Industry News

Industry News – July/August 2013

BUBBA WATSON’S HOVERCRAFT GOLF CAR IS REAL AND IT’S SPECTACULAR

Bubba Watson teamed up with sunglasses maker Oakley and a hovercraft company in building the futuristic cart, which can go over water, sand and greens without damaging any surface.

Neoteric Hovercraft in Indian builds crafts for recreation, rescue, commercial and military customers. New ones are offered for about $65,000, but refurbished models can be had for about $15,000. Engines range from about 50 to 100 hp, some use Hirth motors and others use Fuji.

The first challenge, according to Fitzgerald, was to incorporate what you need from a golf cart into the hovercraft. The video shows Fitzgerald and his team fabricating parts for the machine.

“The big advantage of the hovercraft is that it has a footprint pressure about 30 times less than the human foot,” says Fitzgerald, “so that by hovering across a green you leave absolutely no trace.”

Watson says he gets a lot of stares and laughs, but once people see how efficient it is, they want to drive it and forget all about playing golf.

JHANT NAMED DIRECTOR, PRODUCT STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT FOR E-Z-GO CONSUMER BUSINESS

E-Z-GO®, a Textron Inc. company and a leading global manufacturer of light-transportation vehicles, is proud to announce that Philip Jhant has been named Director, Product Strategy and Development for the company’s consumer value stream. Jhant, a 14-year veteran of E-Z-GO, will spearhead the design and development of new vehicles to fill untapped consumer needs and drive growth for the company.

Jhant will lead the development of new products, and updates to existing models, for E-Z-GO’s consumer product lines. His responsibilities will include the Bad Boy Buggies® brand and product lines as well as the E-Z-GO Terrain™ and Express™ lines of utility vehicles, the Freedom® line of personal golf cars, and the 2Five® line of street-legal vehicles.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to help E-Z-GO meet the needs of today’s consumers,” Jhant said. “We have an incredible team of product managers, engineers and manufacturing experts here, and I am looking forward to working with them to design and build future generations of E-Z-GO and Bad Boy Buggies vehicles.”

Jhant joined E-Z-GO in 1998 and has served in numerous roles ranging from fleet sales representative to branch manager, and most recently as director of specialty sales. He is a graduate of Clemson University.

“Philip is the ideal choice to lead development of new consumer products for E-Z-GO,” said Eric Bondy, Vice President, Consumer for E-Z-GO. “Not only is he a seasoned E-Z-GO veteran who has a detailed understanding of the company and its consumer business, but he is an E-Z-GO consumer himself.”

“Philip has owned and used E-Z-GO and Bad Boy Buggies vehicles for years, from the fairways to the backwoods, and can use his own experiences to shape the development of new and existing vehicle models to exceed the demands and high expectations of today’s consumer.” More information is available at www.textron.com.

LIGHTNING-RELATED DEATHS ON THE DECLINE BUT OPERATORS SHOULD CONTINUE TO EDUCATE PLAYERS

As National Lightning Safety Awareness Week (June 23-29) approaches, the good news is the number of lightning-related deaths in the U.S. is on the decline. But that shouldn’t be a sign for course operators to lessen their efforts to educate golfers about the dangers of lightning while on the course.

An average of 35 fatalities was recorded by the National Weather Service (NWS) over the past decade (including a record low of 26 in 2011), a 33 percent reduction over the previous 10-year period. From 2006 to 2012, eight lightning-related deaths have occurred on golf courses.

“Of course, even one death is too many, and that’s why golf course operators have a responsibility to be diligent about the safety of their golfers,” says Robert Dugan, president of Thor Guard, the leader in lightning prediction and warning systems for golf courses.

Dugan said operators can uphold that responsibility through a combination of education and technology.

“A lot of people just don’t understand how dangerous lightning really is. They don’t realize it could be 100 million volts of electricity coming at them faster than they can blink an eye,” he said. “Operators need to continually remind players of the dangers and adopt a strict policy regarding play once a lightning warning has been issued.” Dugan, whose Thor Guard systems are in place at some 1,500 courses in the U.S., said course operators must be “absolutely sure the people using your facility know what it means when the horn (signaling a high lightning probability) sounds and know exactly what to do.

“Communicate any way you can, including with signs and starter’s instructions,” he says. “Only the most sophisticated technology can predict a lightning strike. Your body can’t predict it. So when the system goes off, you have to believe there’s a reason it went off and you should react immediately.”

