Golf Carts — An Amazingly Diversified Niche Industry
Golfers out for a Sunday afternoon game just take them for granted on the golf course, and never think about their origin. I am talking about golf carts, those miniature vehicles dotting each golf course. Even so, golf cart production is a multi-million dollar industry and different systems abound. Golf carts are manufactured as miniature cars, and golf-cart corporations provide leasing and financing choices just as the huge car corporations do.
Golf originates from a medieval game played on the coast of Scotland in the 15th century. Golfers would hit a pebble instead of a manufactured ball around the sand dunes employing a stick or wide club. As time passed, stones were exchanged for man-made balls, the earliest of which were thin leather bags stuffed with feathers. The gutta-percha ball wasn’t invented until 1848 and might be hit the maximum distance of 225 yards. In 1899 rubber balls were invented that may reach distances of 430 yards if hit by a professional. Golf sticks evolved into carefully weighted golf clubs, and in the 1880’s the use of golf club bags became fashionable. The caddie, a servant who carted all the player’s gear aound the golf course, had his burden lessened in the early 1950’s by the introduction of the golf cart.
The 1st golf cart manufacturers were E-Z-Go, Pargo, Harley Davidson and Cushman. The cost was astoundingly high for this era, $1200, however as even more manufacturers entered the field it dropped to $600, still a steep price for this era in inflationary terms. Fifty years later, E-Z-Go is still producing golf carts today. There are 100s of golf cart manufacturers listed online, and virtually all of these corporations specialize solely in these vehicles, and don’t produce any larger cars.
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The 1st golf carts were gas-powered, however recently the market has shifted to even more battery-powered systems. Golf carts can be customized just like cars, and lift kits and ATV wheels are sold to golfers who wish to express their individuality out on the course. There are corporations which specialize in creating entire custom golf cars, or even miniaturized versions of full sized cars, like the Humdinger (Humvee), mini Jeep, Rolls-Royce, Cadillac or even Mercedes-Benz.
Golf carts come in three forms: manual push/pull carts, electric motorized carts, and electric or even gas golf cars that hold passengers as well as gear. Push/pull carts have two to three wheels and a vertical support to hold a golf bag. They are basically just a manual dollies with clips and holders especially adapted for golf gear, and sell for $50 to $100. Moving higher in sophistication, motorized golf caddies cost about $500 all the way to $1000. Golf carts, which resemble dune buggies in size, begin at about $1800 for a small basic model.
Ebay has a massive choice of both new and utilized golf carts at low prices however service can be a problem with the smaller vendors. Check if the vendor has a physical store as well and is not just a reseller of a larger firm. Warranty service can be affected by this.
Manufacturers are also expanding their sales by renaming carts “Electric Utility Vehicles” and suggesting alternate utilizes for them, like hauling lawn equipment and travelling around rural properties.