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Northern Ireland golf clubs backing new electric boards that aim to rival buggies

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New wheels: Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler pose on Golfboards

New wheels: Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler pose on Golfboards

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Thomas Hughes (right) shows off the new golf boards at Ardglass Golf Club

Thomas Hughes (right) shows off the new golf boards at Ardglass Golf Club

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New wheels: Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler pose on Golfboards

The man behind a new electric golf board share scheme in Northern Ireland believes the innovation could rival buggies and foresees them being an option at every club in Ireland within the next five years.

Thomas Hughes, who markets the golf boards in Ireland, is predicting that the latest way to motor around 18 holes, which has already been launched to rave reviews in the USA and mainland UK, could be commonplace at clubs up and down the island as their popularity grows.

The boards are similar to scooters in that they are operated by just one golfer, who steers them with their feet, and provides quick transport around the course with minimal risk to the turf, similar to buggies. 

Six clubs in Northern Ireland are already signed up to use them, with Blackwood Golf Club near Bangor having their launch day yesterday where 10 boards were unveiled, while 12 clubs south of the border have also expressed an interest, and Hughes believes that their popularity will only grow as their existence becomes more well known.

“We definitely think they can compete with buggies. The only offering to clubs at the moment are buggies and they’re two-manned,” he explains.

“Where we’ve got really positive feedback recently is that you can go up alongside your own playing partner but you can go over to your own ball, you don’t have to go to your partner’s ball and then your own.

“We think the popularity of them will definitely compete and grow. We’re forecasting that in five years’ time, particularly on the island of Ireland, they’ll be a regular offering at golf clubs.

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“We think there’ll be a massive surge now with the younger generation.”

Initial response has been very positive so far, with Hughes admitting he was a little taken aback by how quickly clubs got on board, with a host from down south revealing they would like to demo them as well.

“My 2022 aim was to get 200 boards out on the course before the end of the year. In our first week of trading I had 32 out and I had 12 clubs in the south that touched base to indicate their interest in doing a demo,” he says.

The system is similar to what most golfers do with buggies, with individuals renting the boards from their club, however unlike buggies the boards are operated using an app, which also tracks their location for the clubs.

The unique selling point of the boards is the ability to still maintain that social connection by being able to drive side-by-side, while the statistics indicate that it also reduces the time it takes to play a round by 30%, as well as reaching areas of course that buggies currently do not.

There are, of course, concerns that coming out of a pandemic where many people have been fairly inactive, this is another way for golfers to avoid having to walk, but Hughes claims that the golf boards will not replace walking and instead provide a different way to exercise.

“The boards do have a bit of a lifestyle to them in that they do provide a bit of exercise, you still need a bit of movement when you’re on them,” he explains.

“People will use them, people will try them. Some people do enjoy going out and having a bit of a walk, but if you want to get out and have a quick round of golf, the option is there to have the boards.

“A lady up in Shandon, in the last two years she hadn’t played 18 holes because she had a bad knee. When she tried our boards, she said to me, ‘This is life-changing, I can enter club competitions again because I can get the full 18 on this’.

“It’s really down to personal choice.”

For more information, check out egss.golf online.

Meanwhile, Beth Coulter opened the Spanish Women’s Amateur Championship with a two-over 74 at Royal Club de Golf Pineda in Sevilla to sit tied-33rd after the opening day.

The top 32 after today’s second round qualify for the match-play section, which begins tomorrow.


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