Politics & Government

Wichita golfers can test-drive GolfBoards

Test-driving the Golfboard

It's like a cross between a golf cart and an electric skateboard.
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It's like a cross between a golf cart and an electric skateboard.

What do you get when you cross a Segway and a skateboard with a golf cart?

You get the GolfBoard. And it’s rolling down the fairway on a golf course near you.

Wichita’s Tex Consolver Golf Course took delivery Friday on four GolfBoards and over the next couple of months, local golfers will get to try out this kind of surf-style alternative for getting around the course.

If it turns out to be popular, the city Golf Department will consider adding some to its mini-motor fleet.

The GolfBoard is kind of like a large kiddie scooter, with an electric motor that will power it along from a low speed of 5 mph to a high of 10. The player’s golf bag straps to the front by the handlebars, and to steer it you lean from side to side.

I was impressed by the way it maneuvers. It’s a lot more stable than I thought it would be.

Collie Roland, golfer

“I was impressed by the way it maneuvers,” said Collie Roland, who took a test drive on the GolfBoard at Consolver on Friday. “It’s a lot more stable than I thought it would be.”

His wife, Sheri, wasn’t quite so sure.

“I’d have to get my trust built up a little bit, but I think I could do it,” she said.

Trevor Cheek, a 24-year-old assistant golf pro at Consolver, said he loves it because it combines three of his favorite sports. “I grew up skateboarding and I do snowboarding in the winter,” he said.

The biggest selling point is that it can get you around the course faster than walking or using a standard cart, said GolfBoard representative Chad Knochenmus of Topeka.

The pace of play goes up because with GolfBoards, each golfer goes straight to his or her own ball after hitting a shot. With a regular two-seater cart, the players have to drive first to one player’s ball, then the other, taking more time.

A GolfBoard is also lighter than a regular cart, so it’s not as hard on the fairways, Knochenmus said.

The GolfBoard won best new product at the 2014 PGA Equipment Show and is now on about 200 courses around the world.

Equipped with lithium batteries, a GolfBoard can go about 15 miles or three full rounds between charges, Knochenmus said. The recharge time is about 2 1/2 hours.

For Wichita, the holdback could be cost. The GolfBoard lists at $6,500, almost $2,000 more than the city was recently quoted for regular-style carts. And, regular carts carry two golfers while a GolfBoard only carries one.

Troy Hendricks, the city golf course manager, said the department wanted a trial period before deciding whether to buy any GolfBoards to see if the usage justifies the price.

It’s unique. It’s not for everybody.

Troy Hendricks, Wichita golf course manager

“It’s unique. It’s not for everybody,” he said.

While you don’t get the same exercise you would carrying your clubs, nine or 18 holes on a GolfBoard is a pretty good core workout, Hendricks said.

“With the younger golfers (it’s) something they could really enjoy,” he said.

Hendricks said Consolver is planning to start renting out the GolfBoards this weekend. They’ll rent for $17.50 for an 18-hole round, $5 more than for a regular cart, he said.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas