A big, tricked out golf cart

Florida aswarm with tricked out golf carts
If you ever wondered what the world would look like if we all ditched our cars? Visit the Villages in central Florida, one of the biggest retirement communities on the planet. There are 77,000 retired seniors here, trundling quietly around the golf retirement community on their golf carts. Oh, but don’t call them golf carts, Warren Cromer tells the reporter, “They’re our second car.”

“Designed from the ground up as a golf cart community, it has developed into something even more compelling: a town where cars don’t isolate people from each other, but rather bring them together. The diminutive vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for daily life here. Residents can drive them just about everywhere they need to go. They whiz along 87 miles of trails, from the Walmart to the town squares, from the hospital to the archery range. When they have to cross the six-lane US 27/US 441 highway, no sweat—they take the specially built golf cart overpass. … Integrated into the fabric of a community, the carts cease to be icons of decrepitude and instead become a defining vessel, an icon of a new life.”

It is a cute article and very well-written. The photos are a hoot, too. I enjoyed seeing how the carts have driven the design of the retirement community, for example, the overpass. Other places like the suburb Peachtree City in Georgia have been built around the notion of golf carts (AKA electric vehicles or EV’s). However, the idea of using golf carts is not new. I stumbled across them when my husband and I sailed to Man-O-War Cay in the Abacos, Bahamas in 1991. Back then, the idea of gas-powered vehicles being banned seemed quaint and backward to us at first. After anchoring at the island for a few days, the peaceful atmosphere finally having cleared our minds, we figured out that the lack of machine noise was a large part of that laid-back feeling. And cars there are not necessary, the island is only 2.5 miles long and hosts only 300 families.

Farmers around here use them all the time, to go on rutted tracks from one barn to another or one part of the farm to another. They get stolen, as in this police report: “On July 27, deputy David Kidd was dispatched to a home on U.S. Highway 29, Danielsville, where an EZ-Go golf cart valued at $1,800 was stolen between July 22 and that day…”

They get regulated: Royston Considers Golf Ordinance. “The City of Royston is considering instituting a golf cart ordinance. Royston Police use a golf cart in their patrols, but many citizens also drive them around town as a gas-saving measure.”

Kudos to that Lilliputian chariot! Just don’t get carried away like the Floridians in the above article. Some of the more obsessed retirees spend upwards of $20,000 tricking out their humble conveyance. Now, that is a uniquely American idea…rather than use them to farm, or as a cost-saving measure, or because they are quiet and quietude is valued … spend obscene amounts of money on them. Sigh. Well, using carts as the regular mode of transport … its a start.

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