Golf carts are used in a whole bunch of different settings and situations, and can be seen in many places besides the golf course. Rural and beach settings, schools, hotels, exhibitions and events requiring the slow but sturdy transportation of people or of equipment from one place to another – there are so many uses for these reliable, versatile and multi-functional vehicles.
But the golf course is, needless to say, the natural home of the golf cart. Most of the larger golfing venues will have their own golf carts which are there for the use of their patrons, whether through physical necessity or simply as a handy means of moving around the site. They have become an essential feature of the golfing experience, and many players opt to possess their own.
But being something of a niche market, and with limited competition between relatively few manufacturers, new golf cart prices tend to be ungenerous for buyers. It goes without saying that a new cart will command a higher price than a pre owned or used cart, but cost can be a sticking point regardless.
There are several reasons for this, and in any case prices vary based upon a number of contributing factors.
The Cost of a Golf Cart
High end, it is not unknown to pay more than $20,000 for the best golf cart. If you are buying a used golf cart, the price can be as low as a few thousand dollars. Some come adorned with accessories whilst others focus more upon the fundamentals.
As far as running costs go, an electric vehicle is going to be cheaper to operate than a gas-powered golf cart and is likely to require less regular maintenance, but it is essential if purchasing one that the requisite facilities are in place to allow for its upkeep, not least viable charging points.
And the price of replacement golf cart batteries also needs to be factored in when going electric. Whilst a well looked-after battery can be expected to last for up to ten years, getting a new one may not be cheap and may require something of a wait.
If the electric powered golf cart that you are thinking of buying is used, it would make good sense to check the battery. If it is run down and likely to need replacing at any time in the near future this could result in you spending almost the same amount again a few months down the line, and this really is a big deal when you are looking to keep down the costs.
For those who prefer them there are still gas powered carts, although at this moment in time in particular they do seem to provide a less economic option. They do of course have the advantage of not requiring special charging points at strategic locations, which are not always available at golf courses or other venues at which they are deployed.
If you are a buyer, it you might be well advised not to get too hung up on accessories. Golf cart dealers will typically charge top dollar for a vehicle adorned with all the mod cons, when more often than not it would be much cheaper for you to buy the basic cart and add the extras yourself at a later stage.
Lastly, as with any vehicle that is going to cost you serious money, do remember to take it for a test drive, especially when purchasing used carts. Don’t wait until after you’ve bought it to discover any defects which are going to add to your bill.
Which Major Brands Manufacturer New Golf Carts?
Primarily golf carts tend to be made either by Club Car, Yamaha or EZ Go. There are others (such as Evolution), but these are the big three, It is because competition is so limited that the cost of both electric carts and gas carts is felt by many to be artificially high.
On the other hand it must be said that all three enjoy a reputation for producing good quality vehicles, low maintenance and often arriving with a range of useful and up-to-date accessories.
Notwithstanding the somewhat prohibitive cost of buying a new cart, these well-established manufacturers would contend that when all is considered their cost is not unreasonable.
Who Would Purchase a Golf Cart?
And here’s the rub – the golf cart market is determined not only by supply, but also by demand. If there are relatively few suppliers, the same can certainly be said for buyers.
Customers generally are either rich golf clubs or wealthy individuals who have the time and the money to pay their fees and use their facilities. The golf cart is not a commodity for everyday road use by everyday working folk. Manufacturers know that their clients can meet their asking price.
As for the top golf courses themselves, money is more or less no object. They need to have them available to offer to their fee-paying members, and within reason will happily pay the going rate.
So Do They Hold Their Value?
The answer to this is really – yes and no. It much depends upon the comparison one is making.
By comparison with real estate, the value of a driven vehicle is only ever going to deteriorate. Buying a golf cart, like buying a regular car, is seldom an investment. It will be worth less when you sell it than it cost you when you bought it. Used carts fetch less than new carts – fact.
But perhaps a more telling comparison would be to consider it alongside the devaluation which one sees with a standard new car. And in this sense golf carts do indeed retain their value.
A prestige car can lose literally thousands of pounds from its market price when it becomes a used car simply by driving it home from the showroom. This is not the case with golf cart buying.
Primarily golf carts hold their value, relatively speaking, because there is a rising market yet only a limited supply.
And because there is a limited supply of new carts, there is also not an abundance of suitable used golf carts on the market for those wishing to purchase them. New or used they are sought after, and so the golf cart cost holds reasonably firm.
There is also an environmental angle to all this. The electric golf cart is less of a novelty than is the electric car, having been widely available for some considerable time.
If the infrastructure exists at the golf course to service electric golf carts then they are a good, economical alternative to the conventional gas cart.
How To Assess Golf Cart Value?
Being a smaller, more contained market there are not the resources available through which to accurately determine the value of a particular golf cart in the same way that one is able to do with a private vehicle.
Instead it is largely down to the seller (and the buyer) to do some independent research, using house publications or such outlets as eBay and Gumtree.
From the seller’s perspective, once the median price of your model (or of a similar or same brand) can be established it is important to look at your particular vehicle to see whether there are any individual qualities which might render it more (or less) valuable than others in the field.
For example, it may be that yours has specific golf cart accessories attached to it which might make it a more attractive proposition to a buyer, or it may just be in especially good shape for its year.
On the flip side, if it has sustained damage to the bodywork or has missing parts you may feel obliged to reduce the asking price accordingly.
Other factors can come into play too and should be taken into consideration. For instance, you should investigate local laws to ascertain whether or not a new or used cart is street legal in the area where you are hoping to sell it.
All of these factors are likely to have a material impact upon its value to a potential purchaser.
Get a Good Deal
The last thing to remember is that dealers in golf carts, as with automobiles or in fact almost any other high value commodity, are accustomed to pitching higher than the price they would usually be willing to accept.
Always be ready to trade in order to get a good price, and be prepared to walk away if what is being asked for is more than you think the vehicle is worth.
If you are selling, it is important that your golf cart is kept in as good condition as possible in order to maximize its value at the point of sale. If you have golf cart accessories then these can add to your sale value.
Ensure it has working brake lights, turn signals, rear seat, newer batteries (if it is an electric cart) and anything else which might enhance its appearance and its function. And whether you are selling to a private individual or a golf cart dealer, be sure to hold out for the price that you think it is worth.