How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Golf Cart? All the Nuances Explained

One of the most exciting elements of golfing has got to be riding the golf cart. There’s something so elegant about moving from one area of the golf course to the next with it. If you’re new to the golfing community, chances are that you assume riding golf carts is exhilarating. They are fast enough to get you to your next course but slow enough that you’re able to enjoy the views.

Experienced golfers also make riding a golf cart easy. They make smooth turns, drive without a worry in the world, and park effortlessly. You probably assume that anyone can drive one, but there are restrictions. So, how old do you have to be to drive a golf cart? In this guide, we’ll take you through the age requirements for golf carts in every state, as well as answer your most pressing questions.

Legal Age to Drive a Golf Cart by State

Golf carts may seem easy to maneuver, but there are laws governing the age limits. These laws vary based on the state you’re from, so there’s no clear-cut answer on how old you have to be to ride one.

Most of the states, however, require children to be at least 14 years before they are allowed to drive a golf cart. This is not surprising because golf carts remain a source of morbidity in children. In fact, according to a PubMed study that involved 147,696 injured people, 31.2% of them were children below 16 years. Even though most of the injuries were caused by falling off the cart and were soft tissue injuries, some of the patients required hospitalization.

Here’s a quick overview of the age requirements based on the state you’re from.

Arizona

Arizona allows golfers to drive their golf cart on public roads, but you first have to make the cart street legal. You also have to adhere to the standard driving laws. For instance, the maximum allowed speed on roadways is 25mph, and you can’t drive the cart on sidewalks. You’re also not allowed to have more than 4 people in the car (including the driver), and you’re required to have liability insurance and a valid driver’s license.

If you’re, however, driving the golf cart on private property, you don’t need a driver’s license. While it’s difficult to track the legal driving age of golf carts, most clubs don’t rent them out to children below 14 years.

California

California is one of the top golfing states, and according to Golf-com, it has around 972 courses. According to this state’s laws, the legal driving age is 13 years, and the cart should have no more than 2 occupants, including the driver. Golf carts also have a weight limit of 1.300 pounds.

Florida

Florida allows golfers to ride their carts on the road, but you need to comply with the standard driving laws. For instance, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. However, if you’d like to drive over 20, you need to acquire a special license. The legal driving age in the state is 14 years.

Georgia

The legal driving age in Georgia is slightly lower than the rest at 12 years. Minors above this age can operate a golf cart, but state laws require them to be accompanied by an adult who is a licensed driver. You can only operate a golf cart alone if you have a valid driver’s permit or license.

Idaho

In Idaho, for you to drive a golf cart, it should be insured and have a valid restricted vehicle license plate. Its horn should also be audible for around 200 ft, and the mirrors should give you unrestricted views of 200 ft on the golf cart rear. Please check with your local government regarding the age limit as we couldn’t track official data on the legal age limit.

Illinois

In Illinois, anyone above 18 years can ride a golf cart. You can also drive your cart on public roads, but there’s a catch; your municipality has to expressly allow it, and you can only drive your golf cart on safe roads with a 35mph speed limit or lower.

Indiana

The legal driving age in Indiana is 16 years, and the golf cart driver should have a valid driver’s license. You should, however, note that you can only drive golf carts on public roads in towns and cities that explicitly allow it or have passed local laws allowing it.

Iowa

In Iowa, you have to be at least 18 yours to drive a golf cart. If your town allows it, you can drive your golf cart on public roads. You, however, need to display a safety flag and a slow-moving vehicle sign on the cart.

Maryland

Maryland is a popular hub for golfers. According to Maryland.gov, there are over 200 private, semi-private and public high-quality golf courses that have attracted multiple amateur championships and professional events.

A person has to be at least 12 years old to drive a golf cart in Maryland, but they must be accompanied by an adult with a valid driver’s license. You can only ride your golf cart on private property because they are not considered street legal. So, you don’t need a license, assessment, or to register your golf cart to use it on public roads.

Massachusetts

The legal age to drive a golf cart in Massachusetts is 16 years. You, however, need to register your golf cart and have it inspected and titled. It should also have valid plates, and you should have a license.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, the legal golf cart driving age is 16 years. The local government is responsible for permitting the use of golf carts on public highways and roadways in their jurisdiction. If you live in a town that doesn’t allow the use of golf carts on public roads, you’ll need to get insurance and a special permit.

New York

The legal golf cart driving age in New York is 14 years. You’re, however, not allowed to drive your golf cart on parking lots, sidewalks, or public roads.

Golf carts are becoming common in professional tournaments, but according to USA Today, Tiger Woods explicitly said that he would never use a golf cart on a PGA Tour. He highlighted that that’s not who he is, and if he can’t play at a particular level without the help of a cart, then he acknowledges that he’s not yet ready for that level.

