BIWABIK — For anyone looking for a new way to enjoy playing golf, Giants Ridge is the place to be.
Finn Cycles have been added at The Legend and The Quarry as an option to two-person golf carts and to speed up play.
The eight single rider electric golf carts with motorcycle styling have taken off since they arrived in July, said John Kendall, director of golf at Giants Ridge, which was the first public course in the state to use them.
Speaking of golfers that now have a smile on their faces just looking at the Finn Cycles, Kendall said, “We haven’t had a bad comment on them yet. Most of the people say it’s the only way to play golf after they play a round with one of these. That’s what we like to hear. It’s a fun deal. It’s nice to be able to introduce them to these here in this setting.’’
Kendall does believe the speed of play is a bonus provided by the Finn Cycles.
“It’s a big difference,’’ he said, because each golfer can drive right to their own ball and aren’t tied to their partner in a golf cart.
The director of golf was concerned about the new, electric cycles just being used by the younger crowd, but that hasn’t been the case. “There’s really no rhyme or reason to it. I think it appeals more to anybody that has spent time on two wheels or is just interested in doing something different while playing golf, which is what drew them to me. It’s a fun way to play golf.’’
The Finn Cycles are rented for $21 for 18 holes and riders must be 18 years of age or older. Giants Ridge employees show renters a short training video and help them get comfortable.
For anyone that’s ridden a bike an all-terrain vehicle, or a motorcycle, “it’s very easy to operate for anybody.’’
With the golfer’s bag strapped to the cycle’s center-line, “everything’s really at your fingertips,’’ Kendall said. After teeing off, golfers simply use the cart paths to drive to their ball, put down the driver-shaped kickstand and hit their next shot.
The course superintendents at Giants Ridge were a bit concerned about damage to the course, he added, but the cycles (with a rider) are actually half as heavy as a golf cart. The cycle itself weights about 75 pounds.
Kendall says they are a great option for everyone playing at Giants Ridge. That includes vacationers, as well.
“We cater to that demographic. They have played nice courses and have seen all kinds of stuff. This offers something different that we can present to them and is something that usually they’ll bite at. It’s a nice option to have and it’s a fun option to have.’’
The Finn Cycles probably won’t take over completely, though.
“I don’t think it will ever replace — obviously — a traditional golf cart but it’s certainly a neat alternative for people who are looking for something different.’’
Kendall added that an agreement to use the new cycles was reached earlier this summer. Giants Ridge will own them in three years.
“These have been a pleasant surprise so far. It’s exceeded our expectations.’’
Kendall would like to have more, but it depends on the demand continuing or rising. “They’ve been heavily used.’’
Some golfers have even used them for two rounds a day and “can’t get enough of it.’’
The batteries are rated for a 15-mile charge, he said, and there has been no problems staying charged to date.
What has been one of the biggest attractions?
In the social sport, golfers are still with their foursome, while also having “that free feeling of just being out there in the open.’’