Is This Golf’s Solution To Slow Play?
I was recently given the opportunity to test a very unique piece of kit that promises to change the way we transport ourselves around the golf course. Buggies are an increasingly popular choice, especially Stateside, but they have their limitations. These are mostly around two people sharing and the complications that arise when their tee shots finish on opposite sides of the hole and the extra time taken getting between them as a result.
Step forward the Sun Mountain Finn Cycle, a single-occupancy, motorbike-style alternative set to be made available at around 200 golf clubs in the US this summer. It weighs a lot less than a buggy (around 36kg) and is powered by a lithium ion battery. It also features a front and rear suspension, disk brakes, fold-out foot rests and your clubs are cleverly stored straddled between your legs. The rear wheel is similar to those found on greenkeepers’ mowers so as not to damage the ground in transit. It is powered by a thumb throttle on the handlebars and has a top speed of 15.5mph.
So could this be the long-awaited answer to slow play we’ve been searching for? It certainly could be, in time. I had a great fun using it for a few holes at the Wisley and it is very simple to operate and maneuver. At no point did I feel like I was going to lose control and it significantly speeds up the time taken between shots. Of course, you’d would most likely need to play through multiple groups for it to have an impact on your round time and it would no doubt be quite intimidating for a fourball up ahead to see you gaining on them in a vehicle like this.
But if courses adopt them on a relatively large scale, or if you tee off first thing so your play was uninterrupted, I’m confident a fourball could knock over an hour of their round time. The design is pretty straightforward in practice, although it is difficult to park it on steep slopes and courses will no doubt have their concerns over health and safety. But I think the Sun Mountain Finn Cycle is an excellent creation that golf clubs should seriously consider adopting if they’re serious on doing something about slow play, although we’re unlikely to see it in the UK until Spring 2020 at the earliest.