This comes a few weeks after Casey Martin against PGA tours for being denied the use of a golf cart. He had been diagnosed with Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, which resulted in his leg being amputated.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, people have to be at least 16 years old to drive a golf cart, and the maximum driving speed is 35mph. The minor should also have a driver’s license, and if they don’t abide by the driving laws, their parents will be held liable. These states allow you to drive your golf cart on secondary and public streets, but you should get a permit first, which should be replaced every 5 years. You should, however, note that you’re only allowed to drive within 4 miles of your office or residence.

If you move houses, you need to get a new permit with your current residential address. You’re also required to get insurance before you can obtain a permit.

North Carolina

The legal golf cart driving age in North Carolina is 16 years, and you should adhere o a maximum driving speed of 35mph.

Texas

In Texas, the legal golf cart driving age is 16 years. This state also allows you to drive golf carts on local roads, but you need to first confirm that your local or county government allows it.

Utah

The legal golf cart driving age in Utah is 15 years. You can also ride your golf cart on local roads as a low-speed vehicle with a title and a VN. You don’t have to register your cart. It should have a sticker proving harm if you have a license and a permit.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, the legal golf cart driving age is 16 years. You’re allowed to drive your cart on local public roads, but only if your city allows it and the golf cart qualifies as a low-speed vehicle.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive It in Your Yard?

Even though the age restrictions limit who can drive golf carts in public areas, the driving laws on private property are different. For starters, most states don’t have restrictions on how old one has to be to ride their golf cart on their land. This is because, according to the law, as a landowner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that anyone who drives the cart on your property is safe. So, the state and local governments won’t control cart usage in your home.

Most parents take advantage of this loophole by allowing their children to drive their golf carts on their property or teaching them how to drive the carts safely even when they’re below the age limit.

You should, however, note that golf courses are exempt from this law even when it’s private property. This is because a golf course is considered a public area. So teens below the legal age limit cannot drive in the range. Most establishments also confirm the age of the child before renting out a cart.

If you allow your child to drive your cart in your backyard, you should take extra measures to ensure that they’re safe. For instance, you should install your cart with seat belts as well as high-quality brakes. You should also ensure the cart is fully charged. According to multiple reviews, the EZGO RXV & TXT Battery Charger comes highly recommended. It’s lightweight and comes in a compact and portable design. This allows you to take your charger anywhere with you, whether you’re going to work or are on a golf course. This model is a 15 AMP rapid charger and is specifically designed for 48-volt EZGO RXV & TXT golf carts. It’s a plug-and-forget device that also comes with 16 ft power cables.

Can You Drive a Golf Cart On a Road?

Yes, but only if your state allows it. Most of the time, there are usually restrictions on the maximum speed you can drive, and you should adhere to the standard driving laws. You also have to make your golf cart street-legal, obtain a license, and have valid insurance. We recommend that you check with your local government regarding the legality of driving your golf carts on public roads.

Is It Illegal to Drive a Golf Cart In a Neighborhood?

You may meet the minimum legal driving age requirements, but if your neighborhood doesn’t allow driving golf carts in a public area, then you are restricted to your private property. The good news is that golf cart operations are allowed in most neighborhoods as long as you adhere to the set regulations. You are, however, restricted to low-speed limits and roads that have minimum vehicle traffic.

Our golf cart also has to be street legal before you can operate it on public property. The term ‘street-legal’ often varies from state to state, but it has to have functioning equipment. In some states, you need to get state vehicle registrations and vehicle identification numbers.

Some of the characteristics of street legal carts include;

  • Horn
  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights
  • Windshield
  • Rear and side reflectors
  • Headlights
  • Seat belts
  • Exterior mirrors

For added safety, you should also get a golf Cart Enclosure. Based on multiple reviews, the 10L0L Golf Cart Enclosure is the best model. It’s suitable for 2-passenger golf carts and comes with a side mirror opening zipper and a double door zipper. The cover for the taillight zone is transparent to allow the drivers behind you to view your taillight when you’re about to change directions. It also comes with clear windows for 360 degrees visibility and guarantees all-weather protection.

Getting a Ticket for Letting Your Child Drive the Golf Cart

As weird as this seems, your child can actually get a ticket for driving a golf cart. According to the Golf Channel, a 7-year-old has issued a $271 ticket on his birthday after he was caught behind the wheel. The mother, who was with the minor at the time, expected the ticket to be issued in her name, but the officer issued it to her child.

Some Safety Tips for Young Drivers

If you’d like your child to drive your car safely, here are some safety tips they should abide by:

  • Avoid driving when distracted.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the cart.
  • Take turns safely
  • Avoid overspeeding.
  • Avoid drunk driving

Most of the time, if a minor violates these safety driving laws, their parents are usually held responsible.

Final Thoughts

How old do you have to be to drive a golf cart? Well, it all depends on the state you reside in and the set laws and regulations. In most states, the minimum driving age is 14 years. Some states allow you to drive your cart on public roads, but you have to adhere to the traffic rules, and you have to make your cart street safe. The good news is that even though there are restrictions on driving golf carts on public roads, there are none for taking a cart out on a ride on your private property.

 

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