Golf is a traditional game, but technology is changing that.
From music and GPS on the course, to new ways to get around like scooters and motorized carts.
I tried out an electric scooter like device called the GolfBoard and it mixes aspects of snowboarding, surfing, and skateboarding to help golfers get around courses faster and in a more fun way.
“I haven’t had anyone here that doesn’t just love it,” said golfer Greg Knecht, who uses his at Tetherow Golf Course in Bend, Oregon.
“Not traditional for sure, but definitely is an addition to a round of golf, it makes a round of golf really fun,” said Knecht.
GolfBoard was created years ago by the founder of Bally fitness and surf legend Hamilton.
The electric board has four wheels and holds a set of clubs, plus accessories and lets you cruise along courses at between 5 and 10 miles an hour.
One of the unique aspects of the GolfBoard is how you turn it. There is no steering wheel, just a stability bar that you hold on to. To turn, you lean your entire body left or right.
The board can go at least 18 holes on a charge.
“We firmly believe that in 20 years there is going to be more individual rider devices on a golf course because it’s so much more efficient to play,” said Jeff Dowell, president of GolfBoard.
I hopped on the board and was able to ride it within minutes. The learning curve is minimal, but mastering the ride does take a bit longer, especially when it comes to turns.
The device supports your entire weight, so you can really lean into turns. It’s an exhilarating ride that makes getting around a golf course seem like an activity in itself.
Right now, hundreds of courses offer the GolfBoard experience. Many rent the boards by the day, like how you would rent a golf cart for your game. You can also purchase a GolfBoard outright. New units run about $7,000, refurbished units are currently selling for about $3,000.
Golf is in the middle of a transformation. You have the traditionalists on one side who want to keep the game as is. Then you have a new generation of players and courses that want to modernize the game to make it faster, more fun, and relaxed. This includes allowing things like music and GolfBoards on the course.
“If golf is to survive, they’ve got to look at what people want,” said Steve Eisenberg, a golf expert with more than 50 years of play.
He says the GolfBoard can be a fun, physical addition to the game but safety comes first.
“If the golf courses really want to embrace this technology, they have to be aware of the safety factor and they have to let people know you gotta be careful,” concluded Eisenberg.