Jeff Norden and his dog, Mimi, enjoys rides on their custom-design golf cart. JEAN HARRIS

Golf carts are no longer restricted to the golf course. Families have caught on to the ease of this mode of transportation and carts are extremely popular in neighborhoods all over Bluffton. 

If you’re thinking about buying a cart for your family or for your golf game, there are many factors to consider. First, should you buy new or used?


If you decide to buy a used cart there are a number of things you should consider:

• Should you buy from a dealership or from an individual who is selling their cart? A dealership is going to put the cart through a number of check-points, including tires, body, battery and brakes.  They will certify the cart.

If you are buying from an individual, you need to check the batteries.  Make sure they are free of corrosion, dirt and grim. The batteries don’t have to be new, but you need to know how old they are. 

You can expect at least a four-year battery life from lead-acid based batteries that you need to water regularly. If the cart has lithium batteries you don’t have to water them and they last at least eight years. 

Another item to check is the tires. Replacing them can be costly.  Make sure that the seller has a maintenance history from a dealership.


Refurbished carts are those that have been used solely in a golf course fleet. They are usually a couple of years old. Dealerships generally purchase these carts and strip them. You then can choose new seats, body, tire size, batteries, and various accessories.

Make sure that the refurbished cart is verified by a certified dealer.

I purchased a refurbished cart five years ago and was able to pick my Georgia colors of red and black. The dealership comes to your house and do a yearly checkup on tires, battery, brakes, etc.


In the past five years, there have been a great many changes to golf carts. Dealerships have popped up all over Bluffton and Hilton Head.  You can buy carts manufactured by Icon, E-Z-Go, Yamaha, Bintelli, ClubCar and more. Kerry Davis, retail sales manager at E-Z-Go, recommends that all buyers of carts should get lithium batteries.  

According to Annie Andrews, Club Car dealer, the majority of people who live in golf communities still buy the conventional two-seater since they aren’t using the cart on the road. However, many people purchase golf carts for other purposes besides golf.  

In Sun City, for instance, many of the residents use their golf carts for tennis, pickleball, shopping and more. I use my cart daily to take Arnie, my dog, to the dog park.  

One of the golf carts I’ve seen at the dog park is owned by Jeff Norden. His cart is custom-made and built in California and looks like a roadster.

You can choose a golf cart for golf only.  These carts can have USB outlets, sound systems, turn signals, brake lights, lithium batteries, and 8-inch tires for golf courses use, allowing 19.1 mph.  Most carts used for golf are either two- or four-seaters.

You can also choose a four- to six-seater cart that can be used for street surfaces. These carts can have bigger tires, hydraulic brakes, seat belts, Bluetooth sound systems, reverse camera, headlights and taillights, windshield wipers, turn signals and more – keep in mind that you need special insurance for these road vehicles. These vehicles have a 17-digit VIN number. (Sounds like a car to me).

Finally, another option is a gas-powered cart. These can travel up to 300 miles on a tank. Many of the road vehicles use gas especially in rural areas. Gas carts have become popular at golf courses due to lower maintenance.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local golf courses.;