When CGB got an invite from The Country Club of Colorado to try GolfBoards, we could barely contain our excitement. We had all seen the promo videos, but we we also heard some horror stories, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. In the pro shop we learned there was a training video and liability waiver we’d have to sign prior to taking them out on the course, but that wasn’t about to stop us from the prospect of shredding down the manicured fairways of C.C.C. on these things. (We ended up skipping the video, by the way — safety first!)
The GolfBoard setup is brilliantly simple: a wide board platform — a little bigger than your average mountain board — mounted on two axels and four sturdy tires. A large handle bar is fixed to the front of the board with forward/reverse and speed controls (high or low), a very basic cupholder, and bag straps on the front for weight distribution, but the handlebar is not used for steering. The steering mechanism is controlled by moving the board platform itself, much like snowboarding’s toe and heel turns. The sturdy build gives you confidence in the machine’s durability, and the wheels and tires prove capable of handling most any course landscape like your standard golf cart.
When we first laid eyes on the GolfBoard in person, though, there was definite hesitation. I’m not sure why I thought differently, but the boards are a lot bigger than what I expected, and seeing the attendant trying to maneuver the thing out of the cart barn hinted that this wasn’t going to be a get-on-and-go kind of situation.
After some peer pressure and not wanting to disappoint our hosts, the first ride was a quick circle in front of the pro shop. But it wasn’t quick if you include all the stop and gos, awkward bailouts and near crashes.
These things are heavy. At 165 pounds, I’d venture to say I’m pretty close to the same weight of a GolfBoard itself, or less, and even as a veteran snowboarder I had a lot of trouble maneuvering it at low speeds, especially on pavement. Turning radius wasn’t on my mind at all until I was actually standing on the board, and it takes some getting used to the fact that they basically have none — seriously, You’ll make sharper turns in a club cart. I also struggled to keep myself from trying to rely on the handle to steer like a scooter.
Truth be told, the majority of our foursome grew skeptical of the boards after our short jaunt in front of the pro shop, so our videographer, Dave, was assigned to take the only one we had off the first tee. A couple holes in, though, it was clear our test rides were far from the actual GolfBoard experience. Watching Dave tear down the no.1 and 2 fairways quickly had us all itching for a turn.
These things haul down the fairways and rough on the high speed setting — and it’s incredible how much easier it is to maneuver them on turf. The smooth ride is ridiculously fun, and makes it hard to focus on your shot planning when all you can think about is getting back on the board and pulling the throttle back. The good times only slow down again moving between greens and tee boxes — basically anytime you’re on pavement or making turns of any kind.
It’s is easy to feel like you’re losing control of the board and not know how to react when things get dicey at-speed. From my personal experience I can tell you: Just bail off the board, safely, and let the automatic brake stop the it before something catastrophic happens to one or both of you.
By the time each of us had a turn on the board we were hooked. After a round of 18 C.C.C. was gracious enough to offer our group another 9, with 3 more GolfBoards, and we couldn’t say no.
With each of us equipped with a board one thing became abundantly clear: enjoying this kind of thrill while playing the game we love is one thing, but GolfBoards enable an incredible pace of play when playing ready golf. After our foursome’s first 18 with one board and two carts — coming in at just over 3.5ish hours — we made quick work of the pristine back 9 with the 4 boards, in just under an hour and a half (including plenty of time “testing” the product.)
GolfBoards are available in several makes and models for retail — with accessories available — but with a high price point you’re better off getting your kicks at a “showcase” course. GolfBoard makes it easy with a nationwide GolfBoard course finder.
In all, the GolfBoard delivers an exciting, one-of-a-kind experience to add to what we love about the sport of golf. It’s an icing on the cake product with the added benefit of faster pace of play and a roaring good time. It’s damn near impossible not to have fun when you’re cruising fairways on one of these, and fun is what this game is all about.
The new age of golf has become a melting pot of tradition, performance, and modern style. Clothing and shoe companies have always been front and center when it comes to new trends, but there are other trailblazers in the equipment game, too.
Jones Golf Bags is one of those trendsetters, staying on the cutting edge of performance and design with a nod to the game’s traditional style. The company began out of the trunk of a cab, from which founder George Jones sold is hand-sewn bags. More than 40 years later, the company produces some of the most durable and stylish bags we’ve ever carried.
When shopping Jones’ lines it’s apparent the company holds traditional designs close to heart. This means sleek, compact bags with fewer but larger storage compartments, and built to be carried. Jones’ carry bags (ranging from $139.95 to $169.95) top out at under 4lbs, and the sturdy, plush shoulder straps make for an easy trek no matter the model.
The Jones Original is the most traditional of the designs. It’s simply beautiful — literally and figuratively — with a classic unstructured body, 3-way top divider, and a single shoulder strap. This is the bag that started it all, as the web description notes.
