Did you know that in 2016, the world golf cart market
reached a value of $1,607.75 million? Or, that by 2023, it’s estimated to be at a whopping $2,591.69 million? And when it comes to industry trends moving forward? Expect to see a steep growth of 7.20 per cent heading into 2023.
Despite their name, these lightweight utility vehicles do a lot more than just shuttle players and clubs around the golf course. They also provide a solid transportation option for hospitals, hotels, and more.
In parts of Florida, they’ve become a regular part of many planned communities, allowing people to travel at a slower pace that proves safer and more sociable.
Read on to learn more about 10 golf cart trends that will significantly impact the industry heading into the foreseeable future.
Golf Cart 101
Before we dive into the trends mentioned above, it’s important to understand certain fundamentals about the golf cart industry. For one, the market can be divided into segments.
These segments are grouped by geography, product type, and application.
When it comes to geography, there’s a division between the:
- North American markets
- Asian-Pacific markets
- European markets
- LAMEA markets
Golf carts get further categorized by their product types. For one, like other segments of transportation, the golf cart industry continues to evolve to meet the needs of today’s eco-aware consumers.
As a result, there has been a new focus on alternative and renewable energy sources to power golf carts. Product types include:
- Gasoline golf carts
- Electric golf carts
- Solar golf carts
Finally, golf carts get classified by application, which refers to how the vehicle is used. Application segments include personal services, commercial services, and, of course, golf course uses.
Now that you understand how golf carts can be classified, let’s dive into some of the trends that shaping the market.
1. More Communities Will Become Golf Cart-Friendly
Despite the global popularity of golf carts, the vast majority still get manufactured in North America. Up until recently, this also meant that the focus was largely on exports rather than the domestic market.
But that’s changing for a variety of reasons. For one, more and more communities across America continue to catch golf cart fever.
From Palm Beach to Laguna Woods in California, Sun City in Arizona to Peachtree City, Georgia, golf carts prove an easy, affordable way to get around these planned communities.
They also allow segments of the population excluded from driving automobiles a means of safely and easily getting around.
For one, kids as young as 12 can drive with adult supervision. And golf carts allow the elderly to maintain a greater sense of independence, too.
These vehicles are also helping communities across the country to reduce their carbon footprints and create safer pedestrian-friendly spaces. And they prove far less costly than owning a standard automobile.
2. Reducing Our Carbon Footprints with Golf Carts
As with the automotive and transportation sectors, the global golf cart industry continues to evolve towards energy-efficient, long-lasting, and eco-friendly solutions.
Some manufacturers, such as Columbia ParCar, create vehicles using some of the cleanest manufacturing processes in the industry. The process complies with governmental guidelines, and their carts produce zero emissions.
The move towards planet-friendly golf-carts will continue in the 21st century and will represent one of the definers of the industry in terms of how new technologies get applied.
3. Driving More Technologically-Savvy Golf Carts
Golf carts will strive towards greater modernization and customization. A variety of advanced technologies will help them achieve this.
These include computer-aided manufacturing and design. Both will help with the development processes for golf carts.
What do some of these tech-savvy golf carts look like? Some solar-powered carts already incorporate cutting-edge accessories including launch monitors, golf robots, and remote control capabilities.
Public golf courses and country clubs have been among the first to jump on some of these fully-loaded golf carts. Why? Because they play an important role in attracting new clientele to their establishments.
Other luxurious amenities golf carts now enjoy include GPS trackers and apps that even help players select the right golf clubs.
4. Golf Cart Applications Will Broaden and Expand
Around the world, golf carts continue to fill new roles. In India, the government uses them in public spaces to assist elderly populations and those with disabilities with their daily commutes.
In parts of the US, from Florida to California, golf carts mark an essential part of daily activities for the elderly and those living in planned communities. Some even see them as a way to make our streets safer for pedestrians.
How are golf cart manufacturers rising to meet these new transportation roles? By adding a variety of features designed to meet the needs of drivers and passengers alike.
These features render golf carts more comfortable for commutes and use on or near roadways. They include:
- Hard doors
The trend toward golf carts as multipurpose vehicles will continue, resulting in other utilitarian transformations. Watch for an increased focus on golf cart durability and longevity of use moving forward, too.
5. Modified Golf Carts Will Provide Innovative Ways to Meet Transportation Demands
Continued demand for economical and convenient alternative modes of transportation will impact the golf cart industry in other ways, too.
Besides enhanced performance and increased comfort, golf carts will require additional modifications.
For example, the days of two-seater models alone are over. Now, you’ll be able to purchase golf cart-style vehicles that can seat up to 14 people.
These modified vehicles will help meet the needs of customers from all possible segments of the population. Many of these demands come from emerging nations where the golf cart market will meet transportation needs across the board.
6. Street Legal Golf Carts Will Rule the Roads in More Communities
Around the US, golf carts are becoming street legal. Despite increased seat capacity, these vehicles will remain easy to operate and maneuver, produce low emissions, and create low levels of noise.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a list of minimum requirements for the safe operation of low-speed vehicles.
