Quick History of the Golf Cart

Quick History of the Golf Cart

In honor of #TBT, here's a quick look into the history of your favorite mode of transport.

The Early Years

Before the 1930s, golfers either walked the course or employed caddies to carry their bags. This was the norm and was integral to the essence of the game. The idea of any form of automated transportation on the course was unheard of.

The concept of the golf cart began to take shape in the early 1930s. The first carts were not motorized; they were simple pull-carts or trolleys. Players would place their golf bags on these trolleys and pull them from hole to hole.

Birth of the Motorized Cart

The late 1940s and early 1950s saw the introduction of the first motorized golf carts. Companies like Merle Williams's Marketeer Company in Redlands, California, started producing electric models. Initially, these carts were designed for people with disabilities who couldn't walk the course. However, they quickly gained popularity among a broader demographic.

In the 1950s, more companies entered the scene. E-Z-GO began in 1954, Cushman began its operations in 1955, and Club Car started in 1958. These three brands would eventually become major players in the industry.

The Evolution of Design

In the 1960s and 1970s, golf carts underwent significant design changes. Initially modeled like small vehicles with three wheels (two in the back and one in the front), the design transitioned to the four-wheeled vehicles most common today. The 70s also saw the introduction of gas-powered golf carts. With longer lifespans and more power, they quickly became popular, especially in areas with extensive courses.

In addition to functional designs, customizations started becoming popular. Luxury features, custom paint jobs, and even stereo systems found their way into the golf cart designs.

Beyond the Course

By the 1980s and 1990s, the utility of golf carts expanded beyond the golf course. They became popular in gated communities, large estates, and even some urban areas as an eco-friendly alternative to cars for short trips. This prompted changes in designs, with the introduction of headlights, windshields, and more seating capacity.

Modern Era

The 21st century saw an emphasis on sustainability. As a result, solar-powered golf carts and hybrid designs began to emerge. With the rise of technology, modern golf carts come equipped with GPS systems, Bluetooth capabilities, and other tech features.

Moreover, the design now prioritizes safety more than ever. With carts being used in various terrains and even on some roads, they now often come with seat belts, efficient braking systems, and better suspension.


From being a luxury for those unable to walk a course to an eco-friendly mode of transport, the golf cart has come a long way. Its evolution mirrors the changes in society and technology, and as both continue to evolve, so too will the humble golf cart.

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