Jones graciously sent CGB a pair of customized Utility Bags, among the company’s stand bag offerings (ranging from $174.95 to $229.95). After the gitty-ness of the unboxing wore off, the quality of the bags stood out. The water resistant nylon has proven to withstand an ample amount of fall and winter golf in Colorado without wear and tear, and the sturdy, smooth zippers make access to storage quick and easy. The Utility also sports the new “draw string” pouch for even quicker access to on-course essentials.
Jones calls its patented stand system the “gold standard,” and that sounds like a safe bet. Not matter the lie, the legs hold the bag steady and fold back into place smoothly when picked up, rivaling only one other bag I’ve ever played. During my high school career — when my love/hate relationship with walking the course began — our hand-me-down Ping Hoofer 2s were among the most coveted equipment. The reliability of the stand system and the simple design brought solace to our agonizing practice rounds, and no one wanted to return them at the end of season. I later switched to Ogio, and while durable and convenient I always struggled to find a design that wasn’t too modern for my taste, or didn’t have a bunch of features I didn’t need.
At capacity, the Utility is a cinch to carry (about 5lbs when empty) — I usually pack a couple sleeves of balls, range finder, water, snacks, tees and markers, and extra layers, along with the standard number of clubs. The standard single strap is more than enough to keep this bag comfortable on my shoulder, though it does come with an additional strap if you prefer the backpack-style carry. It feels strange to note how comfortable a golf bag is, but in this case it’s hard not to.
In all, we’re blown away with Jones’ offerings and believe we’ve found a new benchmark to which we’ll compare the rest. Golf has always been a game of style, class, and tradition, and it always will be. Companies like Jones Golf Bags exude that aesthetic, finding a perfect balance between the then and now, and setting the standard for the game’s next generation.
One of Colorado’s most-lauded municipal courses, Pueblo’s Walking Stick Golf Course (4301 Walking Stick Blvd., walkingstickpueblo.com) should be on the must-play list for anyone visiting the area.
The course has made plenty of other “best” lists already, being named “Colorado’s best golf value,” and second “best in state,” by Golf Digest in 1993, and included in the magazine’s 1996 “America’s Top 75 Affordable Courses” list.
The par-72 course borders the CSU Pueblo campus — serving as the home course for the college — with sweeping views of the front range and the southern face of Pikes Peak. The course landscape screams southwestern Colorado, with cacti, yucca plants and desert wildflowers dominating the native areas, and a stunning arroyo housing the high desert wildlife (lost balls beware).
Despite some intimidating looks from the tee box, Walking Stick is very inviting. Landing areas are fairly wide, and reachable for players of any length, and the rough is very playable — even the native hazards yield playable lies in most cases, but beware of snakes! Aside from and handful of tee-to-green challenges, Walking Stick can facilitate low scores, but don’t sleep on this course.
Starting with a wide, straight and short par 4 at no. 1, the layout gets you thinking low scores, especially long hitters, but Walking Stick’s real challenge is its greens. Though fairly large, tiered greens with multiple breaks, false fronts and slopes are a factor here, and the pin placements don’t make things any easier. While the fairways offer the chance to get aggressive on your approach, strategically placed bunkers and fairway undulations also come into play.
One of most challenging holes on the course is the 544-yard par 5 at no.4. The long, arching dogleg left hugs the gorgeous arroyo and keeps the green — and a sneaky pot bunker — from view until your second or third shot. Playing the right side is a must here, and your only chance of reaching the green in two. If you’re left from the tee, a layup is all but guaranteed.
According to the course guidebook, we should note, no.7 is the most difficult hole at Walking Stick. The 462-yard par 4 begins with an intimidating tee shot over an expanse of native area. Again, favoring the right side in your approach will yield the best results, as a miss right will keep you out of a greenside bunker on the left.
No.12 has to be considered one of Walking Stick’s signature holes. The 160-yard par 3 is intimidating from the tee, if you can even see the green. It may as well be an island green, playing in the middle of the arroyo with a small bailout area front left of the green. Too short, left, right or long means trouble from the tee, but if you’re lucky with your miss you may find a play from below the green, or in the right greenside bunker.
While finishing the back 9 it’ll be evident Walking Stick deserves all the credit it’s given as a one of the state’s best municipal courses. From tee to green, the layout is playable for players at all levels yet challenging enough to keep low handicappers on their game. The practice facilities include a full driving range, chipping and putting greens, though space can be limited at times just like any other muni — all the more reason to kill some time at the full restaurant and bar.
We’ll be keeping Walking Stick near the top of our best municipal courses list.
Robin Horvath (left), Martin Borgmeier (center), Jordan Brooks (right), are the top three finishers in the 2018 LDET season (Photo: Long Drivers European Tour)
It was not the way anyone wanted to end the 2018 Long Drive European Tour season. Torrential weekend rains battered Panorámica Golf in Spain. According to the LDET, area roads were blocked with up to 50 centimeters of flood water on the pavements, electrical power was lost, and the grid itself saw spots of standing water and sand deposits. And while some say conditions remained playable, the tour made the difficult decision to pull the plug on the event.
That capped off an amazing year for Germany’s The Beard Borgmeier, having won 3 other events and securing his new title as the 2018 LDET Champion. “What happened this year with Long Drive was a U-turn in my life,” Borgeier says in a post-event address.
