Definitions

Golf cart

Golf cart

A golf cart or golf buggy (officially referred to as a golf car according to ANSI standard z130.1, since "carts" are not self-propelled). is a small vehicle designed originally to carry two golfers and their golf clubs around a golf course with less effort than the traditional method of walking.

Golf cars come in a wide range of formats and are more generally used to convey small numbers of passengers short distances at speeds less than 15 mph per ANSI Standard z130.1 as originally manufactured. They are generally 4' x 8' x 6' high and weigh 900-1,000 pounds.

Originally golf cars were electrically powered, but later on gas powered variants started to occur. Electric golf cars were the first mass-produced electric vehicles for private consumer use. This variety is now used in many communities where their lack of pollutants, lack of noise, and safety for pedestrians and other cars (due to slow speeds) are beneficial. When purpose-built for general transportation these are called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), but with various operating limitations such as top speed and heavy regulation on which type of streets these types of cars are permitted to be used. These may resemble the golf cars shown above, although some are now being made with all–weather car–like bodies.

History

Electric golf carts have been used since at least 1951. Merle Williams of Long Beach, California was an early innovator of the electric golf cart. 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 car in Redlands, California. Two additional companies began production of electric golf carts in 1954: LEKTRO and E-Z-GO. Cushman began production in 1955, Club Car in 1958, Taylor-Dunn in 1961, and Harley-Davidson in 1963. In 1971 the gas powered golfcart began production and soon after became a huge hit in a small town called The Villages, Florida.

Golf Cart Communities

Peachtree City, Georgia has numerous miles of golf cart paths that link the city together. Golf cart travel is used by a great majority of the community, especially among high school students. McIntosh High School even has a student golf cart parking lot on campus.

The upper-class community of Bald Head Island, North Carolina does not allow motor vehicles on the island (except for trams running to and from the ferry port and island-owned maintenance vehicles). Its residents all use modified electric golf carts.

On Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia and also the Tropical Islands of Belize, where mainland vehicles are prohibited, golf carts are the main form of transport.

The Villages, a retirement community of over 70,000 in central Florida, has an extensive golf cart trail system (maybe 100 miles) and also allow golf carts on many streets. It is the most popuar form of transportation in this community.

Along with the rising popularity of golf carts, the number of golf cart-related injuries has increased significantly over the last decade. A study conducted by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that the number of golf cart-related injuries rose 132 percent 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 percent of golf cart-related injuries involved children under the age of 16.

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