Event introduces Vail Valley to Golfboard
June 29, 2015
VAIL — Starting Hearts' first annual charity event was a success across the board, pun intended.
To complement a successful tournament, luncheon, fundraiser and egg-shaped ball driving contest, the Golfboard also made its local debut, an innovation that won best new golf product of 2014 at the PGA Merchandising show.
"People are loving it," Golfboard rep Paul Camarco said from the Vail Golf Club on Tuesday. "It's a perfect product for this area."
Indeed, skiers and snowboarders took to the product with ease. A combination longboard/golf cart, the Golfboard has users standing on a platform while holding onto a control panel for acceleration and stability. The end feeling is like surfing a wave, or riding a nice groomer, over an undulating fairway. And by surfing a few turns and taking the path less traveled down the fairway on a Golfboard rather than a cart, you're actually improving the conditions on the ground.
"Carts are heavy and tend to take similar paths down the fairway," Camarco said. "The Golfboard is as light as a feather under your feet, and being on it makes you want to take some easy turns down a fairway rather than riding over the same lines as everyone else."
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At 115 pounds, a Golfboard weighs about one-third of a golf cart with a rider, which averages between 500 and 1,000 pounds. It has a four-wheel posi-drivetrain for good traction, the turf tires won't spin so they don't tear up the fairways and — as an electric vehicle — it uses lithium ion batteries which fully charged in less than three hours.
It also shortens the round times considerably.
"You can do a round in two-and-a-half to three hours, having fun and getting a little core workout the whole time," Camarco said. "And if you shank a ball off the fairway, it's actually fun cruising down there and retrieving it."
'PERFECT FOR THIS AREA'
Edwards resident Ilene Gauger, 55, has never snowboarded or surfed. But she's an experienced skier, and she hopped on the Golfboard and started cruising around the greens at Tuesday's Starting Hearts event with the skill and style of an experienced golfboarder.
"It's really intuitive, really easy to ride," she said. "And really fun."
Gauger, a volunteer for Starting Hearts, said she expects to see more Golfboards around the valley soon.
"It seems perfect for this area," she said.
The intelligent design makes the Golfboard nearly impossible to crash. It's less top-heavy than a golf cart, which will roll if you get going fast down a hill and crank the wheel. Try the same maneuver on a Golfboard and you may fall off, but the board will stop immediately without leaving the ground. As soon as you take your hand off the accelerator, the board's braking system engages and it stops on a dime.
After a few minutes cruising around on a Golfboard, you'll start to get the feeling that it's actually safer than a golf cart with its smaller size, auto braking and excellent stability and traction.
Camarco said while he expects mountain golfers will soon start purchasing Golfboards for personal use (they fold up and fit in a car; much easier to transport than a golf cart), if the clubs themselves start purchasing them, then that will be the best way for average golfers to experience the thrill of a Golfboard.
"You could easily spend double the cost of a Golfboard on a mountain bike," he said. "We hope people start telling their local pros they want to see more Golfboards at their home courses."
On Tuesday, Vail Golf Club Director Alice Plain said she's tried the Golfboard.
"It is a cool product," she said.
Camarco will be back in the Vail Valley with more demos and opportunities for you to try a Golfboard throughout the summer. If you're interested, reach out to him via phone or email (email@example.com, 719-822-6321) to set up a demo time.