But the Beard wasn’t the only LDET player with a standout 2018. The Hungarian Hulk Horvath also notched 3 wins, hit the season’s longest drive (443), and was a mere 400 points short of Borgmeier in final ranking points. “It was an amazing season for me,” he told the crowd. “I’m very happy for everything.”
Though England’s Jordan Brooks didn’t get the chance to strut his stuff in the season finale either, he finishes the season, with one win, 4,500 points, and the no.3 LDET ranking. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence going through the season,” Brooks said. “I feel like I belong amongst the top players.”
“2018 was an amazing season,” Xavier Eusebio, LDET CEO, says. “The tour visited 9 countries, and the competition level has been very high, with a lot of competitors from around Europe, and also US, Canada, South Africa, and more.”
Though the LDET’s 2018 season finale was marred by weather and drama, it shouldn’t take away from the landmark season the tour had. A debut in Russia and a first-of-its-kind Nations Cup event, exceptional players and exciting competition all speak to more good things to come in 2019.
Whales’ Bry Roberts (left) and England’s Jordan Brooks (right) are your LDET Nations Cup champions. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)
Tiger Woods wasn’t the only big winner in the world of Golf this past weekend. Before the Big Cat teed off on Sunday, two big hitters hoisted the Long Drivers European Tour‘s inaugural Nations Cup trophy on Saturday, September 22. Jordan Brooks and Bry Roberts were the last men standing after battling against two-man teams of some of the best players the LDET has to offer in a first-of-its-kind event.
The morning began with the qualifying round to advance to the afternoon finals. Along with Brooks and Roberts, repping England and Whales, respectively, 5 other teams were assembled by players and fellow countrymen: Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier and Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath made for one of two all-German teams, Timo Petrasch and Daniel Kleiner being the second; Dewald Lubbe and Christo Pretorius made up the South African team; Alex Lange and Matthieu Moraschetti represented Germany and France, respectively; and Chris Latta of Scotland and José Quilis of Spain made up the final team.
The qualifying format was pretty straight forward, one set per match with an aggregated distance of the team — the best two teams automatically advanced to the quarterfinals. First up was The Beard/Hulk’s formidable team facing off against the South Africans (Lubbe/Pretorius) in what some would have thought was a lock for the Germans. But Lubbe and Pretorius combined for 696 yards, besting Borgmeier and Horvath’s 669. Soon after, Brooks and Roberts began their day against Latta and Quilis, easily advancing 363 to OB (0 yards). Petrasch and Kleiner also made quick work of Lange and Moraschetti 695 to 561.
Borgmeier and Horvath had a chance for redemption in the 4th match of the qualifiers, failing to hit the grid (0 yards) against Brooks and Roberts’ 361 while still clinging to a quarter final position. And Lubbe and Pretorius got some momentum going in the 6th match against Lang and Moraschetti, taking it 371 to 270.
The quarterfinals format brought individual player scores and aggregated distances (for the third set) into the mix. Borgmeier and Horvath once again found themselves facing Brooks and Roberts, and upped their game accordingly going 357/378/706. But it was too little too late to overcome Brooks and Roberts’ 358/351/709, and the number 1 and 2 ranked LDET players made an early exit from the competition. Petrasch and Kleiner continued their run against Lange and Moraschetti, advancing to the semis 337/365 to 316/OB.
The inaugural LDET Nations Cup competitors and sponsors/volunteers. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)
Team Brooks/Roberts seemed to hit the after burners in the opening semifinal round, topping Latta/Quilis 382/364/717 to 340/365/690 for a spot in the finals. Lubbe/Pretorius were up against a hot Petrasch/Kleiner team, but the Germans failed to hit the grid in the quarters (OB/OB) and paved the way for the South African team to advance (350/325).
And so the stage was set for the final round of one of the most anticipated events of the 2018 LDET season. Brooks and Roberts dropped two on the grid in the finals, 316 and 351, while the South Africans’ hot stick, unfortunately, cooled, going OB/346 and claiming the 2nd position on the Nations Cup podium. With the win, Brooks finds himself back in the no.3 spot of the LDET rankings with 4,500 points, trailing Horvath (no.2, 5,300 points) and Borgmeier (no.1, 5,700 points). Roberts is sitting in the no.5 spot with 3,000 points.
After strong showings of their own, Pretorius (no.7) and Latta (no.8) have punched their tickets to next month’s LDET Masters Cup as well, surely making their respective countries proud. Joining Pretorius and Latta at the Masters CUP are the tour’s top six players — Borgmeier, Horvath, Brooks, Lubbe, Roberts, and 2017 LDET champion Matt Nicole. If that’s not reason enough to tune in (Saturday 20th October, at Spain’s Panorámica Golf Resort), this year’s Masters Cup will also mark something of a milestone for the LDET, becoming the 50th event in the tour’s 6-year history. With 1,000 points on the table for the Masters Cup winner, who will claim the title of 2018 LDET Champion is still anyone’s guess.