Former Boston TV sportscaster Bob Lobel has sued a Newton golf club, claiming it discriminated against him by refusing to allow him to use a specialized golf cart in its bunkers or on its greens — and his attorney says there may be other suits coming for courses that won’t cater to disabled golfers.
“We talked about how this applies not only to Bob, but to a variety of people that ultimately will be affected as well,” said Jeffrey Denner, Lobel’s attorney. “We may bring some other cases against some other country clubs and golf clubs in New England and even nationally.”
Lobel, who said that he is disabled and needs a specialized golf cart known as a SoloRider or ParaGolfer, sued the Woodland Golf Club of Auburndale in federal court for $250,000 for unlawful discrimination and violation of his civil rights, according to the suit.
“As a direct and proximate result of Woodland’s unlawful discrimination, (Lobel) has sustained injuries and damages including the right to socialize with longtime friends, feelings of isolation and depression,” Michael Longo, another attorney for Lobel, wrote in the complaint.
Lobel said he has been frustrated by the whole process.
“I felt sad because I really enjoyed playing there,” he told the Herald. “It really wasn’t any act of mine. I needed this cart, and they said I can do anything with it but go on the greens — but that’s part of the game.”
The suit alleges that a Woodland member told Lobel the specialized carts would not be allowed on the greens or in the bunkers. He attempted to put Woodland in contact with other golf clubs that allow the carts, but it “continued in its refusal,” according to the suit.
Woodland, however, indicated that it disallowed the carts for Lobel’s protection.
“Mr. Lobel requested access to Woodland’s golf course with a special golf cart. Out of an abundance of caution, we agreed to permit use of the special cart in areas of the course other than sand traps, based upon concerns for Mr. Lobel’s safety,” David Garfinkle, general manager of the course, said in a prepared statement.