A group of golfers arrive at the first tee ready to begin their round, but before they exit their golf carts the drivers pull slightly off to the side of the path. After hitting their tee shots, they jump back in the carts and go in search of their balls. Eventually, the players advance up to the putting green where they once again park their carts halfway off the path before exiting. If this group, and others, repeat this process throughout their rounds, it won’t take long for unsightly bare spots to develop immediately adjacent to the cart paths because of the continuous traffic. We have all seen these areas before. In fact, most of us have been guilty of this bad habit from time to time without realizing the damage we are generating. Why do we do it?
Maybe it is just instinctive, a product of the safe driving practices we learned driving our cars. It makes perfect sense to pull off a highway along the shoulder should you need to stop for some reason. Doing so certainly helps to lessen the chance of causing a wreck. However, it seems highly unlikely that we would need to pull our golf carts halfway off a cart path to avoid being in a serious accident.
A more probable explanation for this parking behavior could have to do with our wanting to be courteous to other golfers and course personnel, thereby allowing them to easily pass. Unfortunately, this behavior – despite its good intensions – is generally not a good practice. Seldom will someone need to pass a parked cart. In the event that a golf cart, beverage cart, maintenance vehicle or mower needs to get by, they can easily pull off the path themselves and drive around parked carts. This creates less wear than if we pull our carts off the path at every stop.
Consider all the ways golf courses try to deter carts from cutting corners or parking off paths. Curbs, berms, boulders, fences, walls, ropes and stakes are common sights along cart paths near tees and putting greens. Making sure to keep all four tires on the path when parking is a simple and effective way to do our part to improve turf conditions alongside cart paths. So, next time you drive a golf cart do everyone a favor by not cutting corners or pulling off to the side when parking. Instead, leave your cart entirely on the path. Eventually, this positive parking procedure will become second nature.