The downward trend in lightning-related deaths is attributed in large part to more golfers hearing and heeding the warnings, said NWS meteorologist John Jensenius, who initiated the first National Lightning Safety Awareness Week in 2001. “The message is very simple: If you can hear thunder, you can be struck by lightning and you need to go indoors immediately,” Jensenius said.

Thunder is certainly a strong indicator of severe weather, but the vagaries of lightning include the proverbial “bolt out of the blue,” which comes without warning. Advances in technology, such as Thor Guard’s lightning prediction and warning systems, can help educate golfers while giving operators, their staffs and golfers early warnings of severe weather.

Thor Guard’s ThorPCX software gives course operators, members and guests access to accurate weather conditions and timely forecasts. And thanks to the new ThorMobile system, the data is available through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, so golfers can monitor severe weather data from the course or practice range. Visit www.thorguard.com for more information.

E-Z-GO INTRODUCES EXCEED HYBRID TECHNOLOGY

Introducing Exceed Hybrid Technology™, the fully integrated supplemental power source for E-Z-GO electric vehicles. This groundbreaking system, now available on the E-Z-GO® Freedom RXV® personal golf car and E-Z-GO 2Five® street-legal vehicle, allows vehicles to travel up to 150 miles on a single charge by supplementing the vehicle’s 48-volt electric powertrain with a small gas-powered generator.

The Exceed system adds a 6hp, 205cc gas-powered generator to the patented 48-volt AC Drive system featured on the electric Freedom RXV and 2Five. When engaged, the generator recharges the vehicle’s batteries on the fly, greatly extending the range that the vehicle can travel on a single charge. The system’s single-cylinder, low-emissions gas-powered engine meets all EPA standards.

The Exceed system also features a 400-watt power source to allow for the charging and use of small electronic devices such as radios, mobile phones, and laptop computers. A standard 120-volt, three-pronged electrical outlet is mounted in the dashboard of the vehicle to allow for convenient use of such items from the vehicle’s cabin.

Exceed Hybrid Technology seamlessly integrates with your E-Z-GO vehicle for simple operation and a sharp fit and finish. All system controls are mounted in the vehicle’s dash within easy reach. The Exceed system itself mounts into the vehicle’s rear bagwell and is fitted with a specially designed cover to protect the system and provide a clean, integrated look.

In tests simulating real-world, “stop-and-go” use, a four-passenger, Exceed-equipped 2Five under an average load and traveling at a speed of 16 mph, was able to traverse 150 miles between charges. Actual distance will vary depending on numerous factors, including a vehicle’s load, weather conditions, the terrain, and any optional equipment installed.

Exceed Hybrid Technology will be available in August as a factory-installed option for the E-Z-GO Freedom RXV® personal golf car and on the E-Z-GO 2Five® street-legal vehicle. Existing owners of those models will soon be able to upgrade their vehicles with an aftermarket Exceed Hybrid Technology kit available for installation at E-Z-GO Authorized Dealers. To find your local dealer, please use the E-Z-GO Dealer Locator.

NEW GOLF CARS POWERED WITH GPS

There’s no excuse for getting lost at the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course in Cranberry. Their golf carts are equipped with GPS. But distances are measured not in streets, but fairways. Golf course supervisor Craig Walker says Cranberry Highlands is the first in the area with the 2013 model.

“They actually came out with a walking GPS device,” he says, “and located every trap, the contours of the green, the tees. Every feature of the golf course is located on here in that picture. It’s great. It tells you how far it is to different bunkers on the course. So it does give you exact yardage to help plan your next shot. And those constantly change as you move the golf cart.”

He uses a par 5, 507-yard hole as an example. “I know I have to hit it at least 258 yards to get past that bunker,” he said. “Or I can just lay it down the middle, like normal and have my normal second shot.”

But will old school duffers take kindly to this golfers positioning service? “We do have some people it takes a bit longer to get used to,” Walker said. “Their first time, yeah, they have a little problem with the technology. But we found by the second or third round they fall in love with it, just like everyone else.”

Bluebirds are attracted to the tall fescue grass, planted in cooperation with the Audubon Society. But don’t try to drive one of those carts into that grass. The GPS will stop you, right in your tracks.

It even seems to know when you’re hungry.

“All they need to do is touch the screen,” Walker says. “That’ll go directly to the menu. So if I want a Philly steak and fries, I can just add that to the order. And that order will be ready for me in about 20 minutes.”

Eventually, he hopes, the GPS will even find lost golf balls.

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