Golf carts play an important role at many golf facilities. They provide a revenue source and increase accessibility, allowing golfers who might not otherwise be able to walk the course to enjoy playing. These benefits are not without their costs, however. Golf carts can have very negative impacts on turf health and playing conditions, especially in areas where traffic is concentrated. Keeping these five things in mind will help ensure that you don’t put the cart before the course during your next round.
1. The impact of cart traffic varies.
Many factors influence how cart traffic affects a golf course. Certain grasses are more vulnerable to traffic injury and may require special cart policies. Areas with heavy soils and poor drainage face a greater risk of compaction and other traffic issues. Even the time of year plays a role. When grasses are growing slowly, they are more vulnerable to the cumulative effects of cart traffic. For all these reasons, cart policies vary from course to course, hole to hole and even day to day.
2. Wet conditions and cart traffic do not mix.
Carts can slide, skid and sink when turf is wet, causing immediate and lasting damage. Wet soils are also more vulnerable to compaction, which can have negative long-term effects on playing conditions, even if those impacts are not immediately visible. Avoiding wet areas and respecting cart path restrictions is an important part of being a responsible cart driver.