Prototype Development Review
DivnickGolf has designed an electric peddle-assist folding bike as its entry into the single-rider challenge! The golf industry is in a 10 year slump of declining rounds-played which is the leading indicator of golf industry health, not withstanding the temporary "Covid-Bounce" of 2020. One of the major reasons for fewer rounds is the length of time it takes to play. If everyone had their own cart, they could go straight to their own ball which would speed the game up considerably. There is a golf-industry challenge to develop the best single-rider device, and DivnickGolf is at the forefront of that contest.
Click here or on the picture to see a 30 second Youtube video. It shows me riding the first prototype eBike and "Auto-Tilt Bag Carrier". The photos further below show the updated aluminum bag carrier.
This page will discuss the following topics
- The industry pressure toward single rider options
- Disadvantages of most of the early designs
- Introducing the DivnickGolf eBike
- Advantages of the DivnickGolf eBike with photos
- How will golf courses respond to golfers bringing their own riding device?
- Golf Course eBike Rental Options
- Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- Specifications of the DivnickGolf eBike
Industry pressure toward single rider options
At last couple of annual PGA Shows in Orlando Florida, there have been multiple companies introducing single-rider devices that come in many shapes and styles. They have 2, 3, or 4 tires. Some are sit-down, some are stand-up. They include modified 4-wheel ATV's, 2-wheel self-balancing devices, and modified mobility carts. As you can see in the accompanying pictures, they mount the golf bags on the back or front, or between the rider's legs. Some are very unique. They all speed up the game because the rider can go straight to his or her own ball and don't have to share a 2-person cart which takes twice the time.
You can read more about these devices by searching for “single rider golf carts”. For an interesting review, search “Bubba Watson golf cart”. You will find him demonstrating a hovercraft and a single rider jet pack. Gimmicks? Maybe. Expensive? Definitely. But all the narratives highlight the push toward new transportation on the golf course.
There are industry articles promoting single-rider golf options as a necessity for the future of golf (search “single rider golf cart articles”) . Chris Nickel has written an article in MyGolfSpy titled, “The Two-Person Golf Cart Needs To Die” which makes very strong arguments for the benefits of single-rider options to the golf industry.
The golf industry is changing. It MUST change. Speeding up the game will attract more players and retain them longer. That is why I call this, “The Single-Rider Challenge.”
Traditional golf carts were first introduced in the 1930's and it took 20 years before they were commonplace. With today's fast exchange of information and technology, we believe single-rider devices will become the norm much faster. Our goal at DivnickGolf is to provide golfers the best single-rider option and the opportunity to experience the freedom a DivnickGolf eBike provides.
This page will show you why we believe that the DivnickGolf eBike is the best single-rider option in the marketplace.
Covid Pandemic Effect and Lessons for Single Rider Golf
As a result of the Covid Pandemic, for a good share of 2020, golf courses around the world limited riders to 1-person-per-cart. No one would ever have suggested that all golf courses around the world spend 2 or 3 months conducting a test with 1-person-per-cart to see how it speeds up the game. But that is what happened. And the results have been dramatic with many courses reporting that at least 1 hour faster rounds. So this pandemic-driven experiment will become a critical element in the discussion and movement toward single rider options. It's not as if common sense doesn't already know that single-rider options will speed up the game. But it is always nice to have real-world proof.
Introducing the DivnickGolf eBike
The video linked at the top of this page is of our first prototype bag carrier which was made out of plywood. It worked great for proof-of-concept. After experimenting with a series of other prototype carriers, we settled on formed-aluminum which is stronger and more versatile than tube-construction which is the norm for push-carts and carriers. Our system not only carries the bag, it is also a rock-solid auto-tilt kick stand which doubles as a brake which is important on uneven ground.
It is very quick and easy for the golfer to install the bag carrier, and then to remove it after the round so they can easily fold their bike for storage or travel. Our proprietary pivot-blocks quick-attach to the side of the rear rack as shown in the video below. They are made from UHMW which is durable self-lubricating plastic which also protects the beautiful powder-coated painted rack.
