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GolfBoard Preview: $3,995
Is the motorized skateboard/cart, GolfBoard, yet another golf tech fad or the start of something new, especially for younger golfers?
It was winner of Best New Product at the huge 2014 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. in January.
There’s something really wrong with the ever-changing technologies of golf. We’ve seen it affect the game in just about every facet from clubs to state-of-the-art GPS finders. The game of golf is morphing as the technology around it improves everyday However, there’s still one place where technology and innovation have yet to meet to create a revolutionary product that hasn’t changed in years: The golf cart.
Until now that is, introducing the GolfBoard.
Have you ever stared at the bulky foldaway walking cart in the back of your trunk and said to yourself, “This stupid thing again?”
Are you tired of walking into a pro shop and forking over the ridiculous cart fees courses always slap on your tab?
Why not combine the benefits to both of these outdated “club transporter” options (the motorized golf cart and walking cart)? That’s why the GolfBoard, bordering on the edge of ridiculousness and ingenious, could actually make a splash in the golf industry. Maybe. If you don’t bite it hard and wreck yourself.
The GolfBoard, which won Best New Product at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, is, in its essence, a golf course-safe electronic skateboard. With a place for your bag, your feet and even your hands — if you feel safer holding onto something, that is — Golfboard proponents believe it is making advances in golf technology and innovation and creating a whole new experience for the average golfers to navigate even the wildest terrains of their local golf course.
The question is: Will an average golfer ever get onto one of these, at least in real numbers, aside from your old surfer or skater buddies from back in the day, that is?
Built on a 50-inch by 20-inch by 10-inch platform, the GolfBoard is a four-wheel drive skateboard (which actually have been around for years, maybe even decades now if you take into account garage tinkerers) that reportedly easily glides across the turf. With 3- to 5-inch wide tires, the GolfBoard’s manufacturer, provides great traction even in wet conditions. The motor is strong enough to tread some of the steepest slopes you’ll see on a golf course and will top out at 11 mph with a low speed of 7 mph. According to the “Surf the Earth” GolfBoard website, it is built with a “proprietary Spring Deck,” which maximizes flex and stability, giving the golfer a smooth ride over any terrain. It’s basically a skateboard deck on top in the middle of the I on the machine or between the front and back wheel wells.
So, will your local golf course let you actually use it or be too afraid it will just tear up the course?
The GolfBoard’s engineers say they’ve installed a number of engine, wheel and control features to prevent “burnouts” and uneven wheel digs and spinouts. First off, the industrial battery-powered powertrain — or fully mechanically integrated – engine can hold up to 250 pounds. Those include four-wheel posi-traction, which the same as car’s gearbox instead of a chain. It also features 3.5- by 9-inch “turf tires” that have “this large surface area and tread design, pressure on the turf is substantially less than that of a fully loaded golf cart, even in wet conditions,” according to the website.
The GolfBoard is built for both cart path and fairway use, so it could be a revelation for in golf course transit — but it will take some time and convincing for golf courses to warm up to the idea. At all.
Although it could appeal to a wide-array of golfers and claims to be course-safe and as harmless to the grass as a standard golf cart, the Golfboard itself is so new that some courses may be reluctant to give it a shot. At Martin County Golf & Country Club in Stuart, Fla,, both head golf professional Rick Hengstenberg and course superintendent Clive Thacker had reservations about the idea of someone using the GolfBoard on their course.
“It seems like it could be fun but I’m not so sure that’d be good for the actual game,” Hengstenberg said. “It might take away from playing golf.”
It’s still such a new idea that GolfBoard executives are asking consumers, course managers and others to help get official “GolfBoard friendly” designations at their courses. They’re hoping that one day every course is welcoming to their unique product but until then, they’re creating their own database to inform consumers where they can use their new product. It’s unclear how many golf clubs to date have been upstart Oregon-based company has been in persuading golf clubs to allow their product on the courses.
The company does have partnerships with some courses, according to it’s website, and is better on turf than many already-approved stand-up golf carts. In fact, GolfBoard states that it reduces golf course wear and tear.
I guess we’ll see, perhaps at a course near you sometime.