Once you are about to climb into the golf cart, and speed off to the first tee, pause for a moment. Are you sure you know all the golf cart etiquette and safety rules? Probably not! Most people tend to take golf carts for a joyride, drive recklessly, and end up with serious injuries. Most golf courses post notices at certain places regarding the safety of a golf cart. These rules may vary for each club; however, the basic structure remains the same.
Cart Path Only
This rule states that you must always drive your cart on the designated cart path, and avoid driving on the grass. Sometimes, golf carts may slip on the grass due to the moisture, which makes the surface slippery. Over a period of time, continuous commuting of golf carts may make the soil hard and compact. This soil then fails to provide ideal growing conditions for the turf grass. Low-grade turf grass leads to inferior fairways for golfers. Some golf clubs may not have a rule as such, but it is always a good practice to drive on the designated cart path.
The 90-degree rule enables golfers to drive on the grass, but only at right angles. This means that you have to drive on the cart path until you are parallel to your ball, and then take a 90-degree turn to drive straight to the ball. This 90-degree rule eliminates any inconvenience to the golfers, as well as minimizes the time for which the cart is present on the grass.
No Carts Beyond This Point
You may have come across this sign on a fairway. It aims at keeping the golf carts away from the putting green. Whenever you encounter this sign, make sure you don't drive the cart beyond it. It is advisable to leave the cart on the cart path, and proceed on foot. You might also find this sign near water hazards or bunkers. The purpose is the same - to keep the carts off dangerous areas.
Other Safety Tips
- Do not speed unnecessarily, or take sharp turns at top speed.
- Wait for fellow passengers to sit down before putting the cart into motion.
- Ensure that the driver and all the passengers keep their body parts inside the confines of the cart; as most injuries are in the form of broken or twisted ankles, when the leg is dangling outside the cart.
- Watch out for other golfers, trees, branches, and other obstacles in your way.
- Never drive through water, unless it is on the designated cart path.
- Golf carts are noisy, so make sure that the cart does not distract a golfer who might be concentrating on his swing.
- Follow general safe-driving practices, like not driving under the influence of alcohol, being vigilant at intersections, not overloading the cart with passengers, etc.