Golf cart

Last updated
A common electric golf cart. Golf-cart fairway.jpg
A common electric golf cart.
An off-road gasoline-powered golf cart. Off Road Golf Cart.JPG
An off-road gasoline-powered golf cart.

A golf cart (called golf car in ANSI standard Z130.1, since "carts" are not self-propelled) [1] is a small vehicle designed originally to carry two golfers and their golf clubs around a golf course or on desert trails with less effort than walking.


Golf carts come in a wide range of formats such as 2, 4, and 6 seaters and are more generally used to convey small numbers of passengers short distances at speeds less than 15 mph (24 km/h) per ANSI Standard z130.1 as originally manufactured. They are generally around 4 feet (1.2 m) wide × 8 feet (2.4 m) long × 6 feet (1.8 m) high and weigh 900 pounds (410 kg) to 1,000 pounds (450 kg). Most are powered by 4-stroke engines.

The price of a golf cart can range anywhere from under US$1,000 to well over US$20,000 per cart, depending on several factors. These factors may include whether or not a fleet of carts is being purchased for a golf course or a country club, for example, and whether the carts are new or used. Other factors may include options such as equipment requirements, and how many people the cart is meant to transport. With the rise in popularity of golf carts, many golf clubs or country clubs offer storage and energy options to golf cart owners. This has led to the modification of golf carts to suit use at a particular golf course. Typical modifications include windshields, ball cleaners, cooler trays, upgraded motor or speed controller (to increase speed and/or torque), and lift kits.

The minimum age to drive a golf cart is 13 in Georgia, Alabama, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Vermont, and South Carolina.[ citation needed ] Other US states, such as Florida, [2] have a minimum age of 14–15 years.


Reportedly, the first use of a motorized cart on a golf course was by JK Wadley of Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas, who saw a three-wheeled electric cart being used in Los Angeles to transport senior citizens to the grocery store. Later, he purchased a cart and found that it worked poorly on a golf course. [3] The first electric golf cart was custom-made in 1932, but did not gain widespread acceptance. [4] In the 1930s until the 1950s the most widespread use of golf carts was for those with disabilities who could not walk far. [5] By the mid 1950s the golf cart had gained wide acceptance with golfers, with several manufactures (e.g. Victor Adding Machine Co. and Sears Roebuck) producing various models. Most were electric. [6]

Italian State Police golf carts at Venice Railway Station. PDS trucks.jpg
Italian State Police golf carts at Venice Railway Station.

Merle Williams of Long Beach, California was an early innovator of the electric golf cart.[ citation needed ] He started with knowledge gained from production of electric cars due to World War II gasoline rationing. In 1951 his Marketeer Company began production of an electric golf cart in Redlands, California. E-Z-Go began producing golf cars in 1954, Cushman in 1955, Club Car in 1958, Taylor-Dunn in 1961, Harley-Davidson in 1963, Melex in 1971, Yamaha Golf Car in 1979 and CT&T in 2002.

Max Walker created the first gasoline-powered golf cart "The Walker Executive" in 1957.[ citation needed ] This three-wheeled vehicle was shaped with a Vespa-style front end and, like any golf cart, carried two passengers and golf bags.

In 1963 the Harley-Davidson Motor Company began producing golf carts. Over the years they manufactured and distributed thousands of three- and four-wheeled gasoline-powered and electric vehicles that are still highly sought after. The iconic three-wheeled cart, with either a steering wheel or a tiller-based steering control, boasted a reversible two-stroke engine similar to one used today in some high-end snowmobiles. (The engine runs clockwise in forward mode.) Harley Davidson sold the production of golf carts to American Machine and Foundry Company, who in turn sold production to Columbia Par Car. Many of these units survive today, and are the prized possessions of proud owners, restorers, and collectors worldwide.

Other types of golf carts

Adaptive golf carts

New technology such as the SoloRider, an adaptive golf cart designed for a single user, is allowing disabled persons access to the golf course and the game itself. The cart’s seat swivels around, extends to an upright position, and allows the golfer to stand upright, be supported, and swing using both hands. [7] [8]

Customised golf carts

Extreme off-road golf cart Extreme off road golf cart.jpg
Extreme off-road golf cart

Golf carts may be modified from their original configuration to perform similar to the growing popularity of the Side by Side (UTV). Modifications as minor as suspension upgrades are commonplace, while entire redesigns may include axles and an engine from a full size automobile.

Some custom golf carts are inspired by the skateboard, with all four wheels being driven and the golfer controlling the cart in a standing upright position as if riding skateboard, leaning left or right to make turns. [9]

Golf cart communities

Peachtree City, Georgia has many miles of golf cart paths that link the city together. Children aged twelve or over may operate a cart on Peachtree City cart paths with a parent, grandparent or guardian in the front seat. Unaccompanied fifteen-year-olds with valid Georgia learner's permits are allowed to operate golf carts alone. Golf cart travel is used by a great majority of the community, especially among high school students. McIntosh High School and Starr's Mill High School have student golf cart parking lots on their campuses.

