Golf Car and Cart Path Care and Safety

Interesting facts
  • The first golf cart was invented in the late 1940s strictly for people with disabilities.
  • About two-thirds of all regulation 18-hole rounds are played with golf carts (NGF, 1994).
  • Several states now allow golf carts to be registered for "street" usage.
  • Since the introduction of golf carts, caddie usage has dropped to only 1 percent of regulation rounds (NGF, 1994).
Safety first
  • Golf carts should only be operated from the driver's side.
  • Never drive with more than two occupants or allow riders on the back of the cart.
  • Be sure your passenger is fully seated and check for obstructions before moving.
  • Keep your entire body -- particularly your feet -- inside the car when moving.
  • Drive slowly through turns and drive straight and slow up and down slopes.
  • Be certain to set the brake when coming to a complete stop.
  • Use extra care when operating a golf cart in reverse, or on hills, wet turf, loose surfaces or rough terrain.
  • Remove the key when the golf cart is not in use.
  • Do not operate a golf cart when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Golf carts do not provide protection from lightning -- seek appropriate shelter if lightning is present.
Follow the rules
The wear-and-tear of golf cart traffic can cause unsightly and expensive damage to the golf course. Tire ruts in soft, wet areas can take weeks to heal. Compaction caused by heavy traffic can also ruin the playing surface. You can help prevent damage by following the course's standard golf cart policy and obeying temporary restrictions caused by weather, construction or other factors.

Drive friendly
If you "drive friendly," your use of a golf cart won't impede the play of others:
  • Park your golf cart behind or beside the green -- never in front -- to allow players behind you to hit sooner after you've finished the hole. (You should generally always avoid driving a golf cart into the "approach" area 20 to 30 yards in front of the green.)
  • Stop your vehicle to avoid distracting a nearby player who is preparing to hit a shot.
  • Never drive into yards or neighboring properties.
General tips
  • Never drive a golf cart through standing water in fairways or any turf areas that are obviously wet.
  • Never drive onto a green, collar or tee or any marked hazard.
  • Never drive into any area that has been recently seeded or sodded.
  • Avoid abrupt stops and sharp turns that cause skidding.
  • Spread out wear-and-tear by avoiding compacted areas.
  • If golf cars are allowed in the fairway, follow the 90-degree rule: Stay on the path until you come even with your ball, then make a 90-degree turn into the fairway and drive directly to your ball. After your shot, drive directly back to the path.
  • Watch for special signage or other markers that direct traffic. Exit the fairways prior to the green exit post and return to the cart path.
  • Avoid driving over sprinkler heads and yardage markers.
  • Don't drive carts into out-of-play areas that may be environmentally sensitive (such as wildflower patches, native grass plantings and marshes).
  • Golfers with medically certified disabilities may need access to areas not normally open to golf cart traffic. Their golf carts are generally marked with a flag to let others know they have special access.
  • Avoid pulling off the path near tees and greens.
  • Keep all four tires on the path whenever possible. Do not park with tires off the path.