April 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM ET
Why bother maneuvering a golf cart around all those pesky water hazards and sand traps on the course when you can simply float right over them?
That’s what professional golfer Bubba Watson was thinking when he had the idea for a custom-made hovercraft that has become the envy of the golf world. On Tuesday, the Masters champion and one of his sponsors, Oakley, released a YouTube video called “Bubba’s Hover’’ that shows him gliding down fairways and cruising right over ponds in a hovercraft while golfers riding on carts take the long way to the green. The video had more than 720,000 views by Wednesday morning.
“Golf carts have looked the same, they’ve been the same,’’ Watson says in the video. “You’ve got to stay 30 yards from the green, you’ve got to stay on the cart path when it’s raining, but let’s have fun. Let’s go through the water hazard, come off the other side right by the green, putt your ball in the hole and then you can drive back across the water hazard. Who doesn’t want to do that?”
Chris Fitzgerald, the president of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc., in Indiana, appears in the video with Watson, talking about how his team worked to incorporate typical golf cart features into the hovercraft's design, like a roof and seat handles. In addition to allowing golfers to glide around the course, the hybrid machine also barely leaves a mark on it, because the hovercraft’s footprint pressure is 33 times less than a human foot, according to Fitzgerald.
But before you get excited about hovercrafts coming to a course near you, be aware that the “BW1” is just a one-of-a-kind prototype and is not available for purchase anywhere.
“I see a lot of stares, a lot of laughs, and then they actually see how efficient it is,’’ Watson says in the video. “I think it’s going to really get more people involved. They’re going to want to just drive the hovercraft and not play golf. That's how I got started, driving a golf cart, and then golf got in the way.’’