Sol Boards, Inc., d/b/a Golfboard
Single user electric board that allows riders to “surf the earth”
Let us introduce you to the golf industry’s biggest game changer, the GolfBoard.Designed and distributed by Sol Boards Inc., and made in the USA, this motorized surfboard / snowboard hybrid provides riders the experience of “Surfing The Earth,” we call it “GolfBoarding.” Created by fitness industry icon Don Wildman, and world famous big wave surfer Laird Hamilton, GolfBoard® has quickly become one of the most celebrated and disruptive products in the game today.
After being named Best New Product at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, as well as winning the coveted 2016 Golf Digest Best Club Transport Award, GolfBoard® is recognized as an integral component for future growth of the game. Golfers of all ages have embraced GolfBoard as well. Many of GolfBoard’s® social media videos have gone viral, generating over 35 million views globally. The industry’s most recognized influencers, including the world’s top golf professional, have also jumped on-board by providing unsolicited praise about how incredibly “cool” it is to ride a GolfBoard® (google The ‘Rider Cup’ Desert Challenge 2016).
The true validation of a product’s potential is its ability to drive demand by end users. In this regard, GolfBoard® has energized the game of golf by attracting a whole new audience of young millennials. In addition, GolfBoard® has been strongly embraced by both the x-generation and baby boomers, who have now collectively played hundreds of thousands of rounds on a GolfBoard®. Safe, fun, easy to use, and embraced by all ages and athletic abilities, Golfboard® appeals to everyone.
Increasing pace of play, boosting rounds played and providing valuable new revenue streams for golf course operators, it should be no surprise that GolfBoarding has already made its way to over 200 golf courses worldwide. With an extensive U.S. GolfBoard® Rep network, plus international GolfBoard® distribution in the U.K., Switzerland, Canada, Australia, and Indonesia, GolfBoard® is perfectly positioned to penetrate the more than 15,000 US golf courses, and 34,000 courses worldwide.
Providing limitless growth potential, the GolfBoard® has broad applications beyond golf. After enhancing the golfer experience, increasing rounds played and improving course profitability, Sol Boards, Inc. now sets its sights on other markets, with plans to leverage the company’s proprietary technology to expand into high potential new markets such as resorts, industrial, and all-terrain applications.
If you find what we have just shared about GolfBoard® compelling, we invite you to read on to learn the specific details about the GolfBoard® revolution, and Sol Boards’ vision for expanding its products beyond Golf to larger market opportunities.
While golf is already enjoyed by millions worldwide, GolfBoarding attracts a whole new audience of thrill seeking millennials by reshaping the way players experience the game. GolfBoarding brings a much needed element of fun and physical engagement to a sport that will now be able to attract a whole new user group. Golf is no longer the game of our grandfathers, it is fitter, the players are healthier, and more athletic. The GolfBoard® resonates perfectly with this new age player. By adding a new twist to a sport with time-honored traditions, the fun and excitement of GolfBoard® is exactly what golf needs.
Entrepreneurial course operators have sought out the GolfBoard® to grow revenue, and to differentiate their golf offering in a highly competitive marketplace. This phenomenon is spreading at an exponential pace as the word is getting out regarding how effective the GolfBoard® is at driving profits and favorably impacting the bottom line. GolfBoard® is a proven solution for course managers seeking ways to increase the number of rounds played, and to bring in new players to the game.
A key factor in improving the popularity of golf is increasing pace of play!
The National Golf Federation has conducted extensive research on the growth of the game, and has concluded that one of the largest challenges golf faces today is pace of play. An average round of golf requires 5 hours to complete an 18-hole round. Compared to carts or walking, GolfBoard® dramatically increases the pace-of-play, which typically means a round being played in 3 hours or less!
The outlook of golf is bright, as industry source are predicting an increase in rounds played in 2016 and beyond as more baby boomers retire. Interestingly enough, baby boomers represent one of GolfBoards® largest user groups.
The PGA, view GolfBoards® as a perfect pace-of-play solution… “GolfBoard® is the future of getting around a course.” – PGA.com
“Not only does the GolfBoard® increase the pace-of-play, it is also attracting a younger demographic to the sport. We are so happy with this product and how it is going to change the game.” – Luan Pham, Head of Marketing, Golf Digest
GolfBoard® was designed to mirror the experience of riding a surfboard or snowboard. Golfers can now experience the terrain in a whole new way, making golf even more fun (google #golfboard)
Since a GolfBoard® is steered by riders shifting their body weight from side-to-side, GolfBoarding is much more physically active than riding in a golf cart. GolfBoarding provides a great core and leg workout, which is considered a strong added benefit by most players.
