This isn't your grandfather's golf, or even your father's golf.
Over the last several years, the game has undeniably gone from dull to bold and from nerdy to hip. But these days, it's not just the fashion statements, the countless accessories, or the ways in which one can personalize his or her equipment. It has also trickled down to your form of transportation when on the course. Or, at least "tricked out."
You could go the natural route and hoof it. You can hoof it with a push or pull cart. You can hop in a motorized cart and drive from tee to green and everywhere in between.
Or, if you're looking for something with a little more flare and no doubt a whole lot more fun, you now have another option: the GolfBoard.
The what? The GolfBoard -- part, surfboard/skateboard/snowboard and part Segway.
Just last week, I had the opportunity to try out one of these things that you'd expect to see in a futuristic movie over 18 holes at Black Rock Country Club in Hingham, Mass.
After a 5-10 minute tutorial from Black Rock PGA Head Professional Mark Gammons, in which one in our group accidentally love-tapped a support beam on the clubhouse because he forgot to let go of the throttle, we "shredded" our way to the first tee with gracious host and Black Rock owner, George McGoldrick.
McGoldrick has been an early adopter of the GolfBoard. Right now, he himself owns two and a Black Rock member owns two more. Those were the four we took out for our round.
Over the next couple of years, McGoldrick is hopeful that Black Rock will have many more.
McGoldrick estimated our round that day was about the 40th of the year for him using the GolfBoard. Why does he love it so much? For starters, he thinks it carries many more benefits than a traditional motorized golf cart. First, your body is continuously moving between shots. In order to navigate the GolfBoard, you need to lean into turns just like on a snowboard or skateboard.
Because of this, a GolfBoard keeps the blood flowing between shots -- which was particularly nice on the cool day that we teed it up.
Also, rather than zig-zagging across the fairway to go to your playing partner's ball and then yours, the GolfBoard allows everyone to go directly to their own ball.
Weighing just 110 pounds, the GolfBoard is also markedly lighter than a traditional cart which should put a smile on the faces of course superindendents everywhere (once they get over the initial brow-raising when they first lay eyes on the GolfBoard, that is).
More than anything, though, the GolfBoard was just downright fun.
It took a little while to get the hang of turning, as well as how much pressure to apply to the throttle, but once you've got that down, it's like participating in two sports at once. And since it's so much fun and so different from anything you've experienced on a course, it's also much easier to forget about a wayward shot (or many, like I had that day).
Traction-wise, the GolfBoard was remarkable. The model we used featured four-wheel drive and it was easy to make it through wet spots and rough without slipping. With your clubs attached to the front of the board, a cupholder connected to the handlebars and a cooler attachment for the back, it's got everything you need.
As McGoldrick told our group, "There's nothing better than taking a caddie, but this is the next-best thing."
If you have safety concerns -- after all, the GolfBoard can be intimidating to look at upon first glance -- McGoldrick believes it's safer than a traditional golf cart. After having the chance to test one out, I'd agree and I'd also add this disclaimer: Like any other machine, if you don't respect the GolfBoard, there is a chance you can hurt yourself. If you don't use a cart, or the GolfBoard, the way they were intended to be used and something bad happens, that's on you.
Overall, the GolfBoard experience was one I hope to have again many times in the future.
McGoldrick noted, "Yeah, it looks weird at first and people might think it's strange to see them out on the course, but I'm sure people said the same thing about driving carts when they came out. I think this is the future of getting around a course."
If nothing else, it certainly looks like the future.
To learn more about the GolfBoard, check out www.golfboard.com.