Ellwee Single Rider Golf Cart A New Face On The Scene
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2021-06-23
By GORD MONTGOMERY, Inside Golf
STONY PLAIN — Technology in the golf world isn’t just limited to clubs and balls anymore. Rather, things are being driven in another direction — especially with on-course mobility.
Such is the case with the newest motorized transport for golf, a single rider vehicle known as Ellwee. The four-wheel, rider-friendly transport is powered by a lithium battery which can hold a charge for up to four rounds a day or about 65 kilometres (according to the company’s website).
Canadian distributor Jeff Ivanochko and partner Art New from Ellwee Golf Cart Canada were showcasing the Ellwee Golf model at the Stony Plain Golf Course to Executive Pro Jeff Cuthbertson, but there was a lot of interest from everyday golfers at his course, especially since everyone had been pulled into the shelter of the clubhouse overhang due to a thunderstorm.
Before interviewing him for this article, Ivanochko gave me the go-ahead to take a spin on one of two Ellwees he had at the Stony Plain Golf Course, and being the hands-on kind of golf writer I am, I hopped aboard. The most noticeable thing about these 4-wheeled carts is they accelerate quickly but not at a snap-your-neck pace from a standstill. I motored around the paved parking lot at the course and found the handling was a breeze, with the accelerator on the right hand side of the steering wheel and the braking mechanism on your left. Top speed on a golf course is likely to be set at about 13/kmh, but they can travel up to 24/kmh. The vehicle turned smoothly and was stable, even during a sharp, quick change of direction. Of course, that was on a smooth roadway — more about on-course handling later in this article.
Asked about these machines and why he felt that they were the next big thing in the powered golf cart industry, Ivanochko said there were several reasons he was importing the machines from Sweden to distribution in Canada.
“First of all, when we saw Ellwee on the marketplace it wasn’t in Canada, so this was an opportunity to take Canada by storm. We like the four wheel option. We haven’t seen any of the quad versions here in Canada like this. This is more like a Tesla version, is what we call it. We love the features. It’s an Ellwee X Golf, so it’s got auto brake, reverse, the horn, and it’s built to limit turf damage so we jumped all over this.”
“The reason these are good for golf courses are because they’re built exactly like a golf cart,” Ivanochko continued. “It features auto break so going down hills you’re not zooming. It’s a slower take off (than a standard golf cart) so you’re limiting turf damage - they say it’s actually less turf damage than a golf cart. It gives you a nice enjoyable experience.”
Stony Plain's Executive Professional, Jeff Cuthbertson (Right) Took Some Time During A Rain Delay To Show Some Of His Members The Ellwee.
One big thing about these machines is that research has been conducted, and proven, to reduce an 18-hole round’s time by upwards of 30 per cent, meaning a day of golf isn’t really a “day” anymore. As to what sets this vehicle apart, there are other reasons as well, including the cool factor of having something new and unique.
“It all comes down to improving the speed of the game,” emphasized Ivanochko, before adding, “There is definitely a place (at a golf course) for these. We’re not saying replace your whole fleet. We’re saying four, or eight, per fleet, and have that high demand and keep everybody excited about this. We believe this really sets a golf course apart by adding this to their fleet. The good news is we jumped on this opportunity last fall, and our container has landed and we’re set to have product out the door tomorrow.”
Cuthbertson, speaking to the five-day test drive addition of the Ellwee to his power cart fleet, said he thinks the uniqueness of the machines will draw lots of interest, both to the vehicle itself as well as to his course.
“I think it’s something about people still liking to ride alone, and we know that single riders speed up the play on a golf course.”
For the Stony Plain Golf Course, bringing in the Ellwee, even on a test run, is something a bit out of the ordinary for them. They have passed in the past on such things as Golfboards, motorcycles, and pedal fat bikes, which have shown up elsewhere to fairly good acclaim.
“The thing with the Golfboards is that we’re not set up well to handle those,” Cuthbertson said of some bumpy terrain at Stony. “The motorbike style, the two-wheelers, are fun to ride. I loved them. It was cool but it’s the same thing. We’ve got some areas on our golf course that if you end up on them, side slopes when it’s wet, an inexperienced person not familiar with those could have some problems. With this (the Ellwee) it’s very stable with a wider wheel base. Four wheels on the ground. We can set the speed where people are safe but still enjoy them so that’s why we’re looking at this unit as opposed to a couple of other things that are on the market right now.”
Cuthbertson said there will likely be a quick tutorial on the Ellwee prior to the public heading out on this joy ride. “That will be part of the agreement that you have to watch a video to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you rent it.”
On The Course
One of the things I was most interested in finding out about this mode of transport was how it handled over bumpy terrain and how secure a rider felt and what happened to his sticks, which ride in front of a driver. Since the Stony Plain GC has a few patches of uneven turf, this as a great spot to give the Ellwee the once over.
First off, the ground at the course was wet as there had been rain on and off over the day of and the day prior to my test drive. The Ellwee didn’t skid out when you turned the throttle, a blessing I’m sure to course superintendents who may soon see these trekking about on their property. It also didn’t leave much of a footprint, if any, on the wet turf because of its light weight (about 350 pounds).
On my test run, I played a wet course in just under three hours, on my own. That is likely a bit longer than it should have taken as I backtracked a few times; took on some slopes and turns; and in general just enjoyed the ride. Overall the Ellwee is fun to captain, but there are a few things that need to be addressed in future models.
Having Taken The Ellwee On Its First Journey Around The Stony Plain Golf Course, iG Writer Gord Montgomery Was 'Thumbs Up' On This New Version Of A Single Rider Power Cart.
The most important one to me is where the controls are located in relation to the handlebar throttle. I bumped the Park setting a couple of times which led to some consternation on my part because I couldn’t get moving again. Once I figured out you had to hit this button, then that button, then press both brake handles, I was off and motoring. There was also a bit of splash-up from under the front wheels because the foot panel didn’t totally join the fender. Also, I found it tough to sit back and reach out to steer the machine. This uncomfortable situation was remedied quickly by sitting at the front of the seat, taking the stress of chest and shoulders. You also have to realize you’re mounting the machine by throwing your leg over the console each time you get on and off, so it is a bit more strenuous than stepping in and out of an actual golf cart.
As for bumps and humps, like a regular cart you should be aware enough to slow down before encountering them. But, I found standing up to soften the shock worked well and without a roof on the Ellwee, at least for now, there was no fear of whacking your noggin. Also, the clubs at the front of the machine are held firmly in place and the strapping around my bag was as tight at the end of 18 holes as it was at the start.
Overall, this thing is fun! It scoots along, gets you to your ball quickly, and is easy to steer. On a report card, I’d give it an A-, as the quirks above are slight detractors but those are nothing to deter one from testing the Ellwee out.
While the model on display was pretty bare bones on this particular day, there are several add-ons for the carts (cars? scooters? buggies?). Those include up to 50 or 60 accessories, including coolers, dry storage compartments, scorecard holders, and a cell phone holder among others. There is no roof/windshield as of yet but that option is being explored.
In closing, Cuthbertson had this to say: “I think this draws new people to the game. Things like this draw attention, gets people excited and interested about the game. Shirts aren’t tucked in anymore. We’ve got velcro on our golf shoes. There’s things in golf that have changed from the traditional and this is a big change from the traditional.”
For more information, to to canadagolfcard.com/ellwee. And if you’re quick enough, you can take one for a spin at the Stony Plain Golf Course by calling 780-963-2133 or going online to golfstonyplain.com.