Golf, we all know, has its share of problems. When explaining lackluster participation numbers, one term often cited is the dreaded F-word. Fun, of course.
Is golf too stuffy? At times, perhaps. Enter GolfBoard, a company now in its fourth year producing motorized, skateboard-style carts. I bumped into the GolfBoard display at Demo Day, and at first glance, operating one seemed tricky.
“Lots of people think it’s tough, but it’s a breeze!” said Jeff Dowell, GolfBoard’s high-energy President.
Accepting the challenge, I hopped on. Driving the board really was simple. You stand in place, one foot in front of the other, like a skateboard. Your clubs ride in front. At the center of the handlebars lies the throttle. Just press it down to move forward. Release it, and the engine cuts out for a quick stop. Turning takes some self-trust: lean one direction or the other, and the board responds. It requires some effort to toss your body weight into the corners, but it’s also a blast. I never fell off, or even felt close to biting it.
Dowell said that when he started producing boards, which start at $6,500, he expected sporty millennials to drive his business. Surprisingly, many retirees have also gravitated to it.
“It’s all about lifestyle,” Dowell said. “If you’re athletic, you can do it.”
Dowell says boarders rip through 18 holes 30% faster than twosomes in a golf cart, because you don’t have to track two golf balls, and 15% faster than walkers. GolfBoard has currently outfitted more than 250 courses around the world, including tracks in the U.S., UK, Spain, Portugal, Indonesia and Australia. And not all courses are flat resorts. The boards can handle uneven terrain.
“They’re even more fun, and easier, on hills,” Dowell said. “They chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out.”
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?