In April 2018, the community of Gulf Breeze in Florida legalized the operation of golf carts on streets under certain circumstances. Sun City, Arizona, has also followed suit.
To be legal, golf carts must have:
- A parking brake
- Rearview mirrors
- Seat belts, windshields
- A vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Reflex reflectors
In the years to come, expect to see increased governmental support encouraging people to rely on low-speed electronic vehicles for daily transportation. These governmental interventions will help to drive up revenues in the golf cart industry.
7. Governmental Regulations Will Help Drive and Support the Golf Cart Industry
When it comes to golf carts and low-speed vehicles (LSVs), they can vary widely depending on their intended function. Fortunately, the government is stepping in to help with the regulatory side of the industry.
New governmental regulations and restrictions will support the golf cart industry. These will streamline production as well as provide necessary protections for consumers.
This will prove especially important as more golf cart-like vehicles, namely LSVs, take to the road. LSVs share many similarities with compact cars.
They work well for short drives to neighbouring communities and can be driven on roads with a speed limit no higher than 35 miles per hour. They’re the ideal vehicle for grocery-getting and other errand running.
Golf carts and LSVs will also play a larger role in the commercial sphere. They’re already widely used for transporting employees and guests across expansive campuses.
They also work well for traversing outdoor terrain quickly, transporting loads of various sizes and weights, and providing products and services. These factors will be accounted for as new legislation expands opportunities for growth in the industry.
8. Sports That Use Golf Carts Will Increase
Golf carts are already a necessary component of the golf course experience. But other sports are starting to take advantage of golf carts, too.
FootGolf represents one such game. A combination of soccer and golf, it continues to grow in popularity around the world. It has enjoyed the greatest surge in the US where it’s making major gains in terms of growing its fan base as well as active participants.
A precision sport, its rules are more closely related to golf, but it employs a regulation #5 soccer ball in play. Players must kick the ball into a 52-centimetre cup taking as few kicks as possible to determine the winner.
Like golf, it relies on hazards and golf course peculiarities to make each game extra challenging and unique. Many people can’t get enough of watching players try to kick their way out of everything from bunkers to sand traps.
During the inaugural Pro-Am FootGolf Tour, 100 teams competed with participants from all over the world. As the sport continues to increase in participants and viewers, golf courses will reap the benefits from the surge in traffic.
FootGolf also creates increased demand for golf carts. Expect manufacturers to begin crafting golf carts more specifically designed to meet the needs of this sport.
9. Customized Golf Carts for Comfort and Self-Expression
As golf carts continue to rise in popularity, options abound when it comes to customizing them. For example, you can install extra seats in your golf cart so that more friends can ride with you.
You can even lift a golf cart so that it has a more rugged appearance and can go off-roading. Depending on where you live and local weather patterns, you can winterize your golf cart to protect against wind and snow.
Some owners choose to add fun accessories such as mud flaps or fenders. Others go for unique lighting or Bluetooth speakers.
Upgrading the battery represents another good option. It can increase your cruise speed to between 12 and 14 MPH. Sure, it’s not enough to qualify for the Indy 500, but the extra power still comes in handy.
Some drivers go so far as to pick a theme. These can include things like altering the body to look like a hotrod, an aeroplane, or a favorite animal. Your favorite sports team also works well for creating a one-of-kind appearance.
10. Reshaping Tourism for the Betterment of the Planet
Travel and tourism companies are also getting on board when it comes to golf carts. Companies such as Eco Green Tours in Italy use them to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations.
But they’re also filling a unique travel niche. Many of today’s tourists went to enjoy a city in comfort while at a leisurely pace. They love the ability to savor a glass of wine while taking a tour at slow speeds.
Golf cart transportation also proves an effective way to protect important places such as UNESCO world heritage sites that can prove vulnerable to pollution.
They prove a simpler way to get around that allows passengers to feel more connected to the places that they visit.
Golf Cart Industry Trends
More communities across the country and around the world are falling in love with golf carts. They remain a great alternative for drivers who may not be able to hold a license due to age, and they create safer friendlier streets.
Although most people think of golf carts as practical only in sunny states or during the summer months, easy modifications provide protection against the weather. And some cities in the US now embrace street-legal versions on their roadways.
The switch to golf carts is also great for the environment as it reduces (or even eradicates) emissions. As a result, individual communities can reduce their environmental impact in positive ways through their use.
Sports such as FootGolf further promote the popularity of these vehicles. And they’re becoming a staple of the travel and tourism industry. No wonder they continue to gain in popularity around the world.
Are You Ready for a Golf Cart?
Have you ever considered owning a golf cart? As you can see from the industry trends above, plenty of compelling reasons to purchase one exist.
Not sure which golf cart’s right for you? Continue reading for a breakdown of the different types of golf carts so that you can find the right one for you.