Beta test surveys indicate GolfBoard® repeat use and customer satisfaction is over 90%. Happy members and guests makes course management love the GolfBoard® too.
(Source: Maderas Golf Club, San Diego, CA)
Increased speed of play drives a greater number of rounds played, especially during twilight rounds and non-peak hours. 4 GolfBoarders can cut an hour off a round, and 5 (or 6) GolfBoarders can play as fast, if not faster, than a foursome using 2 golf carts. Moreover, GolfBoard® rental fees are usually $5 to $10 more than a golf cart. Additional green fees, combined with higher GolfBoard rental rates offers enhanced profit opportunities for courses.
Golf course superintendents are highly in favor of GolfBoard® due to the combination of 4-wheel drive and automatic braking, 75% less total weight, plus skid-proof / turf-friendly tires prevents costly damage to fairways caused by golf carts. 4WD technology evenly distributes power to the tires, virtually eliminating ‘tire-spin’ and torn up turf — even on dewy mornings or damp conditions. Weighing only 125 pounds, two GolfBoard® delivers 30% less impact on turf than a standard golf cart.
The GolfBoard® has been specifically designed and engineered for daily commercial rental use, with military grade manufacturing. Its ruggedized modular design allows for routine maintenance and repairs to be quickly and easily performed by in-field maintenance personnel. Lithium-ion batteries charge quickly, allowing for multiple rounds in a single day.
With hundreds of thousands of rounds played on a GolfBoard®, golf courses have not had a single reported insurance claim for rider injury on a GolfBoard® since we launched over two years ago. This zero incident rate is in sharp contrast to the estimated 15,000+ emergency room visits reported each year related to golf cart injuries.
Single-rider, reduced weight, automatic braking, and greater stability are four of the most significant contributing factors to the zero claims history of GolfBoard® compared to much higher injury frequency rate of golf carts.
GolfBoard® has initially obtained $2M in general liability insurance from The Hartford and $10M excess liability coverage from AIG, and has been contacted by other best-in-class insurance providers looking to provide GolfBoard® coverage. Additionally, GolfBoard’s® clients have been able to secure general liability insurance for their course or resort which includes GolfBoards® at low to no additional premium.
GolfBoard® provides its clients access to an online a liability waiver system, requiring all new riders to watch a detailed instructional video plus execute a liability release acknowledging that they understand the operation and safety principles prior to operating a GolfBoard®.
Sol Boards, Inc. sells fleets of GolfBoards® primarily to golf courses and larger golf management companies. For example, Maderas Golf Club operated by Troon, and Tetherow in Bend, Oregon.
The Maderas Golf Course, located in Poway, CA, (just east of San Diego) has a fleet of 8 GolfBoards® renting for $25 extra per round vs a golf cart. Like most courses offering GolfBoarding, since jumping on board, Maderas has seen a strong boost in business. More than 50% of GolfBoard® rounds played are reported to be coming specifically to Maderas Golf Club because they want to ride the GolfBoard®.
At Tetherow, their fleet of more than 30 GolfBoards® contributed to a 35%+ increase in rounds played year over year during their first year after introducing GolfBoard®. With the popularity of GolfBoarding continuing to grow, GolfBoard® rentals at Tetherow often exceed golf cart rentals.
We introduced GolfBoard® in 2014 at the PGA Merchandise Show where we immediately proceeded to win Best New Product. In the two years since, GolfBoard has won the 2016 Golf Digest Best Club Transport Award and has seen growing acceptance among PGA tour members and golf course managers. Initially sold just in the US, we have now expanded to 5 countries and over 200 golf courses worldwide. International demand is getting stronger every day, with international purchases having the potential to eventually match US sales.
Examples of key customers include:
- Billy Casper Golf Management Company, one of the nation’s largest golf management companies, who owns over 50 courses and manages another 90. They have purchased over 100 boards for placement on over 20 courses.
- Troon Golf, which manages over 200 course worldwide initially launched a 2 course GolfBoard trial, and has since placed 20 boards on 6 courses under their management, with plans to grow their GolfBoard offering exponentially.
- Tetherow Golf Course, a single-owner course with an active golf community, was an early adapter that has now built their fleet to 33 boards.
