Golf carts made their debut in the 1950s and cost between $300 and $400. The earliest golf carts were electric, powered by small car batteries that were plugged into a power source when not in use. Electric golf carts are still popular today. In the 1970s, the gas powered golf cart was developed and cost between $1,000 and $1,300. Gas powered golf carts are generally more powerful and somewhat louder than the electric version.
Golf carts serve several functions. The original purpose was to move golfers and their golf equipment around a golf course at a leisurely pace. This is still a popular alternative to walking a golf course and carrying your own clubs, or hiring a caddy to do so. In more recent years, the golf cart has become a favorite mode of transportation in many residential and industrial settings. Used as a means of transportation, the golf cart is frequently seen moving small groups of people to points of interest within a residential community, or moving people and objects from place to place within an industrial setting.
Depending on the size of the golf cart and the strength of its motor, the golf cart can be used to move anywhere from two to six people. If the motor has a larger, stronger motor the golf cart may be used to transport heavier materials. For example, in some instances a cart may be hitched to the golf cart for hauling yard debris or any manner of items. The physical size of the golf cart and the strength of its motor should be considered when determining which golf cart suits a particular purpose. A general rule of thumb to remember is the more powerful the golf cart, the more expensive.
Almost all golf carts use a three pedal system, one for moving, one for stopping and one as a parking brake. In addition, most golf carts have a simple lever for forward or reverse. Today there is a wide range of golf cart features to choose from. Some wealthy golf cart owners might want a miniaturized version a full-sized car. Other golf cart owners might want a golf cart in a favorite color, seats made of plush leather or a sound system. There are nearly as many customizable options for a golf cart as there are for a full-sized car. In 2008, a basic new golf cart with standard vinyl covered seats, a Plexiglas windshield, and three pedal system was priced between $7,000 and $8,000. The same model refurbished runs about $5,000. When you start adding accessories and upgrades the price can skyrocket easily to $30,000 or more.
There are enormous benefits that can be had from a golf cart. For many elderly people, a golf cart allows them freedom of movement over short distances. Electric golf carts have very small carbon footprints and are very quiet. In environmentally conscious communities, golf carts are a popular alternative to full size cars for shorts trips within the community. Golf carts also require a much smaller storage space, to protect them from the elements and keep them secure, than full size cars.
Golf carts, even though I have been referring to them as adult "go carts" for illustrative purposes, should only be operated by adults. Most golf carts can travel at about 15 miles per hour. Though this is not a very fast speed, it is fast enough to cause bodily injury if crashed into a sizable object. If turned sharply, a golf cart could easily tip on its sides, causing a risk of harm as well. These are motorized vehicles and their operations should be done in a safe and responsible manner.