Click on any of the following pictures to enlarge them, then click anywhere on the screen away from the photos to close them.
The DivnickGolf eBike is built with components and options that make it great for golf. It has a heavy-duty step-through frame with an extra heavy main hinge, a 750 watt high torque motor, and a quality Samsung 48 volt 14.5 amp hour battery. The rack is welded to the frame and much lower to the fender than other bikes so it will handle the weight of a golf bag. Our eBike also has upgraded front suspension and a suspension seat for a smooth and comfortable ride, full fenders and a mud-flap on the front so wet grass doesn't get thrown all over the bike and rider, upgraded disk brakes, and several other features that are not found on most eBikes. And of course, it has our proprietary Auto-Tilt Bag Carrier.
The battery can be recharged on the bike, or it can be removed and taken inside. The LCD display shows speed, battery life, peddle assist level, and some other elements.
When you take it out on the road, it has a headlight, parking brake, and brake light for added safety. You don't need a special license to ride it. Your local state bicycle rules apply...be sure to know them.
Advantages of the DivnickGolf eBike
The DivnickGolf eBike is the best single rider option for a variety of reasons. In addition to speeding up the game, the DivnickGolf eBike has the following advantages over the other current models:
- More Affordable: It is affordable for individual consumers at around $2,000. We will announce final pricing when we are ready for production. It can be purchased by golf courses and rented to golfers, but that is not a requirement.
"The game needs modernization to bring in the next generation."
- Multi-use: It can be ridden to-and-from the golf course, to work, to school, or to the market to pick up a gallon of milk! So it is not limited to golf like the other single-rider devices. It will easily go two rounds on one battery charge and still have 25% battery remaining.
- No Operators License Required: It is governed by bicycle rules. You do not need to get a motorcycle license. (Consult your State's laws.)
- Peddle Assist: It can provide any level of exercise that the golfer desires. The golfer can use his or her own leg power (which is challenging on soft grass and hills) or use the “peddle-assist” motor which has 5 settings from a little bit of help to doing most of the work. Or, you can just use the thumb throttle and let the bike do all the work.
- Ergonomic Storage: It folds up and fits into the trunk of your car, so you don’t need an additional costly bike rack on the back of your car. I haul mine in my mini-van with the back seat down. I just lower the handlebars and the front tire fits between the middle-row seats.
- Smooth Riding Tires: The tires are low pressure, 4 inche wide x 20 inch diameter "fat tires" so they are turf-friendly and don’t leave an impression in the grass. The 20 inch tires combined with front fork suspension and the suspension seat results in a smoother ride than a conventional golf cart. The tread is “universal” so it grips the grass solidly without damage, and you can ride it on cart paths and the road.
- Fast and Easy Auto-Tilt Kick-Stand-Bag-Carrier: DivnickGolf’s proprietary quick-attach auto-tilting bag carrier doubles as a kick stand, so it is very stable with a low center of gravity compared to kick stands with bags mounted higher on the bike. It tilts out easily and automatically pivots back to vertical when the rider takes off so it is faster than a kick stand, and never sinks into soft ground. Some bicycles have been used on golf courses, but if you have 80 to 100 shots per round, operating the kick stand every time is a real pain.
- Easy Operation: Everyone already knows how to ride a bicycle, so the learning-curve is very quick and simple…one time around the parking lot and you are ready to go.
|As soon as I saw you take off on your eBike, I knew I had to try it. And when I tried it I KNEW I had to have one! I was amazed at the agility, the "easy on, easy off" access, and the simplicity of it! It has a suprising amount of power, and is easy to steer and control. And I love the soft ride of the bike up and down hills and all over the course. When you get to my age (65 plus) you begin to appreciate the kind of energy playing 18 holes takes, but I'm not ready to just cave to the inevitability of riding a cart for 18 holes. With this eBike peddle assist I have the ability to exercise at my pace without wearing myself out by pulling a cart or walking and carrying my bag. And talk about speeding up the game--using the eBike gets you more efficiently around the course. Your eBike's handsome look, compact storage and ergonomic design are added bonuses. I think it's the bike of the future and the future is here!
