Connect with us

Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

Published

on

Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

Your Reaction?
  • 108
  • LEGIT19
  • WOW0
  • LOL9
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP5
  • OB3
  • SHANK26

Matt is a freelance writer, communications consultant, sports junkie and remedial athlete. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two girls.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Joe

    Jan 19, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Cargo shorts, black socks, brown shoes? Whew…

  2. Dan

    Apr 25, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    To clarify, Golfboard was created by the guy that owns Rad Power Bikes, an electric bike company in Seattle. Good interview with him here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/mnewlands/2016/11/15/is-there-an-electric-bike-revolution-seattles-rad-power-bikes-thinks-so/#1a654e3a3746
    He talks about why he came up with Golfboard…he’s also got a kit to electrify a paddleboard. He grew up in Northern California and was a good high school golfer. I haven’t tried Golfboarding yet and being a surfer, I would, I just haven’t been anywhere that had ’em. Probably wouldn’t be a regular thing for me though, as long as I can still walk.

  3. CONI

    Apr 25, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Tried it once and just looking forward to play with it again! that’s a great way to play fast and have fun. I grew up on snowboard and skate, the drive was quite natural and very relaxing.

  4. Nigel

    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    I’m a 1 index but on a golfboard I’m a 20+! I shot 97 on a course that I’m familiar with. I agree, mixing two sports not such a good idea. Although, I’m sure like anything else, you’d get used to it.

    I didn’t like having to strap the clubs down so tightly that I couldn’t get them in or out of the bag.

  5. Pete

    Apr 25, 2018 at 10:40 am

    These things are a blast, quickest way to play a round of golf.

  6. JJVas

    Apr 25, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Took one at the Club at Savannah Harbor. For the first 6 holes it was really cool, interesting and fun. After that, I wished I had a cart for all of the reasons the author stated. It’s a fun thing to try, but I really don’t see this idea ever being more that a niche thing.

  7. Paul

    Apr 25, 2018 at 10:33 am

    My score will suck anyway, riding the golf board might make me more likely to come out and … suck.

  8. Ell

    Apr 25, 2018 at 10:26 am

    This method is only feasible in dry states. Not very feasible in states where rain storms can pop up in minutes. I wonder how it does on wet fairways? Dangerous on hilly fairways, you lose your center of gravity for just an instance and you are on the ground. Another thing, the tops on golf carts do provide protection from the sun and everybody is concerned these days with the effect the sun has on your health.

  9. slinger

    Apr 24, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Can you imagine a big fat bellied bozo perched on that golfboard and trying to negotiate the course… along with his full WITB set of silly clubs?!! 😮

  10. TigerJr

    Apr 24, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Ride one every chance I get….super easy to ride. If you snow board youll love it. You can take these right up to the edge of the green as well. Anyone who cant stay on one, probably shouldnt be on one lol.

  11. DaveyD

    Apr 24, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Cool, but I wonder if you can get snow tires for it (it’s been a long, snowy winter here in the North). Seriously, I’d give it a try if any course here offered them.

  12. DB

    Apr 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Cool idea, but personally I would rather just have the option to rent a fancy motorized caddy to follow me along with my clubs (and beer cooler) while I walk.

  13. sirparalot

    Apr 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I ride one every week instead of sitting in a cart at my home course. I absolutely love it. I grew up surfing so this is a piece of cake. I truly enjoy the solitude of riding to my ball and getting to focus on my game without all the distraction of criss crossing the course having to find your cart mates shots. I can still be quite social on tees and greens as well as when we have to wait on other groups if pace is a bit slow.

  14. Patrick

    Apr 24, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Rode one in Vegas and really didn’t like it. I consider myself pretty coordinated, but found the steering to be unintuitive. It was pretty easy to control at high speed, but at low speed I found it impossible, and constantly had to bail.

  15. JasonHolmes

    Apr 24, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    The only reason I’ve never tried one is the course near me that has them charges an additional fee above and beyond the cart fee. I dont mind paying a fee for the golfboard but I’m not going to pay the riding/cart fee *plus* an additional fee on top of that.

  16. Bruce Ferguson

    Apr 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I think these are a good idea and would appeal especially to younger players. Might even help grow the game. I don’t see them totally replacing the traditional riding carts, though. My only concern are the small tires . . . that they might leave tracks on rain saturated fairways, unlike the larger carts with the large flotation tires.

  17. bonifacj

    Apr 24, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Imagining how fast a foursome could play if each player could go directly to their own ball makes this idea so enticing. I sincerely hope golfboarding catches on.