Peter Hill, Chairman & CEO, Billy Casper Golf, after several comprehensive beta tests labeled GolfBoard® “exactly what our Billy Casper Golf Ventures initiative seeks: a contemporary, exciting and differentiating identity to attract and retain players. Not only is ‘GolfBoarding’ a thrilling and quick way to get around the course, its turf friendly and delivers ROI to our operation”
Kris Strauss, VP Sales & Marketing for Troon Golf has reported that on their early adopter courses,“We’ve seen the success of GolfBoard® at the handful of Troon courses who already have them, including the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Makai Golf Course on Kauai and World Golf Village, and we’re excited to extend further adoption at Troon destinations around the world. Offering GolfBoards® is a great way to bring new people to golf, it makes rounds faster and it creates great buzz. Frankly they’re just a blast, and golfers of all ages can use them.”
Golfboard® has benefited extensively from a broad scope of national media coverage including, the Golf Channel, Wall Street Journal, CBS This Morning, Fox Business News, CNBC, and CNN’s Living Golf, just to name a few. Visitgolfboard.com/golfboardtv.
The combination of favorable feedback from key clients, user testimonials and ongoing media attention confirms the GolfBoard® has been a huge success, which is why we’re so excited about the growth potential of GolfBoard® as well as our upcoming launch of new board models for non-golf applications.
With the path already paved, we see a much more robust future in the works at Sol Board, Inc. beyond the GolfBoard®. Later this year, we will release our street-ready ResortBoard, with taller and wider wheels, higher maximum speed, greater curb clearance, versatile carry basket, plus lighting and reflector package. Our ResortBoard is designed primarily for commercial use such as factories and warehouses, plus recreational use at resorts and sightseeing destinations.
Going forward, we have plans for a high performance BeachBoard that has a sand compatible tread pattern and more rugged suspension settings for off road use. With the Beach Board, you can extreme off-road ride, surf sand dunes, or just take a relaxing ride down the beach at sunset. Sol Boards is scheduled to start limited selling of our Beach Board in 2017.
Later this year, Sol Board will boost its personal use sales via an interactive e-commerce experience where users can interactively select upgraded features and accessories to customize their GolfBoard®. These custom features include higher speed sports performance option, custom fenders and tires, brand enhancing decals, tablet and smart-phone mounting brackets, wireless speakers and more. It is anticipated that affluent buyers will strongly embrace the option to create their perfect board, driving incremental growth of direct to consumer sales.
The GolfBoard® was invented by co-founders Don Wildman and Laird Hamilton. As a means to get Laird (and his fellow surfers) to play more golf, the two longtime friends brainstormed about ways to make the game of golf more fun. The idea of GolfBoarding was born.
While Laird is famous for chasing big waves and the many innovations he’s introduced to the world of surfing, Don is revered for redefining active aging, longevity, and healthy living, as well as what it means to be a serial entrepreneur. Having previously created the fitness company that would go on to become the wildly successful Bally Total Fitness, Don is still a world class athlete in several sports, and attributes constant fitness and exercise to his youthful spirit.
The Sol Board, Inc. management team also consists of:
John Wildman, Chairman & CEO
Prior to joining the GolfBoard® team, John was with Bally Total Fitness for over 25 years in various sales and marketing positions, including Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operating Officer. John helped grow the company to over 400 locations with over 20,000 employees, generating annual revenue of over $1B. John attended DePauw University, the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, and the Executive Education Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Jeff Dowell, President & COO
Jeff has spent 35 years in startups and early stage business development ventures in the golf, technology, and digital media industries. Prior to GolfBoard®, Jeff held senior executive roles in sales, operations, and product development during his tenures at OakHill Country Club, Inter-ad Inc, Clarity Visual Systems, LG Electronics, and 3M Corporation. Jeff graduated from Indiana State University.
Jon Bottorff, CFO
Jon retired from HSBC Securities in 2013, where he was MD & CFO of Global Banking & Markets for the Americas. Prior to this position, he was Global Head of Asset Backed Securities. Before joining HSBC in 2002, he was with Dresdner Bank and ABN AMRO. Jon is also currently on the board of Vibrant TV, and Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Srinidhi Capital, a private equity company. He has a Masters in Finance from DePaul University and is a CPA.
Luan Pham, Marketing / Digital Sales Executive Director & Advisory Board Member.
Luan is an award winning marketer who brings over 20 years of industry experience to GolfBoard, with recent in-depth experience in sports marketing. He is currently Head of Marketing for Condé Nast Golf Digest, and previously was Senior Director of Marketing, Golf & Tennis for Polo Ralph Lauren, and Marketing Services Director for Kiplinger Washington Editors. He has a Bachelor’s in Communication, Emphasis in Advertising, from California State University, Fullerton.
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