Step into the storied history of golf and discover its roots in 15th-century Scotland. Step onto an exclusive club's greens, and you'll still find caddies accompanying players - a tradition that has weathered centuries. But what about those trusty golf carts? Have they always been part of the game? Let us look back and explore their fascinating story!
First came the millionaire golfer from Arkansas. He was born, J. K. Wadley into the family lumber business. His business empire would expand to oil, hotels and gold. But it wasn't the millions he was making that would change his life, it was the opening of Texarkana County Club in his hometown of Texarkana, Arkansas and his introduction to golf in 1915.
His passion for golf was celebrated and his game was more than on par. He would go on to play with President Eisenhower and celebrities like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Legend has it that when he was playing tournament golf in his 70s and 80s he would post lower scores than his age. His biggest victory on the course was the Southern California Senior Championship. But his biggest victory came off the course on a business trip to California.
The Year was 1932 and Wadley was in Los Angeles. He observed a three-wheeled electric cart in action – providing seniors with comfortable and convenient transportation to the grocery store. The light bulb went off - what a perfect way to get around the golf course. So he bought one for his own personal golf use.
As 1932 rolled on, Lyman Beecher of Clearwater, Florida was every bit as passionate about golfing as J.K. Wadley and the rest of America. Painfully afflicted with arthritis though, he had to come up with something innovative and inventive that allowed him to still enjoy the game. Consequently, Lyman conceived an ingenious plan - a rickshaw-style cart pulled by two willing caddies! This extraordinary invention enabled him to continue playing his beloved sport and began our love affair with golf carts.
The Early Years
Over the next two decades, a few more electric golf carts were introduced. But this modern invention never really caught on -these vehicles catered to elderly or impaired individuals who could not easily walk the course. Most golfers were content walking the golf course alongside their faithful caddies.
As the 1950s kicked off, golf carts quickly gained traction. It was R.J Jackson, an oil tycoon from Texas that is credited with innovating this new transportation method in 1952 when he filed a US patent for a three-wheeled and gasoline-powered Arthritis Special -- designed to help older or disabled golfers get around more conveniently on the links. Although sales were initially strong, many courses eventually banned him due to its excessively loud noises and smoke emissions caused by his cart's engine.
The modern golf cart was first manufactured by Merle Williams' Marketeer in Redlands, California back in 1951. Before long, this classic vehicle became a beloved item on the golf scene as other companies such as E-Z-Go and LEKTRO joined the revolution in 1954. Cushman and Club Car followed suit and began producing similar models. Subsequently, Taylor-Dunn, Harley Davidson, and Yamaha entered the scene to expand the market for these iconic carts - providing something for each individual's wants or needs!
Golf Carts Today
Although their design has remained relatively unchanged since the 50s, golf carts have made enormous strides in functionality. Measuring an average of 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 6 feet high, they can reach leisurely speeds of up to 15 miles per hour while weighing approximately 950 pounds. Additionally, most models are equipped with electric battery-powered engines as opposed to gas engines for a quieter ride that produces no emissions. And don't forget about GPS technology that you now find built into many golf carts. But at the end of the day, they still carry 2 golfers, their golf bags, and golf gear.
The price of a golf cart can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars for used models to well over $20,000 for a premium model with the average being $8,000 to $9,000 for a new golf cart. All these sales lead to a golf market size that was valued at over 1.5 Billion in 2022. And it's not slowing down anytime soon.
Beyond the Links
Golf carts are no longer just used on the golf course. They have become a popular form of transportation in many gated communities, retirement homes, farms, factories, and even college campuses! From transporting mail around town to being utilized as a first responder vehicle at airports - these all-terrain vehicles can traverse any landscape with ease.
When it comes to leisure activities, people use golf carts as an alternative form of transportation with some communities even investing in designated pathways for them. In fact, it's not uncommon to find more golf carts than cars in some gated retirement communities. They're also seen accompanying people who are attending festivals or concerts or simply cruising around their neighborhoods.
When covering expansive areas, golf carts are incredibly valuable. Farms typically employ all-terrain vehicles for their bigger properties, while airports leverage fleets of electric models to minimize environmental pollution. Additionally, some businesses like theme parks may use battery or gas-powered utility cars to transport goods - those precious little buggies hurtling around the park with food in tow!
But it doesn't end there; these days you can customize your own personal model depending on what sort of appeal you're looking for and what kind of environment you plan on using it in. Whether you want something fitted with headlights and taillights or something designed specifically for differential terrain - modern-day manufacturers make sure that everyone can find something that works best for them at any given time! Overall though, no matter how they’re being used - Golf Carts have solidified themselves as an essential part of our lives while providing us convenience and joy along the way :)
It's amazing to think that golf carts have been around for almost a century now! From their humble beginnings as an assistive device for the elderly and disabled to becoming one of the most popular modes of transportation in gated communities - there’s no denying how far they've come. Whether you're looking for something sporty or just want a reliable way to get from point A to B on your farm, college campus, or neighborhood; modern-day manufacturers make sure that everyone can find something suitable at any given time. So next time you see someone cruising down the street in their very own golf cart – don’t forget about J.K Wadley and Lyman Beecher who revolutionized this beloved vehicle all those years ago!
If you're looking to enhance your golf cart experience see below.