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Most keen golfers invest heavily in their equipment to try and maximize their enjoyment while they’re out on the course. And perhaps the most indulgent of all golf equipment is a cart.
There are 6 main types of golf carts. These are divided into 2 categories: vehicle-driven carts (gas, electric, custom, and street legal) and manual varieties that are commonly known as push and pull golf carts.
As you will learn in this article, there are lots of different types of golf carts available, and we cover gas, electric, custom, street-legal, push, and pull carts in the following sections.
Ultimately, the type of cart that you opt for largely depends on your available budget, as well as your intended use for it.
For example, while some golfers will be happy with a simple pull cart to save them from carrying their clubs, others will want a street-legal cart that they can use as a private transportation vehicle away from the course.
Whatever your motivation for buying or renting a golf cart, below are the most common types of golf carts to help you make a decision about which is most suitable for you.
Gas Golf Carts
Gas carts are a powerful alternative to popular electric golf carts and can get you from tee to green a lot more quickly, which is ideal if you regularly play long golf courses.
From a mechanical perspective, gas carts operate just like cars and most commonly run off unleaded gas. In addition, most gas carts have two/four-stroke engines and have a real kick, which is often lacking in electric carts.
However, because they run on petroleum, they’re not the most environmentally friendly option out there.
They’re also fairly noisy, particularly when compared to electric golf carts. You might upset your golf buddies by chugging along next to the green when they’re trying to line up a putt!
The other thing to consider about gas carts is that they require a fair amount of maintenance compared to other popular carts.
You will have to be prepared to perform regular oil changes, engine upkeep, and even tire rotations.
While they’re not as popular on the course as they once were, gas golf carts are still a great option if you’re looking for a cart with a decent bite that will get you around the course in no time at all.
Electric Golf Carts
It’s fair to say that electric cars are the most popular type of golf cart at courses around the world.
They’re super easy to operate and make next to no noise, which is ideal for transporting players around the golf course.
Utilizing an electric motor powered by rechargeable batteries, they’re much better for the environment than gas carts and require very little ongoing maintenance.
Most commonly, electric golf carts are charged when they’re returned to the clubhouse via a designated charging station.
But as battery energy storage technology advances, some electric carts are even equipped with solar panels on the roof.
One criticism that’s sometimes aimed at electric golf carts is that they’re relatively slow and struggle on steep inclines out on the course.
While this is true to some extent, providing they’re fully charged, electric carts are more than capable of doing the job that’s required of them.
Should you opt to buy an electric cart, just be sure that you have the means to charge it at home, which may require the installation of a specialist battery charger.
Custom Golf Carts
Check out this YouTube video where you can see a full custom golf cart refurb:
The beauty of a custom cart is that you can design it in any way that you choose! You can customize both electric and gas carts with a whole range of attractive features and enhancements that will turn heads wherever you ride them.
Many of the top brands like Club Car and EZ-Go offer custom builds, and you can enhance the base vehicle by adding some (or all!) of the following features:
- Increased seating (4 & 6-seater carts are available).
- Lifted suspension and bespoke rims.
- Enhanced color schemes.
- Custom canopies.
- Varied seat styles.
- Off-road tire options.
- Street-legal features like headlights, horns, etc.
As you might imagine, there are very few limits to how far you can take the customization of your golf cart, so if money isn’t an issue, you could create an exceptional cart that will make everyone at the club jealous!
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when opting for a custom cart is to ensure you have sufficient insurance, as it may attract the attention of thieves.
When not in use, make sure your custom cart is locked up in the garage.
Street Legal Golf Carts
This is a very good example of an electric, street legal golf cart:
You might be aware that some golf carts can be made street legal.
If you want to take your golf cart onto the street, you need to be in possession of the necessary driving permit and adhere to all of your state’s regulations for the use of private vehicles.
From a federal perspective, a street-legal vehicle must have:
- Working head, brake, and taillights with turn signals.
- DOT-approved tires.
- A windshield wiper and seat belts.
- A minimum top speed between 20 and 25mph.
- A unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- A speedometer, horn, and mirrors.
- Reflex reflectors and a lighted license plate bracket.
Given the specific requirements needed to make a golf cart street legal, it’s fair to classify them as a form of custom carts.
It’s illegal just to pick up the latest model from a dealer and take it out on the road without making the required modifications.
If you’re planning to use your golf cart as a personal transportation vehicle both on and off the course, be sure to check your state regulations.
Contact a custom golf cart dealer to discuss and plan the required enhancements to ensure your cart is street legal.
Push Golf Carts
Push golf carts are an excellent option for golfers who enjoy walking the course but don’t want to carry their own bags.
Because you don’t need to worry as much about the weight of your bag when using a pushcart, you can include some extra equipment like waterproofs and extra balls, just in case you have a problematic round!
Most push carts fold up conveniently and are easy to transport in the trunk of the car.
Many models are also small enough to fit in golf club lockers, which means you can leave your push golf cart at the club and take it out whenever you need it.
While there are lots of manual push carts out there, you can also opt for battery-powered push carts from brands like MotoCaddy, which enable you to source that little bit more power as you make your way up a steep incline out on the course.
You will also find that utilizing a push cart often allows you to enjoy a quicker pace to your game than an electric, ride-on cart.
The reason for this is that everyone has his or her bag and can walk directly to play their ball.
When riding together in a golf cart, players tend to drive from ball to ball, which can be time-consuming, particularly if you’re not hitting straight down the fairways!
Pull Golf Carts
Pull carts are just like push carts but with one fundamental difference – they’re designed to be pulled (obviously!).
Pull carts are the simplest of all carts and can usually be rented for a few bucks from the clubhouse.
You rest your bag on the frame, and off you go; there’s really nothing technical about pull carts.
Some of them come with a handy clipboard for your scorecard and pencil, which is about the extent of their additional features.
If you like to walk the course and don’t carry a great deal of equipment in your bag, a pull cart could be just what you’re looking for.
You just need to exercise a little bit of caution when operating a pull cart, as they can easily topple if the weight lies on one side and you ascend a hill at a bad angle!
They’re also not great in the mud, but like other carts, their use may be restricted to the paths during inclement weather to protect the course.
Golf Carts Explained: Which Will You Choose?
Buying or renting a golf cart is an excellent way to increase your enjoyment of the game.
Playing eighteen holes and carrying your bag at the same time is tiring, so a cart can help you focus your energy on playing your shots.
Whichever cart you opt for, it’s a good idea to double-check that the cart can be used on your preferred course, as some clubs put restrictions on the use of carts, particularly at times of the year when there’s a lot of rainfall.
The last thing you want is to invest in an expensive golf cart, only to find you can’t use it for large parts of the year at your local course!