Golf is one of those sports that had embraced technology, so it is not a surprise that golf carts, formerly viewed as slow box-like buggies, are now modern and hip, just like POS that once shared a similarly bad reputation.
It is normal to see lots of them running around on a golf course, and people enjoy them as if they were a park attraction —and indeed, they kind of are. Modern golf carts have nowadays USB ports, audio speakers, and Bluetooth capabilities, as well as comfortable seats, and cool colors. So it is fair to say that today’s golf carts are a big investment for a golf facility, just as a fully-stocked golf shop, a pristine and well-maintained course, or a full-service food and beverage operation.
Being an expensive yet profitable investment, you have to take good care of your golf cart fleet. Then, it is vital to spare some budget for regular maintenance to keep them rolling on the golf course. Specific details may differ on the model, frequency of use, and source of power, but in general, all golf carts need maintenance to:
One of the things that contribute most to the course experience is the facility’s golf cart fleet, which must provide a high quality of service to golfers. Therefore, it must be in pristine conditions, and that is only achieved through maintenance —after all, preventing is much more cost-effective than repairing.
A lot of golf courses sign a maintenance agreement with their golf cart vendor that will cover minor repairs and regular preventative maintenance: being all carts addressed, any minor issues can be rectified in a short time. If you do not have this kind of contract, you will have to hire a specialist to perform these tasks before a minor problem becomes big enough to take your cart out of service.
Gas carts used regularly will require oil changes, spark plugs replacement, and belts and filter substitutions at least once per year. In the meantime, you need to look for malfunction indicators like a small leak, distinct smell, or unusual noise and take care of them right away, before they become big issues. Another thing to check is the vehicle’s clutch once per year.
Remember: proper maintenance is the main step to avoiding costly repair expenses.
Although both electric and gas carts have batteries, electric carts use deep cycle ones while the battery of a gas cart does not differ much from the one used in a car. They have a lot in common in terms of capacity, but their designs are rather different.
The battery in a gas cart is just to power the starter and power up accessories and the cart itself the next time it is used. Those batteries should be kept tightly in place while in motion and clean from corrosion.
Meanwhile, the battery of an electric cart is the lifeblood of the vehicle. You will need to charge it each use and check the water levels on a weekly basis. Always use distilled water to fill the cell, taking care of not surpassing the recommended water level. These batteries are prepared to be drained and recharged, again and again, expending energy while accelerating.
The topography of a golf course requires that the carts running on them have good and reliable brakes. This is a vital element to prevent accidents on the hilliest holes, so you need to check them at least twice per year to ensure proper function.
Even when you have a contract to clean, adjust and replace brakes with your cart vendor, there are a couple of things you can do to extend the long-term health of your brakes. For instance, by simply ensuring those tires are inflated at the manufacturer’s recommended level you can maximize the life of a golf cart’s brakes.
With the end of the season, you need to find a long-term storage facility for your carts if you are going to close until next summer. Many golf clubs have arrangements with their golf cart provider for offsite storage, conducting during that period of time the annual maintenance without impact on the club or golfers.
If you do not have this kind of contract and you have already a place for your golf carts’ long-term storage, it will be a good idea to conduct the annual maintenance too, to prevent that small problems on your vehicles turn out onto major issues, expensive repair bills, or even carts out of service.
Electric golf cart owners should also ensure that battery water levels are topped off two weeks before storage. All electric vehicles should be long-term stored fully charged, batteries should be disconnected, and tires filled to proper PSI.
If you are going to transport your golf cart for maintenance or some other porpoise, they need to be placed in neutral as the way they should be also while stored and secure from rolling. The tow/run switch should be in the tow position.
When acquiring a golf cart, make sure that it is delivered with a full detailed manual and maintenance guide that should be consulted each time an operation is conducted on the vehicle, regardless of frequency.
If you do not have a contract for maintenance with the vendor, select one or two of your most handyman in staff and be sure that they study the manuals and maintenance guides back and forward. They will be your gurus of cart maintenance and upkeep and must keep accurate logs and troubleshoot any minor issues in a timely manner.
Also, make sure that your maintenance staff has an efficient communication with the customer service representatives of the cart provider.
Some final words about golf cart maintenance
We cannot stress this enough: maintenance is the key keep your golf cart fleet rolling during the whole season. These are pieces of expensive and specialized machinery. Therefore, repairing a severe problem or even replacing them is going to cost you much more than saving some budget and hiring staff to carry out the small tune-ups they need.