Forget golf buggies - it's all about the skateboard that 'surfs' the course: New invention is latest attempt to make the sport 'less of an old man's game'
- GolfBoard let users ‘surf’ over the varied terrain of a golf course
- It's fitted with a gearbox on each end its battery can last for up to 36 holes
- Invented by an 80-year-old U.S. entrepreneur to make golf 'cooler'
- Speed controlled by handheld device and users change direction by leaning
- Board goes into production next month and costs $3,500 (£2,115)
Electric buggies might be popular on luxurious golf courses among older players, but a new invention is set to make the sport more appealing to the next generation of golfers.
Called GolfBoard, it is a cross between a skateboard and a buggy and is fitted with gearboxes similar to those found in cars.
Golfers can use the board to 'surf' over the varied terrain of a course at various speeds using a handheld controller, and its 80-year-old designer believes it could one day replace conventional buggies.
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Don Wildman, inventor of the GolfBoard hopes the quirky vehicle will attract younger people to the sport and do for golf what 'snowboarding did for skiing.'
Inventor Don Wildman from Miami, told the Courier Mail: 'It's an old man's sport. I know if I had kids, they would really like to come out and play golf if they got to ride around on...an electric skateboard.'
He added he hopes the board does for golf what 'snowboarding did for skiing.'
The electric board claims to make ‘getting from one shot to the next just as fun as hitting a great drive or approach shot’ as well as speeding up the game.
However, coolness comes at a price as each board costs $3,500 (£2,115).
The GolfBoard claims to be easy and intuitive to use and feels similar to snowboarding, surfing or skateboarding
It is controlled using a handheld device that controls its speed and braking, while the rider rocks back and forth to steer the board.
Riders can select a high or low speed, ranging from 7mph for new users up to the top speed of 11mph, which lets golfers travel at around the same speed as a conventional golf cart.
All revved up: Ex-European Tour player Chris van der Velde (right) and 80-year-old Don Wildman ride GolfBoards, which are designed to make golf cool and are controlled by handheld devices as well as riders leaning to steer the boards
It is powered by a 48 volt lithium battery pack built into the base of the board and takes around one-and-a-half hours to charge to provide enough power to navigate 36 holes.
The electric board claims to be the first of its kind to be driven by a gearbox that is similar to ones in cars, instead of chains and belts, which can be unreliable and need frequent maintenance.
Gearboxes fitted on each end of the board provide power to all four wheels evenly and 'wheel positraction' means the board will not slip on the steepest hills and eliminates ‘spinouts’ on the golf course, which can mark the green, the company said.
The pressure on the turf is ‘substantially’ less than that of a golf cart so golfers can ride on fairways without damaging them in wet conditions thanks to tyres that are three-and-a-half inches wide and nine inches tall with specially-designed treads.
A flexible ‘spring deck’ works as a shock absorber for a smooth ride, while a ‘bi-directional steering damper’ stops the board from wobbling in transit.
The GolfBoard can be ridden in a number of ways depending on the rider's experience. For newer riders, the golf bag can be fixed to the front so that it can also be used as a handle (pictured right), while more experienced riders can use the board like a skateboard, which lets it to move faster
Test drive: A GolfBoard is parked beside a green at the Malibu Golf Club last month. Gearboxes housed on each end of the board provide power to all four wheels evenly so that it won't slip on the steepest hills and stops 'spinouts' on the golf course, which can mark the green
The board measures 50in x 20in x 10in (120cm x 50m x 25cm) so it can be stored in a golf locker or bag.
The board is made by SolBoard, which has so far received 2,000 orders for the quirky mode of transportation and begins production next this month.
The GolfBoard was on show at a recent charity tournament at Malibu Golf Club and former European Tour player Chris van der Velde was 'surfing the earth' along with Mr Wildman.
'I'm not sure it's a traditional game-changer,' said Mr Van der Velde.
'Some people will push back. Some people won't like it because it's different. They didn't like going from wooden clubs to metal heads. So it'll push people back. But it's pretty cool.'
Paul Hodge from SolBoard, said: 'If you really want the industry to grow, and to be accepted by the mass market, you need to kill that stodgy conservative attitude and you need to make it fun...and attract the younger crowds.'
Catching a big one: Golfer Van der Velde could almost be surfing as he tries out the GolfBoard in Malibu. He warned that some people will resit the innovation as it's different. 'They didn't like going from wooden clubs to metal heads. So it'll push people back. But it's pretty cool,' he said
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2533140/Smart-skateboard-lets-golfers-surf-course-attempt-make-sport-old-mans-game.html#ixzz2pRKsDiPt
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