VAIL — For Vail golfers who want to go green on the green, the golf bike is here.
The Vail Golf Club is the first in Colorado to offer the bikes — bright green machines designed to pedal around the course with ease and carry your clubs — and so far they have been extremely popular, said Vail Golf Club Director Alice Plain.
“We’ve had them for one month, and they’ve been taken out daily,” she said.
Besides being a novel way to get around the course, the bikes also offer a low impact and efficient way to play.
The bikes, made by Higher Ground Bicycling Co. (www.the golfbike.com/), feature six gears and smaller 20-inch wheels that require less pedaling to accelerate. The bikes are designed to go at speeds similar to a golf cart, so pace of play for bikers will remain 4:07 for an 18-hole round. The back comfortably carries a full set of clubs, balls and even has a spot to hold a drink.
“I first saw it at the PGA Show in Orlando,” Plain said. “The company was showing them as a new product, riding it around the floor. We saw it and said, ‘That would be perfect in Vail.’”
Since then, the bikes have garnered considerable attention, including from Front Range media outlets and curious golfers. Plain said a few golfers visiting the area came to play Vail’s course specifically to use the golf bikes. Rentals cost $15 for an 18-hole round, compared to $19 for a cart.
Some golfers are even saying that the bikes have given them a whole new lease on golfing. Avon resident and avid golfer Bob Matarese said that various skiing injuries prevent him from comfortably walking the course. Pull carts hurt his back, and motorized carts were an option, but prevented him from getting much exercise.
“I try to ride my bike three times a week anyway, so once I saw the golf bikes, I was interested,” he said. “I’ve played about 15 times already. The rec district has been very innovative about this. Being a biking community, it’s perfect for this area. It’s a great way to bike and golf in the same day.”
So far the Vail Golf Club has four golf bikes, although next year they may get more if demand stays up.
“It’s such a unique way to get around the course,” Plain said. “They’re low impact and perfect for golfers who have trouble walking the course but would prefer to not ride a cart. We’re excited to offer our new and existing golfers this product. The fun factor is priceless.”