Let’s face it: golf can be a pretty slow sport. Even if you’ve got lightning-quick hands and an impressive drive, that doesn’t mean you won’t spend most of your time wandering around the course waiting for your next shot. So to inject just a little bit of excitement into the game, many resorts have begun allowing guests to drive in golf carts instead of walking with traditional pull-a-long caddy carts. But are the electric carts the ultimate in golf travel?
While this is generally intended to speed up gameplay, many players might see this as an opportunity to break the speed limit on the golf course by driving off-road in their rented Gator or Zoomer (or whatever your resort calls its fleet of lightweight utility vehicles). Do you dare hit that gear? And if so, how fast can you legally go? Let’s take a closer look at what speed restrictions are on a typical public golf course and whether there are any variations based on location, type of terrain, or other factors.
How Fast Can You Go in a Golf Cart?
Like most things, this is largely determined by the golf cart’s manufacturer. While it isn’t uncommon to see a variety of different speed restrictions on public golf carts, the most common numbers we’ve seen are 10, 15 and 20 miles per hour. At the very least, you can expect that your golf cart will have a printed speed rating somewhere on its exterior. But wherever you’re playing, it’s always a good idea to double-check this number against the golf course rules.
These regulations can vary based on the type of golf cart and the type of course it’s being used on. For example, you’ll usually find slightly higher speed restrictions on carts being used on a golf course’s driving range. While golf carts on a course that doesn’t allow cars can be even slower.
Golf Course Speed Limits
As we discussed above, the general rule of thumb is that all carts should be driven at a maximum speed of 20 mph on public golf courses. However, you’ll notice that some courses have stricter speed limits posted on the course map. For instance, some courses in the United Kingdom have a posted speed limit of 10 mph for carts on the course.
Other courses may have a higher speed limit for carts, especially for carts being used for instructional or other specialized programs, such as beginner or senior carts. Additionally, some private or semiprivate courses may have different speed restrictions for carts on the course, depending on the owner’s preferences and property restrictions. So, if you’ll be playing a course that has different speed limits for carts, be sure to familiarize yourself with those before teeing off.
Variations in Location, Terrain, and Type of Course
– Location – While the general rule of thumb is that you can only go as fast as a car, you may be able to go faster in some situations. If you’re driving on a flat, open course in good weather, you’re unlikely to need to go any faster than 10 miles per hour. But if you’re driving on a hilly course, you may need to go faster in order to climb up the hill.
– Terrain – If you’re driving through a wooded area, you may need to go a little slower than the speed limit to avoid hitting trees. If the course has lots of bridges, you may also need to go a little slower than the speed limit to avoid going over the edge.
– Type of Course – In general, the longer the course, the more quickly you’ll need to drive. Driving quicker is not only more efficient, but it will also help you avoid getting trapped behind slow players. If you’re playing a short course, it might be best to keep your speed well below the speed limit.
Penalties for Exceeding the Speed Limit
If you’re caught speeding in a golf cart, you may get a ticket, a warning, or nothing at all. It really depends on the course, the course staff, and the situation. Some courses have strict rules about speeding, and you may get a ticket or be ejected from the course for going too fast. Other courses may have a more relaxed approach and simply ask you to slow down. It’s important to remember that speeding on a golf course is no different than speeding in a car, so you’re putting other golfers (and pedestrians) in danger if you go too fast. It’s also against golf etiquette, so if you’re caught by a rules official and aren’t on private property, they may ask you to leave.
While it’s fun to go fast in a golf cart, it’s important to remember that you’re still on a golf course. Golf carts should always be driven at a slow, safe pace and need to be mindful of pedestrians and other carts on the course. If you’re playing on a course that allows for faster cart speeds, such as a private course or a championship course, you may want to speed up a bit to keep up with the flow of the game. However, if you’re on a course that has a lower speed limit for carts, you may need to keep your speed down a bit so you don’t get ejected or get a ticket.