Local resident’s invention ‘The Wisp’ addresses the problem of bunker sand on the golf course green


By Karen Billing

Local resident Eben Dobson, who is on a mission to educate the world of golf, is asking players to pitch in and lend a hand with the everyday maintenance of golf courses. He’s invented a new golf course tool called The Wisp, a universal solution to the problem of bunker sand on the green.

Dobson, a financial advisor turned entrepreneur, believes that his Wisp, a lightweight, 4-foot-tall push broom, will clear the way for a new golf course etiquette.

Sand out of the bunker is an impediment to the next player who comes through and there has never been a methodical solution. Some players may use a hat or a towel to remove sand out of their own line of putt, but that doesn’t help the person that comes after them.

“My theory is that if you hit sand out of the bunker, use a Wisp so the next player won’t have to deal with it,” Dobson said.

Using the Wisp means that the course is the same for everyone, keeping the game fair so the first group through in the morning encounters the same conditions as the last foursome.

Local golfers may have seen Wisps at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club. Dobson has also seen his Wisps implemented at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles.

His dream is not so much to turn on the Masters Golf Tournament one day and see a pro Wisping the green at Augusta—rather, he’d like to be driving by his local municipal course and see an Average Joe golfer using his etiquette because he recognized the benefit of it.

“It’s a paradigm change,” Dobson said. “Adding something to the history of the game that hasn’t been thought about.”

Dobson spent months designing the specific bristle that accomplishes what he’s trying to do.

The Wisp was specifically built to handle the different major grasses used on courses. It won’t harm the grass and, in fact, mimics the practice of “topdressing,” in which course superintendents apply a mixture of sand and fertilizer to the greens to quicken healing or growth. The Wisp drops sand into the canopy so it’s actually good for the green.

Dobson said he knew it would be challenging to sell a product that wouldn’t benefit the consumer directly—it’s an etiquette tool. He hopes people will be knocking on doors of course superintendents and golf pros to ask for Wisps at their club or home course.

He said he thinks it could be the kind of tool that could be found on any course, just like a bunker rake. The Wisps could be on every greenside bunker, about one to two a hole.

Of course, the Wisp won’t be effective unless everyone learns and understands the etiquette of leaving something better for someone else. And Dobson says that plays right into what golf is about, a game that prides itself on maintaining core values, respect and integrity.

“Course care etiquette needs to be revitalized and the Wisp is just one of the things that can be used as a platform to re-energize a lost values system,” Dobson said. “It’s so easy to respect the course, do it right and take care of it.”

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