their pastime.
I have informed other golfers that I am "partially disabled." so I have this device that lets me get the ball down the fairway, and then I chip and putt just as they do.
But that's not even a stretch of the truth. I am lucky, and grateful, to be able to walk. At least I can most days. Sometimes I can't even crawl out of bed.
45 years of suffering pain and working at getting back to a pain-free state, time and time again, I have bought and tried every conceivable gadget, therapy, physical training and discipline, medicine, furniture, support garment or device.
I can stand at a telescoping stand with a laptop, and work for a while that way, before something starts to hurt. I can still actually sit, sometimes for more than half an hour at a time without pain, in a special desk chair that forces me to sit correctly while working my core muscles to support my back. And if nothing else, I can recline for a good long time, and usually can work at my computer from a zero-gravity chair with wireless keyboard and mouse.
But being able to play while sitting in a golf cart, a chair, or a walker, or even a wheelchair, and play golf, besides carrying my equipment in a standard golf bag - NONE of this was possible when Frank and I started work on our device, which became the Safe-Tee-Air Driver.
And all because I wanted to share an enjoyable activity with my youngest and only living brother. At the root of it, I wanted to be able to physically play golf, when I had only been able to simulate playing it on my computer for over a decade.
A product of my mother's and father's teachings and ideals, I wanted both to do something good, and to play some part in my brother's life. In this life, my parents left me with a brother who cares about me and who watches my back.
It was Tony who turned me on to playing computer golf some 13 years ago, He sat with me and we alternated playing, and explained the basics of golf itself to me, as well as how to play in EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA game. For at least a decade, it has been part of my morning wake-up routine with a couple of cups of coffee. An enjoyable, challenging and pleasant way to get back to consciousnes to deal with the day.. All because Tony sat down at a computer with me and introduced it to me.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had my brother Tony in mind. As Frank and I corresponded and worked out the mechanical and performance challenges of modifying his multi-launcher invention to actually play golf, I had my brother in mind. As heroic and admirable as he is, overcoming his own bone-on- bone spinal condition, and as heroic as my late brother Steve was in dealing with his ALS diagnosis and continuing to remain independent for nearly 8 years after he was diagnosed (when he was expected to live only two years).
Tony has been incredibly strong too. So I wanted to pave the way for him to continue to enjoy his beloved golfing for the rest of his life, even if it were to become impractical to keep swinging a club. Even if I'm not around to promote, to champion and further this alternative golfing method, Tony will have at least a reliable method of getting the ball down the fairway, no matter what. My brother Steve left me a reliable car before he died, and I want to leave my brother Tony with a reliable way to continue to enjoy golfing. If I am gone tomorrow, he will be able to carry on.
** This misquote is attributed to my inimitable, magnificent late father, James E Alatis. It was how, as Dean, he used to introduce Georgetown University's then School of Languages and Linguistics. "The Only, and therefore the FIRST, the Only, and therefore the BEST, School of Languages and Linguistics in the World."