On islands (such as Santa Catalina Island, California, Bald Head Island, North Captiva Island, North Carolina, and Hamilton Island), motor vehicles are sometimes restricted and residents use golf carts instead.

The Villages, Florida, a retirement community of over 70,000 people, has an extensive golf cart trail system (estimated at around 100 miles (160 km)) and also allows golf carts on many streets. It is the most popular form of transportation in this community.

On the tropical islands of Belize golf carts are a major form of road transport and can be rented by tourists.

The residential community of Discovery Bay, Hong Kong does not allow the use of private vehicles apart from a fleet of 520 golf carts (excluding the ones operating exclusively in the Golf or the Marina Clubs). The remainder of the 20,000 residents rely on a mixture of shuttle buses and hire cars to travel around the township.

The Palm Springs Area in California contains multiple golf cart communities including PGA West, The Madison Club, The Hideaway, and many other golf course/golf cart communities. The PGA Tour is held at PGA West every January.

Accidents and injuries

Along with the rising frequency of golf cart crashes, the number of golf-cart-related injuries has increased significantly over the last decades. A study conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at the Nationwide Children's Hospital found that the number of golf cart-related injuries rose 132% during the 17-year study period. According to the study, published in the July 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, there were an estimated 148,000 golf cart-related injuries between 1990 and 2006, ranging from an estimated 5,770 cases in 1990 to approximately 13,411 cases in 2006. More than 30% of golf cart-related injuries involved children under the age of 16. [10]

The most common type of injury was soft tissue damage, usually just bruises, followed by fractures, constituting 22.3% of the cases, and lacerations, accounting for 15.5% of injuries. [11] Other types of injuries include concussions, internal injuries, subdural hematoma, spinal cord injury, or acute respiratory compromise. While rare, a few cases had severe outcomes: 4 fatalities, 2 paraplegic, and 1 quadriplegic injuries have been documented. [12]

Some of the main causes of injury related to golf cart accidents included cart overturn, falling/jumping from a moving golf cart, collision with another vehicle or stationary object, struck/run over by a cart, getting into or out of a moving cart. Out of all these, "falling or jumping from a golf cart" was the most common cause of injury for both adults and children. [11]

One contributing reason is that current golf cart safety features are insufficient to prevent passenger falls or ejection. [13] Golf carts moving at speeds as low as 11 miles per hour (18 km/h) could readily eject a passenger during a turn. Furthermore, rear-facing golf cart seats are associated with high rates of passenger ejection during fast acceleration, and most standard (stock) golf carts do not have brakes on all four wheels (typically brakes are only on the rear wheels, thus sharply limiting their braking power). [11] [14]

Golf cart injuries are also commonly found in desert areas (e.g. Johnson Valley, California). Driving golf carts on bumpy dirt trails, along cliffs, down rocky trails that should only be traversed using 4-wheel-drive vehicles, can all lead to injuries.

Golf cart safety

Arizona has a large snowbird population, and many of them live in large RV parks or retirement communities that use golf carts to get around. In 2014, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a law permitting golf cart drivers to drive as close to the right-hand edge of the roadway as possible. Prior to the passage of the law, golf cart drivers received traffic tickets for failing to drive in the center of the roadway. Complementing the new law, a golf cart safety education program was initiated. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

Motorcycle Two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle

A motorcycle, often called a motorbike, bike, or cycle, is a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycle design varies greatly to suit a range of different purposes: long-distance travel, commuting, cruising, sport, including racing, and off-road riding. Motorcycling is riding a motorcycle and being involved in other related social activity such as joining a motorcycle club and attending motorcycle rallies.

Open-wheel car Type of automobile

An open-wheel car is a car with the wheels outside the car's main body, and usually having only one seat. Open-wheel cars contrast with street cars, sports cars, stock cars, and touring cars, which have their wheels below the body or inside fenders. Open-wheel cars are built both for road racing and oval track racing. Street-legal open-wheel cars, such as the Ariel Atom, are very scarce as they are often impractical for everyday use.


A brake is a mechanical device that inhibits motion by absorbing energy from a moving system. It is used for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, wheel, axle, or to prevent its motion, most often accomplished by means of friction.

Tricycle Three-wheeled self-powered vehicle

A tricycle, often abbreviated to trike, is a human-powered three-wheeled vehicle.

Neighborhood Electric Vehicle US category of microcar

A Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) is a U.S. category for battery electric vehicles that are usually built to have a top speed of 25 miles per hour (40 km/h), and have a maximum loaded weight of 3,000 lb (1,400 kg). Depending on the particular laws of the state, they are legally limited to roads with posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) or less. NEVs fall under the United States Department of Transportation classification for low-speed vehicles. The non-electric version of the neighborhood electric vehicle is the motorised quadricycle.

Low-speed vehicle

In the United States and Canada, low-speed vehicle (LSV) regulations allow relaxed design and registration laws for four-wheel vehicles that have a maximum capable speed of about 25 mph (40 km/h). Several other countries have similar regulations.


A caster is an undriven wheel that is designed to be attached to the bottom of a larger object to enable that object to be moved.

