Carter Bonas has already broken through in the business world, and he’s just 12. His love of golf helped inspire his company, Spectrum Golf.
The golf brand got its name because Carter is on the autism spectrum. The company was created to address an issue he faced, turning a challenge into an opportunity.
“Me and my mom were spending lots of money on clothes that were supposed to be comfortable but weren’t because I have skin sensitivity,” explained the First Tee – Florida Gold Coast participant.
“I started Spectrum Golf because I wanted other people to be comfortable too.”
The brand sells golf attire and accessories, which have been displayed at the PGA Show in Orlando, an industry standard event. Carter has been interviewed by Golf Channel, Golf Digest and more about his company.
It’s impossible for Carter to choose a favorite memory from his time as a golfer. “They’re all super amazing,” Carter said.
He’s walked the course with Ernie Els at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida, chipped with PGA Champions Tour player Alex Cejka and even met basketball star Steph Curry. Last year Curry was honored as Sports Illustrated’s Sports Person of the Year, while Carter was named Sports Kid of the Year.
Carter has big goals for his company, ultimately aiming to own a retail store and collaborate with other major brands. Playing on the PGA TOUR isn’t out of the question either, he said.
Carter loves the sport because he’s able to play on a team while still controlling the outcome of his round – whether good or bad. He also loves spending time in nature, he said.
Carter began playing golf after struggling to find another sport that fit.
During Autism Awareness Month, his message to others on the spectrum: “If you’re considering golf it takes lots of patience and practice, and you always need to stay positive,” he said.
Carter and his family have faced their own set of challenges when it comes to managing a new business. They had to table Spectrum Vitamin Water due to a manufacturing issue. “Carter only wants to sell products he loves,” said his mother, Dr. Thelma Tennie. But after finding a new producer, the vitamin water could be back on the market this year.
Seeing his mom – who owns a private therapy practice – helped inspire Carter to become an entrepreneur, he explained. And he’s also passionate about giving back. He recently launched a nonprofit, and he serves as a golf coach and motivational speaker for schools and events.
Like First Tee, Carter is dedicated to growing the sport of golf and showing that anyone can play. Carter and his mom were drawn to First Tee’s values, and he’s been participating with the Florida Gold Coast chapter in Fort Lauderdale for about a year.
“It’s been super awesome,” Carter said.