Sebonack Golf Club

Sebonack Golf Club became first U.S. course to power golf car fleet with solar energy using SolarDrive technology

NEW! Learn the results immidiately: New York Times article after eleven months in service

Michael Pascucci, owner of the Sebonack Golf Club in Southhampton, N.Y. didn’t get to be one of America’s most successfull businessman by following the status quo. That’s one way to explain Pascucci’s decision to make Sebonack the nation’s first course to power its entire golf car fleet with solar energy, using the SolarDrive S2E system.

The solar-cell roof panels, which have been designed and engineered by Danish firm, SolarDrive, significantly boost battery life and make it possible for the electric vehicles to capture and convert daylight into sufficient energy to power them all year round, even on cloudy days. Furthermore, because the SolarDrive equipped golf cars charge while they are being driven, they are more efficient than regular electric golf cars.

By investing in SolarDrive’s state-of-the-art technology, it is estimated that the golf club will reduce carbon emissions by at least 6.5 tonnes per year as a result of the fleet’s reduced power consumption from the grid.

The solar-paneled roofs, which have been fitted to the club’s existing Club Car fleet, will not only provide environmental savings by facilitating carbon emission free charging and driving, but will also lead to financial savings for the club. SolarDrive estimate that the consumption of grid electricity by the fleet will be reduced by between 50-75% and that the cars’ battery life will be virtually doubled.

“Power costs are very expensive here on Long Island and are getting more expensive around the world,” Pascucci said. “Why not take advantage of the free solar power we have on earth?”

But reducing the charging requirements for the club’s 40 golf cars and lowering its electric bill, isn’t the only reason Pascucci invested in the solar canopies, which are sold as an option on Club Car golf cars and can be retro-fitted to any make of golf car.

“One of our guys pencilled it out and said we were going to get our money back pretty easily,” says Pascucci, who sold a car-leasing business for $700 million in 1997 and owns a television station serving the tri-state area. “But even if the numbers weren’t as strong as they are, I still would have done it. The bottom line is this. It was the right thing to do.”

The owner of the Jack Nicklaus/Tom Doak-designed course (ranked No. 7 in Golfweek’s 100 “Best Modern Courses” and No. 39 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses”) calls the system “a major industry innovation.”

Pascucci thinks Sebonack members will be impressed that their club is going green. “I think it’s really a positive thing for our members and their guests to see that they’re riding around on the sun’s power and reducing their carbon footprint. It makes a statement,” said Pascucci.

Pascucci first experienced the SolarDrive system while playing golf with Ernie Els at the Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Fla., where Pascucci is also a member. “I played quite a few times with Ernie this winter, and he always had his solar car with him. It was amazing to me that even on hazy days the car’s (energy capacity) stayed full” he said.