Have you been on a GolfBoard yet? I love snowboarding and I love golf, so a GolfBoard seems like the perfect marriage of these two passions! I had my first GolfBoard experience in August 2015 while vacationing in Bend, Oregon with my family. One of my “must play” courses while we were in Bend was Tetherow.
I’ve played many courses in Central Oregon, but had not yet played Tetherow Golf Club. The course is gorgeous and it’s been on my short list for years, but the prospect of golfboarding quickly sent this course to the #1 spot on my list.
What is a GolfBoard?
The GolfBoard is essentially an electric skateboard adapted for use on a golf course. Through several prototypes and funding through kickstarter, the GolfBoard came to life, won “Best New Product” at the PGA Merchandise Show in 2014, and has soared in popularity ever since. The GolfBoard people claim that it’s the “most innovative invention for golf since the graphite shaft.” Pretty bold statement! Here’s my take…
First Impressions of the GolfBoard
Very awkward. We had some time before our round so I took my GolfBoard on a spin around the practice area. The accelerator button is very sensitive, so I felt like a 15-year old kid out for my first test drive with mom’s minivan. I consider myself a pretty athletic person and I tend to get the hang of things quickly, but it did take a while for me to loosen up on the golfboard.
With that said, however, the learning curve is nothing compared to other board sports like snowboarding, surfing, or skateboarding. I never felt unsafe or even unstable, it just feels rigid as you’re getting the hang of using the accelerator and turning the board at the same time. Once I got used to it, I had a blast riding up and down the hills and just playing around.
I was the only one in our threesome who rented a GolfBoard for our round, and my father and brother-in-law each spent some time playing with the board during our round. They picked it up right away, so for youngins’ and old farts alike (sorry dad), it’s fairly easy to use.
What’s great about the golfboard
It’s just fun! How cool is it that you can add an entirely new element to a game you love, without stripping away anything essential about golf? It’s a really innovative idea and one that I hope will continue to catch on at courses around the world. Here are just a few claims about the benefits of golfboarding:
1. Quicker pace of play – No more 5 hour rounds! Today’s Golfer, a U.K. golf magazine, tested this theory and found that the GolfBoard was faster than walking and riding a cart. Click here to read the article.
2. Less impact than a golf cart – The weight of a GolfBoard and the tread on the tires both contribute to better course conditions. This is a win-win for courses and players – better conditions and less maintenance/course damage.
3. Draw for younger players – The golf industry is very worried about the lack of young people playing the game. Many people believe the GolfBoard will draw more young golfers. I’m a bit skeptical of this claim for the simple reason that you still have to play golf. Someone interested in golfboarding isn’t going to learn the game and start playing simply because you can ride a board. But perhaps the freshness that a GolfBoard brings to the game will entice many who are on the fence about golf.
I will say that people are definitely intrigued. After our round on my way back to our car, I cruised by a wedding reception cocktail hour on the back patio. I literally had to ride my board through guests who were standing around in the path and not paying attention. “Girl on a GolfBoard coming through, people!” Lots of the guests were gawking, smiling, and pointing at my golfboard.
4. Good exercise – I couldn’t find any research to back this up, but the GolfBoard provides a great total body workout. It’s a solid core workout to hold your balance, and your legs and upper body feel the burn as you turn and steer.
What’s not so great about the golfboard
1. No brakes! – Seriously, these things don’t have brakes. As soon as you let off the gas, they do stop quickly, but it’s a little scary careening down a hill on a cart path without the peace of mind of a brake!
2. Hard to focus – GolfBoards are distracting. It was really hard to stay focused on my round and play my normal game. Plus, Tetherow is so freakin’ hard that I really needed all the focus I could muster, so it led to a bit of a frustrating round of golf. If I used a GolfBoard regularly, I suspect the distraction would be minimal.
3. Battery issues – My GolfBoard became a granny-board after 15 holes. The battery started to die and it moved pretty slow after that. Our caddie told me this happens a lot and sometimes they die all together before the round is over.
Would I do it again?
Definitely! Overall, I had a great time. Every golfer should try one of these things at least once! I don’t think I would ever buy one or even use one regularly, but it’s something I would do again many more times. Truthfully, the novelty wears off a little as the round gets on, but they are still a great alternative to walking or a cart.
If you’re curious about where you can try a GolfBoard, click here for a list of golf courses that offer them.