Buying a golf cart: How to decide the best for you

Buying a golf cart can be a challenging experience. I recently decided to upgrade, since my golf cart was a 2006 cart with 4-year-old batteries. I got tired of being passed by everyone in Sun City.

I listed my cart on different web pages and got a lot of responses. However, most people didn't want to pay what I had listed. I finally sold it for half of what I had wanted to get.

The next challenge was buying a new one. Should I buy another used cart? I could save a lot of money buying a used one, but could I trust the people selling it?

There are no regulations in this kind of transaction. Far too many times, the seller doesn't fully disclose all the information about the cart.

The secret is knowing what to look for. An older cart that has been maintained can be a good buy. Batteries are always a major issue. You need to know how old the batteries are and their voltage.

For instance, 48-volt batteries carry more charge than 36-volt. The majority of today's golf carts are 48 volts.

When buying a used cart, you need to confirm the age of the batteries. Many companies have a stamp on the battery with the month and year it was processed.

I recommend buying a cart from an authorized dealer. Factory authorized dealers are required to carry liability insurance and represent their brands to high standards. Their technicians are also required to have factory testing.

Reputable dealers can service your cart at your home and also have the ability to transport it back to their facility to repair. You should buy a used cart from these dealers that has been fully checked out.

I finally decided to get a re-built cart, one that had come out of a fleet and is about two years old.

In re-building, the dealer takes everything off the cart and builds it to your specifications. I decided to make it my University of Georgia cart, in all red and black.

The seats are extremely comfortable. It has curtains that keep me dry in case I am out and it begins to rain. It has a fan to keep me cool in this summer heat.

I have larger, 10-inch tires that make the cart go faster - up to 22 mph - so I am now passing others on the street. Most of all, my dog loves to ride in it to the dog park.

According to Margie Donley of Lowcountry Golf Cars, 15 to 20 percent of their sales are to non-golfers. They sell a lot of carts to people who live in large communities such as Hampton Lake, Cyprus Run and Lawton Station.

Golf carts are great to use to drive to the pool, tennis and pickleball courts - not just to the golf course.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com


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