How do golf courses respond to golfers bringing their own eBike?
Many golf courses in retirement areas already allow you to bring your own cart. Sometimes they charge only a walking fee, and others charge a “trail fee” which is less than if you rent a cart from them. Golf courses typically want to rent their own carts which adds to their revenue, so some initially see privately-owned riding devices as competing with that revenue. At the same time, golf courses need to attract more golfers so they understand that ebikes fill a need and will increases overall revenue.
"We need to make sure that we’re attracting and growing new fans. We are doubling down on our commitment to technology and innovation."
Joe Arcuri, PGA Tour CMO
Increased Revenue for Golf Courses - The positive approach to golf courses is to point out that allowing single-rider devices will attract new golfers who will not only pay green fees, they will get range balls, buy food, and spend money in the pro shop. The negative approach is to point out that not allowing single-rider devices will push those golfers to other courses that do. In our area of Southwest Ohio, some of the golf courses have welcomed us to bring our own golf bikes, so naturally, those are the courses where we golf. As our numbers increase, it won’t take long before other golf courses recognize that encouraging golfers with ebikes is good for their revenue.
Pandora's Box? Some courses might initially worry that allowing ebikes will open up a Pandora’s box of machines on their course. But that isn’t likely, and it is easy to limit it to devices that are turf-friendly, electric, quiet, and not distracting to other golfers. They won’t have to worry about someone wanting to ride their Harley Davidson on the golf course.
Liability? Another concern is liability. What if someone has an accident on their eBike on the golf course? That is a logical question, but covered by the same liability rules that already govern any accident on the golf course. What if a golfer gets hit by a ball? What if a golfer sprains his ankle in a gopher hole? What if a golfer slips on a bridge? What if a golfer hits a ball through a homeowners window? What if someone drives a cart into the lake? The same liability rules would apply to someone on an eBike. And if requested, those of us with eBikes will gladly sign a liability waiver.
Trail Fees? We will be developing a searchable database of courses that allow Golf eBikes, and that will include if they charge a trail fee or just charge a walking fee. Our hope is that golf courses will “encourage” golf eBikes by not charging a trail fee which would be seen by eBikers as a penalty. After all, golf courses don’t charge people who bring electric push carts, so it isn’t a necessity to charge for an electric bicycle just because the person rides it rather than walks beside it. Both devices “use” the golf course trails, paths and grass.
Golf is a game of traditions, and some will resist eBikes because of that. But to be sure, golf’s traditions have changed over the years…always with initial resistance.
There was a time when golfers only used 3 clubs called the Mashie, Niblick, and Spoon. Today we have 14 different clubs. Can you just imagine the resistance today if someone tried to add a 15th club? Or in the case of DivnickGolf, a single club with a transmission in the head that can be locked on more than 34 different lofts? If our technology had existed 150 years ago, it might be the norm today.
There was a time when golfers only hit the ball off the bare ground. Then someone piled up a mound of sand and placed the ball on it so it would be easier to hit. Surely a competitor said, “You can’t do that.” To which the sand-piler replied, “Well, if we all do it, then it will be fair.” Then one of the other guys probably said, “OK, but let’s agree to do it only on the first shot of each hole.” And thus, the “tee” was born. Today, we all place our golf balls on a little stick of wood for the first shot of every hole making it much easier to hit the ball.
Hickory shafts gave way to steel shafts and now graphite. Drivers with persimmon heads are gone. Even steel heads have been replaced by titanium.
There was significant initial resistance to 2-person golf carts introduced in the 1930’s. Tradition said it wasn’t golf if you didn’t use a caddy. But traditions change with new technology and options. It took 20 years before they were accepted at elite courses, and another 20 before they were common at public courses. Now they are the norm, and even considered the tradition.
