Future of golf? I don’t buy it

“The future’s all yours, you lousy bicycle!”

— Paul Newman, as Butch Cassidy in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

WE had a pretty good stretch of springlike weather last week, so I decided it would be as good a time as any to make the rounds and get my first peek at some of the area’s golf courses.

I think I’ve played maybe one round in the past 15 years — my way of doing the game a favor, I suppose — but I grew up on and worked at a golf course, and I’ve always enjoyed being around them, even if I’m just plain terrible at actually playing.

One of the main reasons I think I like golf courses so much, aside from the fact that it makes for a much nicer office during the warmer months of the year, is that you never know what you might see. I was reminded of that when I stopped by Timbergate Golf Course in Edinburgh on the way into town last Wednesday morning.

Out in the parking lot, a salesman was giving demonstrations for something called the GolfBoard — essentially a motorized scooter with a spot on the front to carry your golf bag. GolfBoard bills itself as “the most innovative invention for golf since the graphite shaft.”

Reactions in the clubhouse varied widely, with age generally the determining factor in whether people think the GolfBoard is awesome or whether it’s a complete waste of time (and money — the GolfBoard costs more than a regular golf cart does).

I most definitely wasn’t buying the sales pitch that this contraption will revolutionize the game of golf or bring legions of people out to the course on its own. The only game-changer of that magnitude in my lifetime has been Tiger Woods, and no piece of equipment is going to match that impact on the sport.

But hey, maybe there’s a niche for it. If you’re looking to get in a fast round as a single, it seems as though the GolfBoard might speed things up for you. And if you were playing in a group of people you didn’t really like all that much, it might be nice for everyone to be able to go his or her own way.

Really, though, how often do those situations come up? People play golf to get away from the rushed pace of the real world, so getting through a round quickly is seldom the objective. And most people go out to the course in groups and play with people whose company they enjoy — so sharing a cart with someone isn’t usually a painful experience.

I can’t speak for the younger folks who seem to care more about posting pictures of their meals online than they do eating them, but for people in my age bracket and up, I just can’t see this whole GolfBoard thing catching on.

Now I’ve been wrong before. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would want to limit their communications to 140 characters, but Twitter eventually became my go-to news source. Sometimes life surprises you.

And the bicycle has done just fine for itself — so hey, perhaps the future really will be all yours, you lousy GolfBoard.

But I doubt it.

Ryan O’Leary is the sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at roleary@therepublic.com.