|Hovercraft Golf Carts Ready to Fly|
|By JON M. CHANG||Jul 10, 2013, 2:32 PM|
Now, after debuting in a viral video in April, the first two BW1 hover golf carts have been ordered by a golf club in Springfield, Ohio.
David Duffey, the general manager of the Windy Knoll Golf Club, said that the popularity of the video led to his decision.
"We thought it was really cool, and we were looking for a hook that might help people notice the golf course and come out and play," he told ABC News. Duffey called Neoteric Hovercraft soon after the video went viral and the 2013 Masters Tournament ended.
Chris Fitzgerald, the president of Neoteric Hovercraft, says that it was actually Thinkmodo, the company responsible for the video, that came up with the initial concept.
"At first, they were just looking just for a way to promote both Bubba Watson (a professional golfer) and Oakley," he said. "They thought of things like releasing animals on the golf course, but eventually they came to us about the hover golf cart."
The BW1, named after Bubba Watson's initials, is not much different from a typical hovercraft. Fitzgerald says that it rides atop a bubble of air, just as all regular hovercraft do. As a result of the air cushion, the BW1 exerts little pressure on the ground.
"It's about 33 times less pressure than a human foot, about the same force as a seagull standing on one leg," Fitzgerald said.
Duffey said the flying carts cost about $58,000 each and he would rent them for $230 a game. Drivers won't need a special license to use the hover cart, but Fitzgerald said that it does require some getting used to.
"It's affected by slopes, wind, and terrain, so it's a little like flying a helicopter," he said.
Neoteric offers a driving class and Fitzgerald adds that most people are usually able to use a hovercraft after a day's worth of training.
Though Duffey sees the BW1 purchases as a good way to promote the course, he is skeptical that they'll replace the traditional golf cart.
"They're a lot larger than a regular cart," he said. "With maintenance too, I just don't see it being used unless they make them a lot smaller and cost effective."