Once a futuristic dream of the Space Age, hovercrafts may soon appear at your local golf course.
Windy Knoll Golf Club in Springfield, Ohio has begun the movement by purchasing two of the futuristic vehicles. Patrons can use them beginning later this month.
Peter Duffey, the managing director of the public course, credits a YouTube video by PGA golfer Bubba Watson with the idea.
“It basically looks like a hovercraft/golf cart. It’s got the traditional top. It’s got room for bags, but it’s a hovercraft that can go over everything: lakes, the greens, the bunkers, everything,” Duffey said. “So, that intrigued us, and we started making phone calls. After a couple days of discussion, we sent a down payment, and here we are about 90-100 days later. We are going to take the very first two off the assembly line.”
The company building the BW1 models is Indiana-based Neoteric Hovercraft. According to Duffey, just the idea of hovercrafts has people excited and business is booming at Windy Knoll even before the machines arrive.
“The weekend that we had last weekend was far and away the best weekend we had for play,” he said. “We see this as an opportunity promote our town of Springfield, Clark County, to promote our public golf course and we’re really excited at the opportunity.
The attraction of the new form of transportation could distract people from the main purpose of a golf course: golfing.
“You know what? I know [the hovercrafts are] going to be so much fun, golf may end up being kind of a secondary item for [players] as they’re on the golf course,” Duffey said.
There are a number of steps to make the grounds hover-proof given the larger size of the crafts, and the fact that they, well, hover.
“We are having some trees removed. We are having certain areas where there are things sticking out of the ground near or around where carts frequent at this point [cleaned up] ... we do not want to take the chance of being snagged on the air bladder,” Duffey said. “There will be a couple of lakes on the course that we are going to designate for the hovers to pass over. This is all still very new. There’s a lot of planning we’re going through as we speak.”
Perhaps the most important addition will be ways to distinguish where hovers can and can’t go. Otherwise, accidents could become the norm.
“We’re going to have to come up with some kind of a sign ... where it will instruct the pilots to go or not to go. This is a hover zone this is a hover-free zone,” he said, laughing.
And what will Windy Knoll do when the appeal of this new acquisition wanes?
“I guess we’ll look to YouTube and Bubba Watson and the other major sponsors in the world of golf to help us with that,” Duffey said.
This segment aired on July 20, 2013.