Friday, April 11, 2014

Golf Cars

Your Standard Golf Cart
Our Snowbird tour of Florida has brought us to “The Villages” a community north of Orlando. The Villages occupies an area of close to 32 square miles and has a population on 80,000, and is always growing. The concept is a series of small “villages” offering a Florida lifestyle all in one location. There are golf courses all through the communities, and although all the houses are modern the Villages each have a central area with services, stores and restaurants that has almost a  a historical feel.

Everyone in the Villages has a golf cart. These carts however are not just for getting around the many golf courses, they have become one of the primary means of transportation within the community. People may bring their cars down from the cold snowy north, but they get stored in the garage waiting to be packed back up for the return trip once the snow is gone. Some people don’t even have cars, they fly down and use their golf carts when they are here. This phenomena is not unique to the Villages, it is common in many retirement/lifestyle communities all over the south.

Golf Cadillac
In the Villages it has been taken to the next level however. I noted that the shops selling and servicing the golf “carts” no longer call them “carts”, they now refer to them as “Golf Cars”, and they have become serious business. There are of course hundreds of your standard beige golf carts around, but slowly many are morphing into Golf Cars. You can purchase deluxe models in many colors with all the options; turn signals, custom upholstery, stereos, side curtains, mag wheels and even completely enclosed bodies. The prices raise from the standard few thousand, to well over $10,000.00.

Got some Freight you need moved?
Then there is the customizing of the carts, into not just “cars”, but luxury cars, hot rods, 18 wheelers, or pick-up trucks. You can buy custom bodies to turn your golf car into your dream machine of choice. I saw Cadillac, 57 Chevy, Rolls Royce, or Freightliner bodies. You can also add more powerful batteries or speedier electric motors, if you want, but many people use them so much that they have had to go to the gas powered option because the charges do not last as long as the owners trips do. I spoke to one fellow who said that he often put 200 miles on some days, and noted almost 8,000 miles in the first year.

City Car
There is even some movement from the Golf “Cars” towards actual “City Cars”, the tiny two passengers vehicles seen in the orient and Europe, smaller that the “Smarts”, but with all the Automobile amenities. The golf “carts” do not need any licensing and are limited to special lanes on the roads and to limited speeds, but the Cars must be licensed for road use and carry much more insurance.

I’m thinking a pale blue 1960’s Cadillac with those huge rear fins would be pretty cool conversion . . . . .   

1 comment:

  1. Hi there Art: One thing I REALLY want to know is: When are you going to put all these various postings into a book of your own adventures....??????