Single Rider Topics

This page will discuss the following topics

The golf industry and single rider options

At the 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, large skate-boards, 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.

"The most expensive thing about golf is not the land. It isn't the equipment. It isn't the green fees. It is the time. As an industry, we MUST find ways to speed up the game."
Steve Divnick, Inventor

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. The golf industry is changing. It MUST change. Speeding up the game will attract more players and retain them longer.

Rick Reimers, developer of the Sun Mountain 3-wheel push cart has observed, “A two-person golf cart is like a sofa on wheels. They sit down and that’s what they do for the rest of the day. They sit and wait.”

Traditional golf carts were first introduced in the 1930's and it took 20 years before they were commonplace at elite courses and another 10 before they were available at all courses. With today's fast exchange of information and technology, I believe single-rider devices will become the norm much faster. For a variety of reasons described on this page, DivnickGolf believes that ebikes are the best single-rider option, by far. By developing the auto-tilt bag carrier, it is our goal to help that belief become reality.

Why is single-rider golf necessary? Because golf is on a 20-year decline with the exception of the "Covid bounce." According to the National Golf Foundation, a high of 30.6 million golfers in 2003 has been reduced to 25 million with many of those only playing once or twice a year, hardly enough to be counted in the total and minimal benefit to their local courses. Over 1,200 courses have closed in the past 10 years (7.4% of the supply) and more than 700 (4.7%) in the past 5 years. The number of golfers between ages 18 and 34 has declined by 30 percent over the past 20 years. Seniors who play 2 or 3 times a week are not replacing ourselves with our adult children. These facts cannot be ignored. The golf industry must solve this before it is too late and the only courses that remain are for the few rich elite.

It just takes too long to play, and there are other activities competing for that kind of time. Millennials and Gen X consider the game far too slow — five hours or more to play 18 holes. That doesn't fit into their 21st century lifestyle. Golf courses must find ways to speed up the game, and single-rider golf is one of the easiest ways to do it. They resist at their own demise.

Covid Pandemic Bounce and Lessons for Single Rider Golf

During the initial months of the Covid Pandemic in 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 an average of 1 to 1 1/2 hours faster rounds. So this pandemic-driven experiment has become unintentional proof that single rider options speed up the game. It's not as if common sense doesn't already know that. But it is always nice to have real-world proof.

 

 

Disadvantages of early and current single rider designs

To help point out the advantages of ebikes, I first want to highlight the disadvantages of the other single rider designs.

  • They are VERY expensive, usually between $4,000 and $6,000 which is beyond the reach of most individual golfers. As such, they can only be purchased or leased by golf courses who rent them to golfers just as with traditional 2-person carts. But there is logical resistance to that because it would require the golf course to purchase twice as many rider devices which becomes more expensive than their traditional carts.

  • Even if they were affordable for individual purchase, most of them are not portable. They are not small enough to transport in the trunk of a car.

  • They can ONLY be used on the golf course. They are not suitable for any other purpose or riding experience. So their cost can only be justified for one thing.
  • They don't provide any exercise, and many golfers want to get exercise while they play, as evidenced by the millions of golfers who choose to walk.

  • With 2-wheel scooters and bikes, putting the kick stand up and down between EVERY shot is a hassle and time-consuming. And kick stands require mostly level ground and sink into soft grass, so stability is an issue, especially with a heavy golf bag on top of the scooter or bike.

  • Some of the designs are complicated and challenging to ride, so the golf course requires training and practice before they let you take them out.

 

Electric Bag Carts

Some people ask how single-rider options compare to motorized bag carts. Of course, you can't ride a bag cart, but they do provide a cost comparison that makes ebikes even more appealing. Below is an example of a good quality bag cart available from Costco for $1599.99 which is MORE than the cost of a very nice ebike. In fact, you can get a good basic ebike with a 500 watt motor, low step-through folding frame, fat tires, and full fenders for $899. How can this be? The answer is volume. Ebikes are popular all over the world. Volume brings competition, and competition always lowers cost. I have a friend who has purchased one of these bag carts. After the first couple of holes watching me ride my ebike and using the bag carrier as a kick stand he said, "Hey, I got ripped off! I can't even ride this thing, and you still get exercise with your bike!" That sums it up pretty well.

 

Advantages of E-Bikes

We believe that ebikes are the best single rider option for a variety of reasons. In addition to speeding up the game, ebikes have the following advantages over the other single-rider options:

"This is Winter Golf in East Tennessee. The temperature is in the 30’s but I’m loving golf on my ebike. It is so much more fun than riding in a sit-down cart. I can ride straight to my ball, get my yardage, take some practice swings, and play ready golf. Tilting the bag carrier into the kick stand mode is fast, and is great on hills. It holds my bike on the steepest terrain. Many guys ask if it is hard to balance with the bag on one side of my bike? I tell them I can't even tell it's back there, even with a regular cart bag and 13 clubs. I have a basket on the opposite side with my golf stuff, range finder, water, sand towel, scorecard etc.

"I got the bike because I have foot issues. Although the throttle has plenty of power by itself, I love the freedom of riding and getting as much exercise as I want."

Joe Grant, Tennessee

 

Summary of Advantages - Compared to Other Single Rider Devices

Feature Ebikes Other Single Rider Devices
Cost - Affordability $900 to $2,000 Over $5,000
Versatile, Multi-Use Great for golf, ride to-and-from the course, work, school, errands, family rides Only used for golf
Exercise As much, or as little as you want None, just sit or stand
Learning Curve - Safety As easy as riding a bicycle Requires safety training and practice
Attract New Younger Golfers Very popular with young Limited
Appealing to Seniors Great for getting non-stressful exercise while golfing None
Cost to Golf Courses None, golfers purchase their own Significant capital outlay and maintenance

 

"Ebikes will play an important role in the future of mobility, extending far beyond the traditional bike market."
Sam Chainani, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Counterpoint Global

 

 

 

Past electric bicycles for golf

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 picture montage, designs included little trailers that tow the golf clubs and bag holders on the front or rear.

More recent versions include fatter tire bikes such as the green golf bike pictured in the middle-right of this montage, and further down this page. These are pedal bikes (no motors) which are very difficult to pedal 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 course, 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 the 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 from dew in most climates. Also, these bikes are not folding, so if you buy one and transport it to the course, you have to hang it 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, and they have had modest success.

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. These bikes can easily fall over, especially in windy conditions, or on soft ground. And they can't be parked on a hill or uneven ground which means they often can't park close to their ball.

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. It tilts out easily and automatically pivots back to vertical when the rider takes off so it is much faster than a kick stand, and never sinks into soft ground. If you have 80 to 100 shots per round, operating the kick stand every time would be a real pain. We've eliminated that hassle and time. Our carrier tilts out as you get off your bike, so it doesn't take any more time, and it automatically pivots back to vertical when you take off.

I met the three men pictured below at a local golf course. They purchased their green pedal golf bikes and quickly learned that it was too difficult to pedal for a full round, especially on soft grass and up hills. So they purchased batteries and motor kits for the front hubs. Of course, the traction isn't as good with front-wheel drive, and the motors are not integrated into the pedals. But what I love about this is that it demonstrates that there are golfers out there in every city who are ready for golf ebikes.


 

 

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.

 

single-rider golf cart


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