True Blue bringing hipness to golf with GolfBoards

True Blue Golf Club is bringing a little X Games to the game of golf.

The Pawleys Island course is the first in the Myrtle Beach market to feature GolfBoards, a new alternative to golf carts for individual players that resemble a hybrid of a skateboard, surfboard and snowboard.

The course had four GolfBoards delivered about a week ago and made them available to players last week at a cost of $29 above the cost of combined green and cart fees, adding a bit of fun and hipness to the centuries-old game.

“We’re happy to be the first to bring the product in,” said Bob Seganti, director of golf operations at True Blue and sister course Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. “We think it’s going to be great for us and great for golf in general. It’s been established at other high-end golf facilities around the world. We think it’s really going to be a boost for Myrtle Beach golf.”

Clubs go on the front of the battery-powered GolfBoard, which has four-wheel drive, a stabilizing handlebar and thumb accelerator button. A user steers the board by shifting weight – similar to a skateboard or surfboard.

True Blue’s GolfBoards will have a set speed limit of 10 mph. The board immediately slows to a stop if the user releases pressure on the accelerator button.

“It’s a completely unique experience playing golf with it,” Seganti said.

True Blue’s staff demoed GolfBoards in September throughout the property to test a variety of terrains.

“It seems to be a really safe product,” Seganti said. “Age is not a factor in using these boards. If you can stand up you can feel comfortable and safe using it.”

GolfBoards can be leased or purchased for $6,500 each, according to Todd Barlow, GolfBoard’s Coastal Carolinas sales representative.

True Blue will start with four and may increase its numbers based on demand. It also plans to introduce them to Caledonia early in 2016.

“We want to test the marketplace and make sure they’ll be a viable revenue stream,” Seganti said. “Based on initial response we don’t think that will be an issue at all.”

GolfBoards provide more exercise than a golf cart, and golfers have to sign a waiver before using one. “You get a leg and core workout by the time you’re done playing,” Seganti said.

Weighing 115 pounds, the boards have less agronomical impact compared to golf carts. “Every superintendent I think would get behind it because there’s less impact on the turf,” Seganti said. “Everything is positive about it. About the only possible negative is it’s not ideal in the rain because you don’t have a canopy over your head.”

A post on True Blue’s Facebook page stating it will have GolfBoards resulted in hundreds of responses. “Interest has been amazingly high,” Seganti said. “We’ve had people call and say they want to play the property because we have the board. There seems to be a lot of excitement about it coming to the marketplace.”

GolfBoard is the creation of Bally Total Fitness founder Don Wildman and legendary big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, and was debuted at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in January 2014. That’s where Seganti first saw it.

It is gaining steam in the industry. Barlow said Billy Casper Golf has committed to buy 3,500 over three years, with at least 25 at each of its courses, Troon Golf has given its approval for use at any of its courses, and ClubCorp is in the midst of GolfBoard trials.

It is at several high-profile locations, including World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., and has been in Brunswick County since July at Magnolia Greens Golf Course in Leland, N.C.

Seganti believes True Blue is the third golf facility in South Carolina to feature GolfBoards. Jason Monahan, the head pro at Meadowlands Golf Club and Farmstead Golf Links in Little River and Calabash, N.C., is considering GolfBoards at his facilities.

“We’ve made a lot of inroads with big companies who have done their due diligence,” Barlow said. “We’re at the point now where we feel it will be at every course the same way golf carts are now. It’s just a matter of how long it will take.”

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin