What You Should Know About Driving a Golf Cart

Columns - Outside the Ropes

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October 11, 2018

 
  1. Cart paths are there for a reason. There is no need to drive or park anywhere other than on the path when conditions warrant.
  2. Pulling off the path approaching tees and greens wears out the turf close to the paths. The more the turf declines, the more drivers creep closer to areas where carts do the most damage.
  3. If you belong to or play at a course that is part of a community, obey traffic signs. A stop sign means just that: Stop! A 400-pound plastic golf cart meeting a 3,000-pound metal automobile is not a pretty sight.
  4. Even if you’re the only one out on the course in the early evening, even if there’s no one else around, it’s still not OK to drive wherever you want. No one might see you, but the turf will still be affected.
  5. Ropes and stakes are not there to create an obstacle course for you to have fun driving over, around and through. They are there to keep you safe and keep the turf healthy.
  6. Same with speed bumps, curbs and rumble strips. They are there to get your attention and keep you safe. And stone-risers on a curve and by the greens are not there to tell you when it’s time to leave the path and go closer!
  7. 90 degrees means 90 degrees! Golfers who drive on the course after aerification, Fraze mowing, a rain event or other anomalies are asked to go straight over and straight back for a reason. No meandering, no venturing into a “cone of uncertainty.” And in case you’ve forgotten your high school geometry, 90 degrees is a right angle, a straight line to your ball and back. Right angles are not 70 degrees or 110 degrees.
  8. Having a special flag on your cart does not give you permission to drive across the putting green or through puddles and native areas. It’s supposed to mean you have a legitimate disability, which allows you some special privilege and leeway. How much is simple common sense. Don’t roll over the flower beds or take a tour of the bunkers. Don’t park with one tire on the green and don’t drive through the fine fescue. Stay as close to the paved surface as possible and do not venture into any protected areas.
  9. Water is going to collect in low spots, but that doesn’t mean you have to drive through every body of standing water on the course. Steer carefully around the puddles and the cart, the course, and you are more likely to be OK. And just because you see someone else pretend he’s on the flume ride at the amusement park, doesn’t mean you have to make your own waves.
  10. Signs that ask you to “Enter Here” and “Exit Here” along the cart paths are there for a reason. Yes, the superintendent is trying to make his life easier, but he’s doing that so the course doesn’t take the brunt of bad driving.
  11. Driving over sprinkler heads and next to fairway bunkers can cause a lot of damage, which means repair and maintenance, with the costs ultimately passed on to you, the golfer.
  12. If you’re looking for a ball, don’t park the cart at the furthest point and walk back, abandoning the cart and ignoring players behind you. If there are two of you in the cart, one of you should get out and walk while the other searches in the cart. And when you do find the ball, leave your cap, towel or head cover close by so you don’t have to search all over again after getting a club. Not only will you do less damage to the course, but you’ll help speed up play.
  13. Keep your legs and feet in the cart. You’d be surprised how many legs and ankles are broken every year by getting caught between the cart and the curb. Watch out for overhanging branches, too.

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Tim Moraghan, principal, ASPIRE Golf (tmoraghan@aspire-golf.com). Follow Tim’s blog, Golf Course Confidential at www.aspire-golf.com/buzz.html or on Twitter @TimMoraghan