Golfing great Bobby Jones’ legend is echoed in the first-ever golf car making the game of golf more widely accessible to children with disabilities
May 18, 2015, Atlanta, Ga – The Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation (CSF) unveiled a prototype today for the first golf car ever designed for children with disabilities. Thanks to the ingenuity of a team of Georgia Tech’s brightest undergraduate scholars, together with CSF, E-Z-GO, and Jones Global Sports, children with paralysis have first time access to the beloved game of golf. Georgia Tech was specifically chosen to develop the prototype as it is the noted alma mater of the legendary golfer Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, Jr. who achieved a Mechanical Engineering degree from the university. Also fittingly, the car bore the Bobby Jones signature logo in honor of the legendary golfer and was unveiled and demonstrated at Bobby Jones’ home course, East Lake Golf Club, in Atlanta today during the official Bobby Jones Golf Classic for CSF (bobbyjonesclassic.com).
According to a study sanctioned by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, 1 in 50 people are currently living with paralysis and are unable to lead active lifestyles. With the development of this handicap car technology, children with paralysis can now easily maneuver themselves around a golf course in comfortable, upright positioned seats while having plenty of room to swing a club. This groundbreaking development will have widespread implications for other sports and lead to future improvements in accessible adult golf cars, as well. Already, the prototype has won two awards for multi-disciplinary innovation at Georgia Tech.
Bobby Jones suffered from syringomyelia, a spinal disorder that had a profound effect on his golf career towards the end of his life, leaving him bound to a wheel chair. Despite his condition, Mr. Jones was often seen on golf courses, including Peachtree Golf Club and Augusta National, riding in standard cars that posed maneuvering challenges and provided him no physical access to play his beloved game. In honor of his legacy, such limitations have now been removed for generations moving forward by the newly designed and technologically advanced car.
The kid-friendly and enticing motorized vehicle, complete with racing stripes, was developed from a golf car donated by E-Z-GO. “We are excited to have aided in the advancement of active lifestyles for children with disabilities,” said Mike Parkhurst, Vice President, Golf, for E-Z-GO. “We are always looking for ways to impact the playing field, and the access this car provides is life-changing for these kids.”
The newly-imagined, lighter and more cost-effective device features a custom 4″ adjustable swivel seat with 45° forward actuation, an 85° outward rotation. With a max speed of 19.5mph, an overall weight capacity of 250lbs, and novel hand controls that allow the user to adjust the acceleration of the car, the device provides children with differing levels of paralysis with a strong sense of independence and fun!
Bobby Jones had a deep love for children and was strongly committed to advancing the game of golf. Consistent with these principles, this innovative motorized vehicle represents the best of show on the golf course. One of Jones’ most famous quotes is, “a man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a boy,” which is echoed in this car’s development.
“The students who developed this concept interviewed subject matter experts and disabled children to ensure safety, comfort, and ergonomics,” said Dorothy Poppe, Executive Director of CSF. “As the parent of a young adult with Chiari & syringomyelia, this is a breakthrough for kids suffering with mobility issues. Its applications are vast and makes sports, particularly the game of golf, a once seemingly impossible physical activity, possible.”
The Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded in 2007 and was built on leadership, vision and commitment to find a cure for Chiari malformation (CM), syringomyelia (SM) and related disorders. Many recognized world-class physicians and scientists agreed to collaborate on our superior Scientific Education & Advisory Board. The dedicated members of our Board of Directors and Trustees have been advocates in the community for years. CSF raises funds for education and awareness programs, as well as critical scientific and biomedical research. For more info, visit csfinfo.org.
About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is one of the nation’s leading research universities, providing a focused, technologically based education to more than 21,500 undergraduate and graduate students. Georgia Tech has many nationally recognized programs, all top-ranked by peers and publications alike, and is ranked in the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News and World Report. It offers degrees through the Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Sciences, the Scheller College of Business, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech has more than 100 centers focused on interdisciplinary research that consistently contribute vital research and innovation to American government, industry, and business. For more information, visit gatech.edu.
E-Z-GO is a leading global manufacturer of golf cars, utility and personal transportation vehicles. Products sold under the E-Z-GO brand include RXV® and TXT® fleet golf cars, Freedom® RXV and Freedom TXT personal golf cars, E-Z-GO TerrainTM and Express® personal utility vehicles, and the 2Five® street-legal low-speed vehicle. Founded in 1954 in Augusta, Ga., E-Z-GO became part of Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) in 1960.
About Jones Global Sports
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Jones Global Sports, a division of Waitt Brands, manufactures, markets and distributes elegantly styled men’s and women’s sportswear, accessories and performance golf equipment. Like its namesake, Bobby Jones products evoke a spirit of excellence, using only premium quality materials to create classic, timeless designs that inspire confidence on and off the course. The Bobby Jones brand has been a mainstay in the golf industry since the 1990s and is sold in the finest private clubs, resorts and golf courses worldwide. For more info visit bobbyjones.com.
About Jonesheirs, Inc.
Jonesheirs, Inc., is tasked with the exclusive responsibility of managing the name, image, and likeness of golfing great, Robert Tyre Jones, Junior (Bobby Jones). Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Jonesheirs’ mission is to preserve and develop the legacy of Bobby Jones and is comprised of his direct descendants. In addition to commercial agreements, Jonesheirs preserves the legacy of Bobby Jones through its commitment to scholastic and philanthropic causes.