Four Reasons You Must “Finn” in 2020
At first, I was hesitant. And not out of fear. I’d grown up riding a Suzuki DS 80 dirt bike around our 500-acre family farm in Kentucky. Even have the scars to prove it.
Mainly because this was golf. The Royal and Ancient game. It was meant to played with a bag slung over one’s shoulder, a knowledgeable caddie or a proper pushcart.
Yet, here I was staring at my golf bag nestled in the cradle of a motorized, battery-powered scooter. A Finn Cycle, to be precise.
In place of the standard-issue golf cart was a sporty looking bike with big knobby tires, ape-style handlebars, a cushy seat and (wait for it) a kickstand with a faux fairway wood base.
But hey, this was Cherokee Valley, one of the most innovative golf courses in North America. And owner Matt Jennings, whom I trust despite his love of the Ohio State Buckeyes, promised me that playing via Finn is as much fun as you can have on a golf course, legally.
So, with my Sun Mountain golf bag (apropos given Sun Mountain is Finn’s parent company) loaded up on one of Cherokee Valley’s four cycles, it was time to, well, Finn for myself.
My playing partner, Associate Director of Operations Lauren Landreth, and I zipped off for a nine-hole, twilight round on an absurdly warm winter afternoon.
Based on that experience, I give you four no excuse reasons to play golf on a Finn Cycle in 2020.
It’s Ridiculously Fun
Some things take time to grow on you. The Finn Cycle isn’t one of them. As soon as you push the thumb-operated accelerator and the giddy-up jerks your head back you know it’s going to be an extraordinary experience.
In the grand scheme of grow the game initiatives, the vehicles players use on the course have gotten little attention, brain power or investment over the years.
GolfBoard is a blast, but unless you’re comfy skating or surfing, it’s more than a little challenging and unnerving.
Golf-based Segways require an entire starter course just to understand the basic movements and have been the cause or more than one parking lot injury or incident.
However, most of us have an inherent ability to ride a bike, and a motor bike is simply an extension of that innate skill. As soon as you hop on the Finn and accelerate, instinct takes over.
And then there’s the comradery … the shared experience. If the choice is to Finn alone or not Finn at all, by all means, Finn. But if you can rustle up a playing partner or two, the fun up-levels exponentially.
Lauren and I channeled our inner “CHiPs” as we buzzed down one fairway after another in our newfound “Finn Formation.” A shared “thumbs-up” was our Finn signal, mixed with an occasional “hang loose.”
Finn = Fast
Rick Reimers, CEO and inventor of the Finn Cycle believes it is time we rethink golf. Time is our most precious commodity. Golfers play an average of 7.5 minutes faster, per hole, on Finn Cycles.
Theoretically, you can play 18 holes in just over two hours. Practically, with other golfers spread throughout the course in carts and the like, this is not typically the case. Still, it’s all about when you play.
Lauren and I got through five holes in 35 minutes, easy, on a weekday afternoon. Are Finns that fast? Nope, top speeds are around 20 mph. Are we that good? I’m not, Lauren is. The secret sauce is this: relatively fast vehicle, a single rider who can proceed directly to his or her ball and no restrictions on where you can and can’t drive (other than on the greens).
This last one takes a little getting used to. Lauren, who’d used the Finns many times before, would drive right up on the green complex or onto the tee box. Silly me, the rookie, often left mine on the cart path and walked up to tees and greens.
Finns are Fiscally Sound
We interrupt this business to consumer blog post for a brief business to business message: golf course operators, growing the game = growing your revenue. If you charge a $20 cart fee for 18 holes at your golf course, you can charge $25 or $30 for a Finn Cycle. Trust me on this one; and there are fleet lease and purchase options available.
If a golf course owner-operator can shift even a small percentage of annual rounds to Finn Cycles, he or she could conceivably shave a few golf carts off the next lease agreement. E-Z-GO and Club Car representatives, please skip ahead to the next section.
It’s Not How You Start, It’s How you Finn-ish
Our 63-minute round complete, we cruised right up to our respective SUVs in the parking lot and tossed our clubs in the back. From there, we drove the Finns to the clubhouse and I immediately deposited myself in a rocking chair with a Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA.
I hadn’t trekked through 18 holes on foot lugging my own clubs, or even sprinted from tee to green pushing my favorite Walker Trolley. But wow, that beer still tasted just as cold, and just as good. And taking a Finn provides an added layer of conversation at the 19th hole.
As the Jimmy Buffett song goes, “Finns to the left, Finns to the right …”
Shane Sharp is a Greenville-based golf writer and owner of Southbound 4 Content Marketing and Public Relations.