Golf club introduces buggies with sat-nav

A forward-thinking golf club owner has come up with a novel solution for players who get lost on the course - buggies with satellite navigation.

Each of the £4,000 golf buggies comes complete with a sat-nav system which is programmed with a map of West Midlands Golf Club.

The hi-tech devices mean members could do away with caddies altogether as the buggies' computers tell players how far they have hit a drive and what distance remains to the hole.

But even these capabilities do not supersede the buggies' most important function - being able to order a drink remotely from the bar.

John Harrhy, 65, co-owner of the club in the Forest of Arden, near Solihull, explained what led him to introduce the 25-strong fleet.

He said: "We like to think we are a forward-looking golf business.

"We had been looking around at ways to progress and considered a number of buggy models.

"They are very popular with the senior members, who are offered them at a cheaper rate, and with visiting golf societies.

"You can enter your scorecard on the on-board machine and it knows which other buggies are in your group.

"This means you can also see how everyone is doing and what score you need."

Player Ian Sheppard, 23, a 20-handicapper, enthused: "The buggies are a great idea, especially if you don't know the course.

"What is really handy is knowing exactly how far you have to the pin.

"The buggy is always a big help and makes the game quicker and more enjoyable."

One dim-witted player tried to steal a buggy by driving it off the course and hiding it behind some bushes.

However, because the clubhouse tracks where the machines are - using the sat-nav system itself - the golf professional managed to retrieve it within minutes.

Mr Harrhy recalled: "Someone tried to pinch a buggy once and hid it in a field around the corner.

"But we can track them on the computer, so we just drove up and found it very quickly."

Defenders of golfing rules and etiquette will also be pleased to know the buggies help report back misbehaviour to the eagle-eyes at the clubhouse.

They do not have cameras fitted to them - yet - but they do allow those in the clubhouse to know exactly where the buggies have been.

Mr Harrhy said: "If someone drives somewhere they shouldn't, like over a green, we can tell them off.

"I had one guy who swore he hadn't done anything wrong, so I said to him, 'Just come round here and look at this screen.'

"He had to admit it then!"

The buggies, which seat two people, cost £20 to hire at weekends and £15 on weekdays.

By Stephen Adams - Telegraph