Golf fan invents good ‘club’ for bad backs
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com December 16, 2012 5:18PM
Dino Kapadia, 72, of Frankfort, demonstrates the "Drutter", a comination driver and putter he invented for people who have physical limitations while golfing, Monday, November 5, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 18, 2013 6:01AM
A bad back led Dino Kapadia to create an invention that may change golf — or at least contribute to an offshoot of the sport.
The Frankfort man invented the “drutter,” a combination driver and putter that uses a slingshot mechanism at the top to send the ball flying down the fairway.
At the base is a putter head. And the whole gizmo telescopes down to make the club easy to handle when putting.
Sound wild? It is. But it works.
During a recent demonstration at a driving range in Frankfort Square, Kapadia’s drutter sent golf balls flying straight and true.
Kapadia, a retired mechanical engineer, has no delusions that his invention will one day be used at the Masters or British Open by Tiger Woods.
“I don’t want to tangle with the PGA and the sanctity of golf,” he said with a laugh. “But from a golf course operator’s viewpoint, more people are going to come out to play.”
He does foresee regular folks who may be unable to swing golf clubs normally using the drutter because it would give them a chance to have fun on local golf courses.
There’s even a space on the drutter to store your favorite putter, “that $200 putter,” he said.
He’s made three versions of the drutter, each a tad different for different needs. One has two long spikes at the bottom, letting one plant the drutter and give a good base for a longer shot, he said. He developed the club because he loves the game but is unable to play conventionally.
“One, I have a bad back. Two, I see Augusta National on TV. It’s so pretty. I want to be able to walk on a golf course and I can’t swing a club,” he said. “I can play with this.”
By pulling the slingshot portion down at different angles, a player can make the ball go various distances.
“At approximately 45 degrees, that’s when you’ll drive it the farthest,” he said.
A steeper angle will make the ball go higher, like a wedge used to approach a green, he said. Less angle makes the ball stay lower, like a 3- or 4-iron. Kapadia also has invented a game called “walkolf,” for folks who use the drutter.
He has a patent pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for his invention.
In walkolf, if your ball is within one club length of the hole, it counts as being in the hole. The ball finds a bunker? No problem. You can drop it outside the bunker, within one club length.
Kapadia, 72, has not played golf in two years.
“I hit the earth with my club and was laid up for three days with my bad back,” he said.
The first time he played, about 15 years ago, he parred the very first hole.
“I thought, ‘This game is easy,’ ” he said with the knowing laugh of someone who has carded his share of double-bogeys over the years.
“I’ve been an innovator and an inventor all my life,” he said.