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Tuesday, August 11, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Liberty Lake’s Trailhead Golf Course gets upgrades; offers scooters as alternative to golf carts


The city-owned Trailhead Golf Course in Liberty Lake has been making improvements to entice golfers to it’s nine-hole course and the latest of those efforts is the acquisition of four special scooters players can rent instead of golf carts.

The special Finn Scooters were specifically designed for golf courses. There’s room on the frame to attach a golf bag and the 800-pound machine has wide tires to distribute the weight so the scooters don’t damage the greens. The kickstand is even in the shape of a golf club.

“They are so simple to ride,” said Trailhead golf professional Chris Johnston. “If you can coast on a bike you can ride one super easily. It’s super stable.”

The four scooters arrived in mid-August and have proven to be popular. “They’ve all been rented out at least once a day,” Johnston said.

He saw a prototype of the scooter, which was invented by Sun Mountain Sports, at the fall PGA show in Tacoma and was instantly smitten. It seemed an exciting option to the traditional golf cart or push cart.

“In golf there hasn’t been anything new in a long time,” he said.

It costs $13 plus tax to reserve a scooter for nine holes or $21 plus tax for 18 holes. Golfers pay the rental fee at a kiosk inside the golf shop. People have to be over the age of 18 and have a valid driver’s license in order the rent them and first-timers are given a short lesson, Johnston said.

While some golfers were initially reluctant to try them, people who use them seem to be enthusiastic about the scooters and come back specifically to use them, Johnston said. Several have told him that it was the most fun they’d ever had.

“That’s the reaction,” he said. “Everyone is excited.”

So far only 2,000 of the scooters have been made and Johnston said he knows of a few other golf courses in the region that have them. He’s leasing four of them with the idea of getting four more next year if they prove to be a success. The city may also buy the scooters outright, he said.

“They went the lease route because nobody knew how it would go,” he said. “I wouldn’t hesitate for the city to order more.”

The scooters are not only fun, they allow golfers to finish a round faster, Johnston said. Since each golfer has their own transportation, they can split up to where their balls lie on the green (or in the rough) instead of all traveling together in a golf cart as a group to each ball.

Trailhead is a nine-hole executive golf course with the holes ranging from par 3 to par 5. “These golf courses were invented for executives to gather and play quickly,” Johnston said. “It’s a little bit shorter in total. The nice thing about our course is it’s good for beginners.”

Each hole has different sets of tees that allow experienced players to make it more difficult. Johnston said the course seems to appeal to all ages and experience levels.

The new scooters come after the golf course made significant improvements to its sprinkler system last fall and this spring. “The golf course opened in 1973,” Johnston said. “The irrigation system was 50 years old. We just started having major breaks. The system was at the end of its life.”

The failing sprinkler system affected the quality of the course, and there were a lot of brown spots and patches of bare dirt. But the new system has brought the course back to a stellar condition, Johnston said.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how the golf course turned around once we started irrigating properly,” he said. “We have a lot more heads but we’re using less water because it’s more efficient.”

There are likely more improvements coming, Johnston said. The city has asked for proposals at various price points to make improvements to the building, which houses a tiny golf shop and the Palenque Mexican Restaurant.

Johnston said he’d like for the golf shop to be larger and said the parking lot isn’t big enough for both a restaurant and a golf course.

“The building is approaching 50 years old,” he said. “They know that they need to do something, they just don’t know the scope of it.”

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