After acting out at school and being bullied for being different, therapy, medication and an introduction to golf at the age of eight helped Carter Bonas, who had been diagnosed with “textbook autism” when he was 10 months old, get back on track. In addition to developing his game under the tutelage of Corey Henry, PGA, at the Country Club of Coral Springs, Bonas has also developed his own line of golf apparel, which he showed off at the 2022 PGA Show. “[Golf] just allows [Corey] to develop his self-confidence and really, who he is as a person, on and off the golf course,” Henry said. “I hope to see [him] on the PGA Tour.”
A young South Florida golfer is taking a swing at starting a business, and he is charting his own path, both on and off the golf course, WSVN News 7 Miami reported.
Ten-year-old Carter Bonas, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 10 months old, certainly looks the part on the links, WSVN reported. And that’s because, his hat, polo shirt, pants and belt are all from his very own line of golf apparel, Spectrum Golf (https://www.cartersspectrumgolf.com/#/). In January, Bonas got to show off his gear at the PGA Show in Orlando.
“I told my Mom [about the] ways I could run my business, and eventually she said yes,” Bonas told WSVN about how it all started.
His Mom is Dr. Thelma Tennie, a marriage and family therapist. She told WSVN that Carter was “textbook autism” when he was diagnosed— “No speech, no eye contact, very repetitive motions, sensory issues.”
And he acted out at school and was bullied for being different, Dr. Tennie added. The low point, she said, came when he told his teacher, “If one more thing goes wrong, or one more thing happens to me, I’m going to kill myself.’”
Therapy and medication helped get her son back on track, Dr. Tennie told WSVN. There was also his love of sports, as long as they were non-contact. So that led Carter to take a swing at golf, which he only took up about two years ago, at eight years old.
“Golf was the best for me,” he told WSVN. “I didn’t get screamed at. I didn’t get touched. I felt like I could take my time and try my best.”
WSVN also talked with Corey Henry, PGA, General Manager of the Country Club of Coral Springs (Fla.), who has become Carter’s swing coach.
“[Golf] just allows [Corey] to develop his self-confidence and really, who he is as a person, on and off the golf course,” Henry said.
“I hope to see Carter on the PGA Tour,” he added.
Further confidence is now coming from the success of Spectrum Golf, which sold nearly $7,000 in merchandise last year, WSVN reported. The golfing world is taking notice of the line, with Carter recently being interviewed on the Golf Channel and also meeting PGA Tour legend Ernie Els, who has a son with autism.
Spectrum Golf’s unique logo itself reflects the challenges that Carter has met in a creative fashion, he told WSVN.
“Well, I’m high on the spectrum, and I was writing the ‘S.G.,’ and I wrote the ‘G’ backwards,” Bonas said. “We were going to change it, but my Dad said it looked pretty good, so it sticked.”
It’s no wonder that Carter’s mother thinks “The sky is the limit” for her son and his business, and that Carter himself sets his goal for the future as simply to “Get bigger and bigger.”
Dr. Tennie has also started a nonprofit organization, the Healing Arts institute of South Florida (https://healingartssfl.org) that offers free mental health services to parents with children and teens who are struggling, and also now holds a charity golf tournament for Children’s Mental Health Awareness.
WSVN’s full report on Carter Bonas and Spectrum Golf can be viewed at https://wsvn.com/news/7spotlight/10-year-old-south-florida-golfer-on-autism-spectrum-starts-his-own-golf-apparel-business/
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