But lets look at the two person golf cart through the eyes of the industry’s need to dramatically reduce the time it takes to play a round of golf. Two person golf carts take TWICE as long as a single-rider cart. One of the golfers is just sitting there, waiting his or her turn. They don’t know their yardage, they don’t know which club they will use, they don’t know what kind of swing they will need to make. They can’t even begin to plan their shot until after their riding partner hits his or her ball.
"The golf industry must reduce the amount of time to play a round of golf. Single-rider devices can reduce the time more dramatically than any other element of the game."
Steve Divnick, Golf Inventor
With a DivnickGolf eBike, golfers can ride straight to their ball, line it up, select their club, and visualize their shots while the others in their foursome are doing the same thing.. They can truly play “ready golf” and swing away…all four players without long periods of waiting for others to go through the process of getting ready and finally executing their shot.
It is time for another golf tradition to change. It is time for 2-person carts to give way to single-rider options, or at the very least, for golf courses to welcome those of us who want to bring them at our own expense.
We are optimistic that most, if not all golf courses will quickly become as open to golfers bringing their own eBikes as they are to golfers bringing their own clubs and shoes.
Golf Course eBike Rental Options
In addition to encouraging golf courses to allow golfers to bring their own eBikes, we will encourage courses to get some eBikes to rent. This is revenue they are already familiar with, and our eBikes will have the added advantage of having a much smaller impact on their budget than other single rider options, along with the benefits of offering exercise for their golfers. Remember, other single-rider options only offer faster golf. They do not offer exercise. DivnickGolf eBikes offer faster golf AND as much exercise as the golfer wants.
Another revenue stream for golf courses will come when some of those golfers will want to buy their own DivnickGolf eBike which will generate a commission for the golf course. We think this will be one of the best ways to sell our eBikes. The golfer will get to experience the eBike before making a buying decision. In that sense, every rental is a demo with additional revenue for the golf course.
Is anyone else offering electric bicycles for golf?
Yes. There have been a variety of bicycle-golf devices over the years. The early versions were on conventional bikes that had to stay on the cart paths because of their thin tires. As you can see in the accompanying pictures, designs included little trailers that tow the golf clubs or bag holders on the front or rear.
More recent versions include fatter tire bikes such as the green golf bike pictured here and further down. These are peddle bikes (no motors) which are very difficult to peddle on grass and up hills. You have to be extremely fit to complete a full round, even on level courses. They have saddle-bags for clubs which, if you rent one on a golf couse, requires you to empty your clubs and other golf paraphernalia out of your golf bag and put it into the saddle bags at the beginning of the round, then transfer everything back into your bag at end of the round. They don't have fenders which is a big problem if the grass is wet...which is at least every morning in many climates. Also, these bikes are not folding, so if you buy one and transport it to the couse, you have to hang them on a rear hitch bike carrier for transport which is added cost, or have a pickup or other large-enough vehicle. Still, they illustrate one of the early bike entries into the single-rider trend.
Some electric eBike owners have rigged up bag carriers mounted on an extended rack frame on the back of the bike like the two pictured at the bottom of this montage. Unfortunately, this makes it very top-heavy which is a problem for the conventional kick stand. People with these bikes report that they fall over a couple times a round, especially in windy conditions or on soft ground. And they can't park them on a hill or uneven ground which means they often can't park right next to their ball.
I met the three men pictured below at a local golf course this past summer. They recently purchased their green peddle golf bikes and quickly learned that it was too difficult to peddle for a full round, especially on soft grass and up hills. So they purchased a battery and motor kit for the front hub. Of course, the traction isn't as good with front-wheel drive, and the motors are not integrated into the peddles. But what I love about this is that it demonstrates that there are golfers out there who are ready for a golf eBike.