    • Philip

      Apr 24, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Isn’t that called walking … lol … but I understand, I would rather people not pair up in carts as many (though not all) cannot understand the concept of letting one walk to their ball while the other goes to their ball. The worst is when both carts never separate and go to each ball … talk about wear and tear on a fairway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels

Published

on

Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

Your Reaction?
  • 28
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Published

on

Product: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Pitch: From Adidas: “Designed for protection from the elements, these golf shoes have enhanced cushioning to return energy on every swing. The shoes feature a spikeless outsole that flexes with your foot and has strategically placed lugs for outstanding grip and balance. An innovative closure system is built for micro-adjustments so you get the exact fit you need.”

Our take on Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Golf shoes are curious creatures existing in a strange place? No? Finally free of the gravitational pull of traditionalism, shoe styles are finally at a place where form follows function. And while you may pine for the days of saddle shoes aesthetically, your feet (and likely your golf swing) surely do not.

While the shoes are also available in gray/white and black/white colorways, we tested the bolder dark marine variant.

Now, “good” footwear, as we are constantly wont to admit, is highly subjective. As of yet, you can’t test two pairs of kicks on a TrackMan and determine which is superior (rumored featured of TrackMan 5). So leaving aside aesthetics and how you like your shoes to fit, we provide the most valuable information, that is, regarding stability, cushioning, and traction. However, in this case, it’s also worth noting the closure system does allow for a more precise fit (and one that stays in place) than lace-up shoes do.

With respect to comfort, first of all, anything Boost is going to be comfortable, and these shoes are no exception. And whether you refer to the “Forgefiber in the upper features heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers…stitched in” to the upper (as Adidas does), or merely the sensation that the Forgefiber Boas provide a solid foundation during the swing, the truth is the same: sound, stable here.

A look at the Puremotion outsole showcases some serious spikeless technology that also offers performance on par with the very best in spikeless footwear.

A final word: These shoes are no porous sieve, either, as you might be concerned they could be on first glance. Adidas’ Climastorm technology in the exterior yields a respectable level of water-repellency.

Your Reaction?
  • 75
  • LEGIT11
  • WOW6
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP9
  • OB2
  • SHANK7

Continue Reading

Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Swag ball markers and divot tool

Published

on

Product: Swag ball markers and divot tool

Pitch:  From Swag: “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do.”

Our take on Swag’s ball markers and divot tool

Swag Golf is creating some of the most sought after products on the market right now, with their funky headcovers and putters all being in high demand. Well, the companies ball markers and divot tool are no different, both of which are easily identifiable as coming from this emerging company who create high-quality products.

The Skull is the companies flagship symbol, and their Stainless Steel Skull Marker their most recognizable marker. The skull marker features black and fluorescent paint, with the bright sunglasses on the marker giving it a vibrant look. 100% CNC milled, the tool contains the companies name engraved on the back of the marker.

A variation on the Skull Marker is the companies Rainbow Skull Marker. Just in case the black and fluorescent paint job on the former wasn’t flashy enough for you, Swag’s Rainbow Skull Marker will make sure to get you noticed, containing the same features as their Skull Marker with a Rainbow PVD finish.

Moving away from their Skull Marker’s, Swag’s St Paddy’s Day Cap Marker is more than worthy of a mention. Identical in size to a bottle cap, the St Paddy’s Day inspired marker features a hand polished golden finish, with the word Swag in green written on the front, while on the back the words “Swag Golf Co.” as well as the company’s philosophy “Don’t give a putt” featured.

The company describe their bottle cap/marker as not being the first bottle cap/marker on the market but “the best one” out there. While I can’t confirm how true that statement is, I can certainly say it is an excellent one.

Swag’s first divot tool is the DTF Divot Tool. Get your head out of the gutter, that stands for “Down To Fix”. The device comes in a black and lime paint job, and an impressive weight of 49 Grams which should ensure that it doesn’t go missing on you.

The divot tool, like their ball markers, is 100% CNC milled and made from 303 Stainless Steel. For a Swag product, the writing and branding on the tool is quite minimalist, and it is as clean and sharp looking a divot tool as I’ve seen from the 2019 releases.

As always with Swag products, the only issue is the limited releases and how quickly the items go, which is no surprise considering the unique products as well as the quality provided. They are, however, continuing to create and release more and more products and their website, as well as their social media sites, are all well worth keeping a close eye on if you’re looking to snag some of the companies top gear in the future.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 21
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP3
  • OB1
  • SHANK14

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending