Four of the world’s best players went GolfBoarding ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
The Future of GolfBoarding
Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler partnered up against Europeans Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson in the new ‘Rider-Cup’ challenge at the ocean-front Saadiyat Beach Golf Club before the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
GolfBoarding, which was co-created by surfing legend and extreme sports pioneer Laird Hamilton, has taken golf by storm in the US over the last year.
The boards used offer a fun alternative to golf carts and are powered by environmentally friendly lithium-ion batteries. They are capable of reaching a speed of 10 miles per hour. They let golfers ride the course skateboard-style and they give a whole new meaning to ‘pace of play’.
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan said: “If we want to attract a new audience we need to innovate and embrace new formats of the game – we know speed of play is a major issue for the sport and the GolfBoard is a pioneering idea that could really make a difference.”
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), which owns the event, said: “Our ‘Rider Cup’ desert challenge was a bit of fun – to get the Championship’s entertainment element off to a speedy start.
The four golfers are part of a superstar field that will be competing for the $2.7 million prize purse in the Desert Swing and European Tour season opener at Abu Dhabi Golf Club National Course.
The event, taking place from January 21-24, tees off a year which will host the Ryder Cup and sees the sport return to the Olympics in Rio.
The world number one Spieth, who is making his Aranian debut in Abu Dhabi, said: “I’ve spoken to Rickie a number of times about it and he said his experience of Abu Dhabi and this event was fantastic. I am really looking forward to playing this week.”
McIlroy, who makes his first European start in 2016, said: “I want to find out where my game is early in the season and this is the best place to do it, especially with Jordan and Rickie playing. As I’ve come close to winning here a number of times in the past, I’m always looking to go one step further. In such a big year for golf, a solid start is vital for getting that all-important momentum.”
This weekend’s lineup will also include three-time Abu Dhabi Champion Martin Kaymer, who missed victory last year after narrowly losing out to Frenchman Gary Stal.