St Francis Links has introduced a great initiative for golfers. Instead of walking or riding in a golf cart, hire an E-bike the next time you play the course. It’s fantastic fun, as I found out while playing the Links on the Eastern Cape leg of my current road trip around the country visiting Top 100 courses.
The off-road utility bikes, by a company called SouthBound, are comfortable and easy to ride, with your golf bag strapped to a rack behind the pillion seat. Called the Golfie, it is brilliant to ride on the undulating terrain of St Francis Links, because you can either stay on the cart path, or whiz down the fairways right up to the edge of each green. The undulating downhill 11th was exhilarating, as was the ride down the cart path from the high fifth tee. The bike’s fat tires are ideal for going off-road through the walking paths of the course, enabling you to take advantage of short cuts.
On a course where the majority of golfers use carts, and only a limited number walk, the bikes provide healthy exercise because you’re continually pedalling through the seven gears. There’s obviously an electric boost whenever you wish, and it comes in handy to get you going from a stationary position, but it’s only necessary to use it on uphill sections if you feel the need for assistance.
I enjoyed the freedom of the bike, not being constrained by sharing a cart, and having to follow the cart paths. Sitting up high on the bike also provides better views. One word of warning: it might not be an easy ride on a windy day. The Golfie with all accessories sells for R33 000. https://www.southboundbikes.com/
St Francis Links has 10 bikes for hire, at a rental cost of R170 a round.