Collage showing things to do on the Grand Strand

Golf Cart Mania Still Growing

The increasing popularity of golf-cart communities drives the demand for golf cart accessibility by tourists.

Contributors: Kelli Stirrett and Johnnie Bailey

Golf cart customization

It’s all Bob Hope’s fault

Legendary comedian Bob Hope may have been the originator of the custom golf cart craze that continues to sweep the nation even today.

It was back in the early seventies when golf-obsessed Hope commissioned George Barris to customize his Cushman golf cart. Barris was quite a creative guy who had already molded carts into the coffin-shaped Munster Koach and the Batmobile.

Barris based Hope’s cart design around the shape of the comedian’s infamous nose and the rest is custom golf cart history.

Five decades later the regular golf cart industry is strong and growing thanks to the expansion of golf courses as well as the commercial and official use of carts. And a small segment of the industry specializes in providing carts for use by non-golfers… people who just want short-distance transportation within their communities and enjoy the wind blowing through their hair as they toddle along to the grocery store.

The Villages retirement community in central Florida is a notable example.

It has over 33,000 acres designed around using the golf cart as the primary method of transportation. It has over 100 miles of golf cart paths. 90% of downtown  parking is exclusively reserved for carts.

The Village residents take great pride in their customized carts and the competition among them to own the most recognizable cart is fierce.

The popularity of the golf cart nationwide is undeniable.

The number of golf carts bought for non-golf use continues to grow. But while golf carts can be inexpensive to operate, the initial purchase price of a new cart can be prohibitive to many. Even a no-frills version can cost upwards of $5,000, not to mention the many add-on frills that are available at additional cost.

Golf carts are more popular than ever with tourists

Of course most people don’t live in retirement or golf cart designed communities. But they would still like the chance to experience the convenience and freedom afforded by a golf cart during their vacation. This factor has led to the growth and rapid expansion of the tourist golf cart rental businesses.

Such is the case with The Grand Strand. Golf cart rental is available in most areas. Of course there are rules and regulations (including state regulations) regarding the rental and use of the carts but your rental dealer will provide you with those before you rent.

Most rental services offer hourly, daily and weekly rental of four and six passenger carts. Some offer tricked-out cart versions.


A golf cart can give you different opportunities than you might have with the family sedan. 

Here are a few:

  • Trips to the variety store, grocery store or mini-mart
    • Many merchants provide cart parking areas
  • Make an ice run
  • Pick up a take-out order for the kids
  • Take Fido along
  • Drive to the pier
  • Drop the kids at the arcade
  • Trips to the beach access
    • Most beach access areas have parking for carts
    • No more loading the car with the beach supplies and searching for a parking space
    • No more sand in your car floorboards or trunk
  • Go to lunch or early dinner
  • Go to breakfast
    • Many restaurants offering cart parking
  • Explore, explore, explore
    • The views and the ocean smells from inside a golf cart are truly great
    • Take your cart to the Bird Island Reserve to see the Kindred Spirit mailbox (you can’t drive on Bird Island but you can get there enjoying the open air in your cart.)
    • Just go for a ride!

Remember, your cart rental agent will give you more detail and answer any questions you may have but here are five rules:

  1. You cannot drive a cart of any major highway in North or South Carolina
  2. You cannot drive a cart after dark in the state of South Carolina
  3. Keep your golf cart key with you at all times and use the provided cable lock
  4. Give hand signals when turning
  5. If auto traffic backs up behind you, pull over in a safe place and let them pass

Get answers to frequently asked questions here.

So… rent your family a cart on your next vacation and experience the beach from the convenience of your personal golf cart.

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