by John Hughes
Special to Golferswest.com
BREWSTER, Wa. — I am a surfer and snowboarder who happens to also like golf…Wait, I kinda love golf. In fact, I would say my top three favorite sports are surfing, snowboarding and golf.
The only rub for all this is that I live in Seattle, which basically means no surf, and snowboarding is seasonal. So I am left with golf.
Recently, I played Gamble Sands in Eastern Washington, a course that has become the second rated course in the state behind Chambers Bay. And that’s in just two years. My interest was sparked when I saw that they had Golf Boards available as an option to a golf cart.
Dave Christenson, Gamble’s GM and golf pro, said the course purchased four over the winter. “We’ll probably add four more next year. We have to see if it’s a good fit.”
There are some pros and cons to this new mode of fairway transportation. The negatives are that they are at least or more than expensive than golf carts and they can take just one charge a day.
“And then you have to charge it for three or four hours,” Christenson said. “There’s not like a replacement battery you can just pop in and take it back out.”
So the board, which can be reserved ahead – for $35 – generally go out with the first couple foursomes and are done for the day.
The positives is that they take less space to store and they are a heck of a lot more fun than the old-fashioned golf carts. Anyone can learn how to use them in a short time, most of the requests come from 20- and 30-somethings. That could draw younger players to the game.
“Four guys have those, you can play the course in about three hours,” Christenson added.
Seeing the obvious similarity to my other two favorite sports, I jumped at the chance to take one of these for a spin.
After a short informational video, I was ushered to my Golf Board. It is kind of a funny set up with your clubs perched above the front wheels and a pole with a round hand hold that has the controls for the board.
It is fairly easy to operate with only a button to push for acceleration and no brake because it automatically decelerates when you take your finger off the accelerator.
It is a little wobbly at first, but by the third hole I was fully comfortable. In fact, I soon started looking at the golf course with a more curious eye because I was looking for swales and other subtle aspects of Gamble Sands to ride. The terrain at Gamble Sands is rife with opportunities to make the most out of the Golf Boards performance.
I did not golf great that day at Gamble Sands, but I left with a positive outlook on my experience because I had so much fun at this beautiful course and experienced it in a much more enjoyable manner than if I had walked or ridden in a cart.
Additionally, the overall experience of riding the golf board made it extremely easy to navigate the course and travel from shot to shot.
I can easily see this being the ‘wave’ of the future for two reasons: It make the act of golfing even more fun, and it can speed up the game because each player can surf to their own ball.
(John Hughes is a special contributor to golferswest.com)