You can buy peddle-assist electric bikes from Amazon, Ebay, and many other sources. Since the invention of the “hub motor,” eBikes are proliferating around the world as they increase the speed and range, and can carry much heavier loads than conventional peddle bicycles. However, most ebikes are not designed for the rigors of a golf course…especially hauling large men and our clubs! The eBikes you can buy for around $1500 are not designed for golf. They typically don't have enough power for soft grass and hills, and the batteries will not last a full round. Also, most of the racks on the back are bolted to the frame quite high above the fender or tire, so they will not handle the stress of carrying a golf bag. Our racks are heavy duty and welded low to the frame for a low center of gravity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How fast is the DivnickGolf eBike?
A: It will go over 20 mph so is quite a bit faster than traditional golf carts that top out at 13 mph. But as a practical matter, you probably wouldn’t ride it over 15 mph on the golf course, even though the larger-diameter soft tires, front shocks and suspension seat handle bumps a lot more smoothy than a traditional golf cart. .
Q: How much will it actually speed up the round?
A: To be sure, the practical limitation is whether or not the others in your foursome have eBikes, and if there are regular-pace golfers ahead of you in which case you would mostly get to your ball quickly and have to wait to hit it your shot. The ultimate will be when everyone on the course has their own single-rider device which is our goal. Advocates of single-rider devices estimate that it could cut the round in half compared to conventional carts. It is probably more practical to think of it as reducing the total time by one third. I can confirm that when I have ridden my bike with others in my foursome on conventional carts and no one is ahead of us, I am already at my ball while those sharing a cart are waiting on each other. Still, with no one in front of us, we have completed a round in 2 1/2 hours without feeling rushed. So if everyoneon the course had a single-rider device, I think 2 hour rounds will become common.
Q: Is it powerful enough to go up steep hills?
A: Yes. It has a 750-watt high torque motor and 7 quick-change gear speeds, so it will handle steep hills easily under its own motor power, plus the rider's leg power if desired. You won't ever have to "stand up" to peddle. There is plenty of power and gearing to handle the steepest hills with ease.
Q: How does it handle on wet grass?
A: It is very solid on wet grass. We have purposefully ridden up and down, and sideways on the steepest grass hills we could find without experiencing any slippage. I would also note that it crosses over ridges such as the edge of cart paths easily, as well as over small rocks on cart paths. The soft tires are very stable on all surfaces.
Q: How important are the full fenders?
A: Many ebikes have little or no fenders. But if the grass is even a little damp as it usually is from dew in the mornings, you and your bike will be COVERED in grass clippings. So full fenders are very important. Our production bikes have mud flaps on the front fenders to keep the bike frame and rider completely dry.
Q: Is it difficult to balance with the golf bag on the side.
A: No, not at all. You don’t even feel it. As kids, we all remember putting our left foot on the peddle and pushing off, then swinging our leg over the seat. But we could alsocoast as long as we wanted standing on the peddle without ever thinking about balancing. It is automatic.
Q: Does the bag kick stand work on hills?
A: Yes, very solidly. It not only serves as a kick stand, it becomes a “brake” locking the bike to the ground preventing it from rolling. It works on down hills, up hills, and side hills. When tilted out fully, it creates a posi-lock angle that transfers all the bag weight down into the ground which makes it super stable.
Q: Does the auto-tilt locking bag carrier only fit on a Divnick eBike?
A: It fits best on a Divnick eBike which is designed for the bag carrier with the low-mount welded rack. But it can also be adapted to existing ebike owners. It has full vertical rows of height-adjusting holes so it will fit any bike. Because of the variety of tube size and cross-bar orientations, we will be developing "kits" with adaptors for all bikes, as with the following report.
I want you to know how pleased I am with your Auto-Tilt Golf Bag Carrier. I thought it might make it difficult to balance since it is hanging on the side of the bike, but balancing is automatic. I can’t even feel it. Before getting your carrier, I used a tow-behind 2-wheel cart, but it was tippy, noisy, and I had to put my bike’s kick stand up and down between every shot which was a real hassle, especially on uneven ground. Your bag-carrier-as-kick-stand feature is fast and stable. It works smoothly and is quiet. When other golfers see me pull up to my ball and lean the bike over against the bag, then see it auto-tilt back when I take off, they want to take a closer look.
