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New boards let you surf the holes at Sudden Valley Golf Course

Golfers at the Sudden Valley Golf Course now have the opportunity to surf through a round.

The golf course is trying out two GolfBoards, which looks like a surfboard on four wheels and has a stabilizing bar. A carrier on the front holds your golf clubs, so you only need to stand on the board and maneuver around the course. If it catches on, the golf course will order more, said Brian Kruhlak, director of golf at the Sudden Valley Golf Course.

The GolfBoard does less damage to the course than a traditional golf cart, but the main attraction is that it’s a fun way to get around the course, said Brock Sabo of Sol Boards Inc., a company out of Bend, Ore., that sells the GolfBoard.

The GolfBoard runs on an electric charge; according to the company’s website, it can go more than 18 holes between charges. It also has a four-wheel drive-train to handle different types of terrain, so golfers can track down those really lousy shots.

“It’s really a simple, easy machine to ride,” said Sabo.

The commercial GolfBoards have a low speed of 5 mph and a maximum of 10 mph (the maximum speed for the personal use GolfBoard is a little faster, at 14 mph). While standing on the board, turning is accomplished by shifting your weight like you would on a surfboard.

Golfers need to sign a waiver and get a quick training session the first time before heading out to the course, said Kruhlak. The rental rate for the GolfBoard is $25 for 18 holes, $15 for nine holes.

When Kruhlak first heard about the GolfBoard he didn’t think it would be a fit for Sudden Valley because of the 15th hole, which has a steep slope to go down. He tried out the 15th hole himself on a board and realized that by taking his thumb off the throttle, it came to an immediate stop. If someone loses their balance, they can just step off.

“If I hadn’t allowed him (Brock Sabo) to bring these out here, I wouldn’t have thought it would work,” Kruhlak said.

The GolfBoard is a relatively new product, winning the best new product award at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show. Sabo said that when they first started showing the product to golf course managers a couple of years ago, it was hard to get people to try it out. Golf is a very traditional sport, he said, so at first courses didn’t want anything to do with it. Once people began to realize it didn’t change the game itself, just how golfers got around, it started catching on.

“Now if you have a bad game of golf, at least you can have fun driving around,” Sabo said.

Sabo said the boards are quite stable and the bar is there to help. Early users of the GolfBoard have been younger, but some older, longtime golfers also are using them, he said. It’s also been popular with women golfers, Kruhlak said.

Details about the GolfBoard can be found at golfboard.com.

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