Well-known Hawaii big wave surfer Laird Hamilton has helped develop a product aimed at adding a little more adrenaline to a round of golf while both speeding up the pace of play and attracting more young people to the sport.
Dubbed the GolfBoard, the battery-operated machine enables duffers to "surf the earth" between shots on an impressively agile set of four wheels, which has turned a lot of heads since its 2014 release.
"It's a blast," said Josh Sillman, director of golf at the Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii, about riding the GolfBoard.
"When you carve left and right down a decent slope, you really get a sensation of snowboarding or surfing or even wakeboarding," he added. "And it's very intuitive. It's also easy to learn."
The Mauna Kea Resort, home to the popular Hapuna and Mauna Kea 18-hole courses, is one of a handful of golf destinations across the Islands that have added the GolfBoards in recent months.
Four men try out GolfBoards at the Mauna Kea Resort on the Big Island. Photo Credit: Andrew Crawford
Other courses include the Princeville Makai Golf Course on Kauai, the Maui Country Club and the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island. Sillman, however, said that as of late August, you'll find the most GolfBoards at the Mauna Kea Resort.
"With 24 of them, we have more than the rest of the state does combined," he reported.
Sillman is happy to work with travel agents interested in booking a GolfBoard round for clients, and he added that the machines are helping to sell more golf at the property while attracting more young folks. And some teenagers are having so much fun on their first experience, they're coming back the next day to take the GolfBoards out again.
Sillman was also quick to note, however, that the new approach to between-shot transportation has also been a hit with older players.
"We thought it would really bring in a younger crowd, which it has, but our membership is an average of 60-plus, and there are many of them who are just loving this," Sillman said. "They're jumping on and riding these GolfBoards instead of a golf cart, in part because you do get a little bit of aerobic activity and a little bit of a core workout for your body, and that makes them feel that much better about playing golf."