My RadRunner ebike with your bag carrier has given me the opportunity to continue to play golf when I thought I might have to give up the game. As an added bonus, I can ride my bike to and from the course which saves on gas. My home course has several steep hills and I just can’t walk the 18 holes any more. But I do still want to get some exercise while I play, and using a sit-down cart doesn’t provide that. My ebike with peddle assist is the perfect solution. I get just as much exercise as I can handle, and that is good for my health, and will keep me playing the game I love for many more years.
If the exercise, speed, and convenience wasn’t enough, I’ve crunched the numbers and it will pay for itself in 1 or 2 years just in cart-rental savings. That might not be exciting news for golf courses, but I am paying them green fees, and a lot more often than if I had to rent a cart, and hopefully for a lot more years.
Thank you for your great invention and service.
Oakley Smith, RadRunner1 ebike owner
Q: Why is DivnickGolf working on a riding device when its adjustable loft clubs make walking so easy?
A: That is a great question. Divnick Clubs are telescopic for easy travel and the Adjustable Loft Club can be used for the whole game which makes it VERY easy to walk. Even so, most of our customers use our clubs for travel and play with a full set at home. Plus, we have many senior customers who want exercise, but walking 18 can be hard on the joints. So the eBike is a great option for those reasons.
Q: Do you see this as something that will appeal to older golfers?
A: Absolutely. Riding a bike is easy. We all know how to do it. Riding an eBike is even easier. Of course, there will come a time when all of us have to put the clubs away. But when walking 18 holes becomes too difficult, riding a bike will EXTEND our ability to play golf, and provide much-needed exercise at the same time. That is also good news for golf courses and the golf industry because it will keep older golfers playing more years
"Innovation can help golf attract the younger generation."
Green Sports Alliance
Q: Will it attract younger golfers too?
A: Yes, that is one of the benefits of single-rider devices. They allow the game to be played faster which is critically important for youth and young adults. Younger generation players will also like the ability of the DivnickGolf eBike to provide as much exercise as they want. It will attract those who value fitness. It also has the appeal of environmentally-friendly electric power over gas-engines.
Q: What if it is raining?
A: That is one of the negatives. The eBike doesn't provide any protection from rain and it would be difficult to use an umbrella with the forward motion wind resistance. But then, most golfers don't like to play in the rain anyway, even if they can retreat to a conventional cart between shots.
Q: Will the DivnickGolf eBike include holders for a drink bottle, cooler box, scorecard board, sand bottle, and cell phone?
A: Yes. But all those things are also commonly available on Amazon, Ebay, Walmart and other stores. Not every golfer will want them, so we will probably offer them as options.
Q: How easily does the bike fold?
A: It is very quick and easy, as shown in the video below. It will easily fit into most car trunks. I have a mini-van, and I just fold the handlebars down, then insert the front tire in between the passenger seats. If you have a hitch-mount bicycle rack, you wouldn't need to fold the eBike at all. It only weighs about 40 pounds (18kg).
We had a little fun with an old picture of a lady riding a motorized 2-wheel scooter that appears to be about 100 years old.
With a little photo management, we added a golf bag and 4 old clubs on the front.
We are thinking we might use this picture in some social media advertisements! If you saw it somewhere, do you think you would click and read more?
I would love to hear your thoughts...
Specifications of the DivnickGolf eBike
Full specifications can be seen below.
Target Dates and Roll Out
Our first shipment of production eBikes are scheduled to arrive soon. These bikes have been purchased by a few customers who will be the first in their area to get feedback from other golfers and courses, and to help us develop experiences and stories that we will use for media announcements and a major launch in a few months.
If you would like to learn more about the DivnickGolf eBike with occasional updates, please CLICK HERE to open an email or copy and paste the applicable points below into an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) Please send me updates when available about the DivnickGolf eBike.
Feel free to call me if you have any questions: 937-384-0003 (9:00 am to 11 pm Eastern USA - same as New York time zone)