Except for the revenue they generate for golf facilities, you won’t find too many nice things said about golf carts.
Some people blame them for hurting the spirit of the game, caddie programs, the turf, pace of play…the list goes on.
I’m friendly with some traditionalists who wish golf carts would simply go away altogether.
To that I can only say…be careful what you wish for.
Take a look at the alternatives below — some of which are starting to catch on at golf courses and resorts in North America and around the world.
Named “Best New Product” at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show and developed in part by professional surfer-cum-golf-nut Laird Hamilton, GolfBoard’s company motto is, fittingly, “Surf the Earth.”
The GolfBoard accelerates and decelerates via a handle mounted at the front, similar to a motorcycle clutch. Steering is done by swiveling back and forth on the skateboard-shaped platform. Similar to your garden-variety cart, there’s a spot to strap in your golf bag, but on the front of the vehicle. Even though the maximum speed of the “Commercial Use” GolfBoard is 10 miles per hour (a full third slower than most golf carts), its makers assert that it speeds up rounds to an average of just over 2 1/2 hours. Also, the lighter weight (only 115 lbs) means the GolfBoard does 30% less damage to turf than a normal cart. Rental rates generally run about $10 more than normal golf cart rental rates at participating courses.
You can try it at… Dozens of courses in the United States and Europe. In the U.S., locations include Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona; Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs, California; World Golf Village in St Augustine, Florida; Mauna Kea Golf Club in Waimea (Big Island), Hawaii; Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey; Tetherow in Bend, Oregon; and TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.
The Golf Bike
If you enjoy getting around on two wheels in your daily life, The Golf Bike might just be your solution if you’ve always wanted to take your cycling passion to the golf course.
It’s pretty much a green bicycle with a contraption that resembles two tall black saddle bags mounted onto the back of it. That’s where your clubs go; Golf Bikes do not accommodate your actual golf bag, so you’ll have to do some reorganizing and restocking before and after using it. Anything to cycle more, though…right? Rental costs, though, are modest – usually comparable to push cart rental prices, with up to a $5 or $10 premium.
You can try it at… Most popular in Colorado – at Sonnenalp Club and Vail Golf Club, for example – the Golf Bike is also available at Westin Kierland Resort (easy to compare with the GolfBoard!) in Scottsdale; Vinoy Club in St. Petersburg, Florida; Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey (again, also a GolfBoard-friendly property); and Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Having seen the likes of the GolfBoard and Golf Bike, you may be thinking, “Well now I’ve seen everything!” These other golf transport “solutions” haven’t achieved the buzz and popularity of the GolfBoard or Golf Bike, but they’re…something.
There’s the Turf Chopper:
There’s also the Mantys, which is available throughout Europe…
And if you’re looking for a golf vehicle that will get you more in touch with your childhood, there’s the Golf Trike, which is made by an Australian company:
Segway has even gotten into the golf business:
To put it lightly, we’re not really convinced that any of these products is going to immediately bring a significant number of new participants into the game. Is the ability to ride a GolfBoard or Golf Bike going to cause a recreational golfer to say, “Well, I wasn’t going to play golf today, but if I can play golf and tote around on a GolfBoard, let’s play 36!”?
We’re not so sure.
That being said, the courses and resorts that are making GolfBoards and Golf Bikes available to their clientele do have a sense of novelty in their favor, and that might capture some more players. But as far as people playing more golf because these new forms of transportation exist? We’re not sold, but golf does need creative thinkers, so we applaud the effort.
And, with celebrities and social media stars toting around on miniature Segway-like “hoverboards,” maybe we’ll start seeing the country club set following suit…
What do you think about these new alternatives to walking and golf carts? Do any of them seem like actual viable alternatives? We can’t wait to hear your comments below!