Golf Cart Safety

By Sharon Penn
Use caution when operating a golf cart.
Use caution when operating a golf cart.

Golfers who use a cart on the course should be aware of golf cart safety rules. Courses may be posted with signs designed to steer carts in the desired direction, either with wording or with arrows. Other indicators are roped off areas, which tell players that sections of the course are off limit to carts. In addition, there may be special golf cart rules in effect on certain days.

Warning Signs in Carts

Golf cart warnings may be posted in the pro shop or in the cart itself. These safety rules can include guidelines about keeping arms and legs in the cart at all times; limiting each cart to two passengers; waiting until the passenger is seated before accelerating; and driving carefully in areas with more traffic, such as around the clubhouse. Safe driving rules for automobiles, such as coming to a complete stop and looking in both directions, also apply to golf carts when a cart path crosses a road. No drinking and driving applies to golf carts as well as other vehicles.

Staying Out of Trouble

Golf carts should not be driven off cart paths near tee boxes where golfers are hitting or around the greens where the pin is a target. Particularly in such landing areas, carts should always be visible to players in the group behind yours.

Use common sense when using a cart around water hazards, bunkers and grassy mounds. This includes avoiding driving across extreme slopes, slowing down when going down or across hills, not turning when on a slope and always setting the parking break when parking on a slope. This is for your safety as well as the protection of the course, which can be damaged by a cart.

Do Not Drive Ahead

Be aware of where the other players in your foursome are at all times. Not only is it courteous to do so, but safety concerns dictate that you never drive into another player's target line: the line between their ball and the flag. When holes are adjacent to each other, you also want to look around for golfers hitting on nearby fairway, so you don’t drive into or park in a dangerous spot.

Special Rules

On some days, a golf course will post a 90-degree rule, when carts can only be driven on 90-degree angles from the cart path, or cart path only, when they cannot be driven on the fairways at all. These rules are for your protection, and for the protection of the turf. Typically they are invoked after a soaking rain when the fairways are wet or muddy. A golf cart driving on such a fairway may get stuck in the mud or make deep ruts in the turf as the wheels spin to get out.

Natural Areas

Many golf courses have naturalized areas with grasses, shrubbery and woods that become home to wildlife. Though signs are often posted warning of such areas, carts should stay away from such areas in general. Doing so ensures that plants and animals are not harmed or startled and that you do not have an unexpected encounter.

About the Author

Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

Photo Credits

  • golf,golfers,cart,tee,sport,chiefland,florida image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com
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