When Were Golf Carts Invented? The Evolution of a Game-Changer

Mark Crossfield
9 Min Read

Ever wondered when were golf carts invented?

If you’re a golf enthusiast or a history buff, you’ve likely pondered this while cruising down the fairway. Perhaps you’ve even questioned how this seemingly simple vehicle has impacted the game of golf and the broader world of transportation.

Golf carts were invented in the early 1930s, with the first one created by Lyman Beecher in 1932 to assist disabled golfers.

Intrigued? Stick around. I’ll take you on a journey through the fascinating history of golf carts. By the end of this article, you’ll be a walking encyclopedia on all things golf cart.

Key Facts:

  1. The first golf cart was invented in 1932 by Lyman Beecher.
  2. Electric golf carts gained prominence in 1936, thanks to Cushman.
  3. Gas-powered golf carts revolutionized the industry in the 1950s.
  4. Golf carts have made the game more accessible and versatile.
  5. They are now used in various settings beyond golf courses.

When Were Golf Carts Invented?

The first golf cart was invented in 1932 by Lyman Beecher of Clearwater, Florida. Beecher was a disabled golfer, and he created a rickshaw-style cart that was pulled by two caddies. In 1935, John Keener (J.K.) Wadley, a businessman from Arkansas, noted that three-wheeled electric carts were being used in Los Angeles to transport the elderly to grocery stores. Wadley is said to have purchased one of them for golfing.

The Dawn of the Golf Cart: Lyman Beecher’s 1932 Rickshaw-Style Cart

The first golf cart was invented in 1932 by Lyman Beecher, a disabled golfer from Florida. He designed it to assist golfers like himself who had difficulty walking the course. The cart was initially pulled by two caddies, resembling a rickshaw. This invention was a game-changer, as it opened up the world of golf to those who might have found the physical aspect challenging.

The First Electric Golf Cart: Cushman’s 1936 Model

Fast forward to 1936, and we have the first electric golf cart, courtesy of Cushman Motor Company. Unlike Lyman Beecher’s manual design, this was a battery-powered engine marvel. It was more efficient but still had a long way to go in terms of widespread adoption.

The Gas-Powered Revolution: R.J. Jackson’s 1950s Three-Wheeled Cart

Enter R.J. Jackson, an oil tycoon from Texas, who in the 1950s introduced the gas-powered, three-wheeled golf cart. This invention was more powerful and quickly became the standard on golf courses. Gas-powered carts offered more range and didn’t require lengthy recharging, but they were less environmentally friendly.

The Evolution of Golf Carts: From 1932 to Present

Golf carts have come a long way since their inception. From being manually pulled carts to electric and gas-powered, the evolution has been significant. The industry saw substantial growth in the late 1970s, and today, we have luxury golf carts equipped with GPS systems and other high-tech features.

Key Takeaway: The history of golf carts is a fascinating journey from manual to electric and gas-powered, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Types of Golf Carts: More Than Just a Ride

When Were Golf Carts Invented

Electric vs. Gas-Powered: What’s the Difference?

Electric golf carts are generally quieter and more environmentally friendly. Gas-powered carts, on the other hand, offer more range and power. Both have their pros and cons, but electric carts are becoming more popular due to advancements in battery technology.

Customized Golf Carts: Beyond the Basics

Customization has become a trend in the golf cart industry. From basic two-seaters to luxury carts equipped with high-efficiency systems, the options are endless. Some even come with onboard GPS and car tracking features.

Luxury Golf Carts: When Opulence Meets the Fairway

Luxury golf carts are now a thing. These are not just carts; they are a statement. With features like leather seats, high-end sound systems, and even air conditioning, these carts can range from $10,000 to $20,000.

Tip: If you’re considering a luxury golf cart, make sure to check for features that you’ll actually use. It’s easy to get carried away with the bells and whistles.

The Impact of Golf Carts on the Game and Beyond

Making Golf Accessible: The Role of Golf Carts

Golf carts have made the game more accessible. They allow people of all ages and physical conditions to enjoy the game, making golf more inclusive than ever. According to a survey by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), 60% of golfers prefer using a cart.

Golf Carts Off the Course: From Beaches to Retirement Communities

Golf carts are not limited to the fairways. They are used in various settings like beaches, resorts, and even retirement communities. Their versatility and ease of use make them ideal for short-distance transportation.

Key Takeaway: Golf carts have transcended their original purpose and are now a common sight in various settings, not just golf courses.

Additional Questions and Answers

Why Are Golf Carts Used in Golf?

Golf carts are used in golf primarily for convenience. They speed up the game and make it easier to carry clubs and other equipment.

Golf carts became popular in the 1950s, thanks to the introduction of gas-powered carts. Sales statistics show a steady increase in golf cart purchases since then.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Golf Carts?

Pros include convenience, speed, and accessibility. Cons are environmental impact and ongoing maintenance costs.

Expect to see more tech-savvy features like advanced GPS systems and even self-driving capabilities in the future.

FAQs About When Were Golf Carts Invented

What year did Harley Davidson make golf carts?

Harley Davidson started making golf carts in 1963.

Where did the golf cart originate?

The golf cart originated in the United States, specifically in Florida.

How can you tell how old a golf cart is?

The age of a golf cart can usually be determined by its serial number or by checking its manufacturing date.


In summary, golf carts were invented in the early 1930s, starting with Lyman Beecher’s rickshaw-style cart and evolving into the electric and gas-powered versions we see today. They have not only made the game of golf more accessible but have also found utility in various other settings. So, the next time you hop into a golf cart, you’ll know the rich history and the impact it has had on the game and beyond. What’s next for these versatile vehicles? Only time will tell, but the future looks promising

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Mark Crossfield is a UK-based golf coach, author, and YouTuber. He simplifies complex concepts, emphasizes understanding fundamentals, and has authored several golf books. Mark has helped golfers worldwide improve their game through his coaching, online content, and contributions to magazines and TV programs.
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