Still a favorite among golf players, golf carts have long branched out outside courses. You see these vehicles in retirement communities, campuses, farms, campgrounds, and other venues for leisure and recreation.
A golf cart can be a family vehicle too. Choices run from taking the kids to the greens to cruising around the neighborhood, to enjoying a picnic by the lake, park, or beach. You can also haul the cart and your family for faraway adventures such as camping or off-roading trip.
How do you like to make your golf cart perfect for family use? Look into these matters.
Make Your Golf Cart Family-Friendly and Safe
Personal golf carts can seat two to six people. A two-seater can accommodate you, your spouse, and the baby. For a growing family, a cart with four seats or more is preferable. Simple carts usually offer two seats, but there’s always room for an upgrade, albeit an expensive one.
Other than the clubs, you can take advantage of the storage for personal items that you will need for the family outing. If you need additional space for equipment or belongings, you can look into installing cargo baskets or racks in the front or rear of the unit.
Tires dictate the smoothness of a ride, and most golf carts are equipped with standard ones to cover even or usual road surfaces, including golf courses and on-streets. For off-roading, you can go for sand or knobby tires; all-terrain ones are for a mix of off-road and general street use.
If you plan to take your cart out to public roads, you need it to be street legal. As Dirt Legal explains, a golf cart generally does not have collision protection that standard cars have. That’s why golf carts are kept off major roads and at night.
For it to be safe for on-road use, the golf cart must be equipped with features like fender, reflectors (front/side/rear), side-view mirrors, and a horn as those specified by DMV California. Your state may have its own requirements for street-legal golf carts.
Kids change everything, including how you travel. You have to ensure they are safe and protected on the road.
- Seat belts. Most golf carts don’t come with seat belts. Unless specified, you have to install them to secure rear and front passenger. Seat-belt kits are universal and available in the retractable or nonretractable form.
- Headlights and taillights alert other drivers of your presence, reducing the likelihood of accidents on the road.
- This buffer keeps dust, stones, water, and other objects out of your eyes for safe driving.
- Weather accessories. Provide a roof over your heads (for topless golf carts) to keep the rain and sun at bay. You can extend the shade with a canopy.
Some of the safety features here may have been on the street-legal requirements in your state. As a friendly reminder, drive with care when you have a baby or small children. Keep your speed low, and avoid any sharp turns. Tell your young passengers to keep their hands, arms, and legs inside the cart at all times. And wear seat belts all the time.
Some Serious Considerations
Where does your family usually go? How do you intend to use the golf cart? One of the most important things to consider is whether the vehicle is electric or gas-powered.
Performance. Both types can work well on typical terrains. However, the gas-powered cart can tackle slopes or steep hills better than the electric cart can. The former is also more efficient with longer distances because the latter runs on batteries that may have to be charged.
Maintenance. Gas golf carts have combustible engines while electric carts have their rechargeable batteries. Each type entails a different kind of maintenance in which the gas-powered cart requires an annual, if not frequent, checks on its many moving parts. The electric cart is pretty straightforward with batteries that can last up to five years with optimal use. You have to examine the cells, though, for signs of corrosion and water levels.
Cost. Gas golf carts may fetch higher sales prices because they are not as common as their electric counterparts are, which are pioneers in the industry. If you add the fuel and maintenance costs, keeping a gas-powered cart is the more expensive option than the electric vehicle. However, some contend that, with batteries dying out at some point, gas golf carts are durable in the long run.
Noise/emission. Electric golf carts leave zero pollution, which makes them ideal for driving in neighborhoods and golf courses. On the other hand, some gas-powered ones rely on older engines, thus the noise and emission. Nonetheless, some models use four-cycle engines that are cleaner and quieter.
Whatever your choice, make sure that the vehicle is open for customization, modification, or conversion so that you can equip it with the features and cart accessories you need and want, as noted above. Brands like Club Car, Yamaha, and E-Z-GO are top manufacturers whose units can be personalized.
Here’s to countless trips and adventures with your loved ones!