Aixam French automobile manufacturer

Aixam-Mega is a French automobile manufacturer based in Aix-les-Bains, Savoie. It was founded in 1983 to make microcars following the acquisition of Arola. On 11 April 2013, US based Polaris Industries announced that it had acquired Aixam-Mega from previous owners Axa Private Equity.

Gravity racer

A gravity racer or soapbox is a motorless vehicle which is raced on a downhill road either against the clock or against another competitor. Although most are built for the purpose of recreation, some gravity racing teams take the sport more seriously and compete to win. They are propelled by gravity and can achieve speeds upwards of 164 km/h.

Variable-geometry turbocharger

Variable-geometry turbochargers (VGTs), occasionally known as variable-nozzle turbines (VNTs), are a type of turbochargers, usually designed to allow the effective aspect ratio of the turbocharger to be altered as conditions change. This is done because the optimum aspect ratio at low engine speeds is very different from that at high engine speeds.

Motorized bicycle

A motorized bicycle is a bicycle with an attached motor or engine and transmission used either to power the vehicle unassisted, or to assist with pedalling. Since it always retains both pedals and a discrete connected drive for rider-powered propulsion, the motorized bicycle is in technical terms a true bicycle, albeit a power-assisted one. However, for purposes of governmental licensing and registration requirements, the type may be legally defined as a motor vehicle, motorbike, moped, or a separate class of hybrid vehicle.

Eshelman was a marque of small American automobiles (1953–1961) and other vehicles and implements including motor scooters, garden tractors, pleasure boats, aircraft, golf carts, snowplows, trailers, mail-delivery vehicles and more. The Cheston L. Eshelman Company was incorporated on January 19, 1942, and was based on the sixth floor of an industrial building at 109 Light Street in Baltimore, Maryland, with aircraft production facilities located in Dundalk, Maryland. The company president was Cheston Lee Eshelman, the first vice-president was Sidney S. Zell, and the first treasurer was Frank K. Kris.

The following items are commonly used automotive acronyms and abbreviations:

Club Car American company

Club Car is an American company that manufactures electric and gas-powered golf cars and UTVs for personal and commercial use. It is a business unit of the Ingersoll Rand corporation in its Industrial Technologies division.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to automobiles:

Electric motorcycles and scooters

Electric motorcycles and scooters are plug-in electric vehicles with two or three wheels. The electricity is stored on board in a rechargeable battery, which drives one or more electric motors. Electric scooters have a step-through frame.

Car Motorized passenger road vehicle

A car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of cars say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport people rather than goods.

Battery electric vehicle Type of electric vehicle

A battery electric vehicle (BEV), pure electric vehicle, only-electric vehicle or all-electric vehicle is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that exclusively uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs, with no secondary source of propulsion. BEVs use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines (ICEs) for propulsion. They derive all power from battery packs and thus have no internal combustion engine, fuel cell, or fuel tank. BEVs include – but are not limited to – motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, railcars, watercraft, forklifts, buses, trucks, and cars.

Electric skateboard

An electric skateboard is a personal transporter based on a skateboard. The speed is usually controlled by a wireless hand-held throttle remote or rider body weight-shifting between front of the board for forward motion and rear for braking. As for the direction of travel to the right or left, it is adjusted by tilting the board to one side or the other. The classification of electric skateboards and legality of their use on roads or pavements varies between countries.

Outline of motorcycles and motorcycling Overview of and topical guide to motorcycles and motorcycling

The following outline is provided as an overview of motorcycles and motorcycling:


  1. "ANSI z130.1". Archived from the original on 2006-08-24. Retrieved 2006-07-27.
  2. "Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine". Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2011-05-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Golfer Follows Ball In Car Run By Electricity", May 1932, Popular Mechanics article bottom of page 801
  5. "Electric Auto as Caddy Serves Crippled Player" Popular Mechanics, August 1930, bottom of pg. 199
  6. "Golfers Mobilize" Popular Mechanics, April 1956, p. 103
  7. "Home - SoloRider: The Leading Single Rider Adaptive Golf Cart for People with Disablities".
  8. "Ability Magazine: Golf Access" (2011)" . Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  9. Strege, John. "GolfBoard: Where skateboard meets golf cart". Golf Digest. Golf Digest. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  10. Newswise: First National Study to Examine Golf Cart-Related Injuries Retrieved on June 11, 2008.
  11. 1 2 3 Watson, Daniel S. et al. Golf Cart-Related Injuries in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, issue 35 (2008): pp. 55–9
  12. Kelly, Edward, G. Major Injuries Occurring During Use of a Golf Cart. South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, Pittsburgh (1996). pp. 519–21
  13. Seluga, Kristopher J., et al. Low Speed Passenger Ejection Restraint Effectiveness. Accident and Analysis Prevention, Stamford (2005). pp. 801–6
  14. Seluga, Kristopher J., et al. Braking Hazards of Golf Cars and Low Speed Vehicles. Accident Analysis and Prevention, Stamford (2006). pp. 1151–1156
  15. "Sun City residents celebrate new golf-cart law". azcentral. Retrieved 2018-09-02.