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What Is the Deal With Courses Going Cart Only?


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Is this a local issue to me in Northern Mi?  I left the game for about 10 years and upon returning this year, several of my old haunts have gone cart only...i.e no walking.  Our season is just starting and im looking at memberships but this is a deal breaker for me. 

Im a big fan of playing twilight and walking on weeknights and am getting pretty discouraged.  Of the 4 closest courses to me...3 are carts only.  

What gives?  Does no one walk anymore?

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Not knowing the course/layout, probably about the cart fees and who makes money of of them.  Ask hem next time you play. I'd be curious what they say.

If I couldn't mostly walk, I'd quit. Golf is as much about the exercise as anything. (I'm exaggerating, I wouldn't *really* quit)

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Pace of play and it’s enforcement are some reasons. Most of those courses will likely have gps or at least trackers in each cart to let the pro shop know pace of play and if any groups are out of place. 

Revenue could be another reason. 

1 hour ago, mohearn said:

Ask hem next time you play. I'd be curious what they say.

Where I used to work, we mandated cart usage. Some people insisted on walking. They had to pay the price including cart anyway and put the bag on the cart. If they want to walk while someone else drives that cart ok, but that would be the only way. The other hard part is safety. Carts are easy to spot when you are used to looking for them. If a course lets a random walker out, a group may not see him and hit right into him. 

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Cart only would be a dealbreaker for me as well, if I was choosing a private club.  However, I do understand why some courses do it based on the course  layout.  I don’t mind cart only under those circumstances, but would not be OK committing to that on a regular basis.

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(edited)
3 hours ago, phillyk said:

Where I used to work, we mandated cart usage. Some people insisted on walking. They had to pay the price including cart anyway and put the bag on the cart. If they want to walk while someone else drives that cart ok, but that would be the only way. The other hard part is safety. Carts are easy to spot when you are used to looking for them. If a course lets a random walker out, a group may not see him and hit right into him. 

Interesting, I never thought about the safety thing.   I supposes its the 80/20 rule too, 20% of [slow] golfers cause 80% of the problem.

Thanks!

Edited by mohearn
extra copy/paste

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15 hours ago, Quack said:

but this is a deal breaker for me. 

You can do cart path only and get some walking in…🙂

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I’ve played a few semi-local places where carts are required for pace of play due to the courses being part of housing developments with some long-ish distance between green/tee area and having to traverse streets on the development property. But those types of courses are rare around me. 

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On 4/29/2022 at 8:56 PM, Quack said:

Is this a local issue to me in Northern Mi?  I left the game for about 10 years and upon returning this year, several of my old haunts have gone cart only...i.e no walking.  Our season is just starting and im looking at memberships but this is a deal breaker for me. 

Im a big fan of playing twilight and walking on weeknights and am getting pretty discouraged.  Of the 4 closest courses to me...3 are carts only.  

What gives?  Does no one walk anymore?

I think it's only you and certain courses. None of the courses in my area require cart and one does not even allow them. Very few of the courses I played in Michigan required carts or payment for the same. Maybe your old haunts have gone "upscale"?

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On 4/29/2022 at 11:56 PM, Quack said:

Is this a local issue to me in Northern Mi?  I left the game for about 10 years and upon returning this year, several of my old haunts have gone cart only...i.e no walking.  Our season is just starting and im looking at memberships but this is a deal breaker for me. 

Im a big fan of playing twilight and walking on weeknights and am getting pretty discouraged.  Of the 4 closest courses to me...3 are carts only.  

What gives?  Does no one walk anymore?

You are a “Unicorn”.  The course I work is is short and flat.  95% of the people ride.  They won’t play if they have to walk.  It’s amazing to me.  Yesterday between 11 and 6 we had a full tee sheet at 10 minute intervals.  The only peope who walked were a couple who are 88 and 84 years old, one gentleman with Parkinson’s and one other family foursome.

New breed is lazy.  Nobody will walk.

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10 minutes ago, Typhoon92 said:

You are a “Unicorn”.  The course I work is is short and flat.  95% of the people ride.  They won’t play if they have to walk.  It’s amazing to me.  Yesterday between 11 and 6 we had a full tee sheet at 10 minute intervals.  The only peope who walked were a couple who are 88 and 84 years old, one gentleman with Parkinson’s and one other family foursome.

New breed is lazy.  Nobody will walk.

My course is a flat one to and I'd guess about 90% ride. Normally, I'll walk unless it's 95-degrees or worse or I'm visiting some hilly course. Yesterday was beautiful here, but the carts were fanned all over the course.

I'm not sure if lazy is really fair. I think, for a lot of people, the cart has just become such an ingrained thing that they don't even think about walking. Maybe for them, the cart is just as much a part of the game as soft spikes and the golf glove. It's standard equipment.

I sort of wonder how many people have ever attempted to walk. 

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We also happen to be public and they allow alcohol on the course so it looks like a frat party out there.  But nobody anymore even knows how to carry a golf bag, which is amazing.  They come walking up hugging the bag with both arms… they aren’t walking that’s a given.  Or the bag is on their shoulder like they are carrying firewood 🙄.

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8 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

My course is a flat one to and I'd guess about 90% ride. Normally, I'll walk unless it's 95-degrees or worse or I'm visiting some hilly course. Yesterday was beautiful here, but the carts were fanned all over the course.

I'm not sure if lazy is really fair. I think, for a lot of people, the cart has just become such an ingrained thing that they don't even think about walking. Maybe for them, the cart is just as much a part of the game as soft spikes and the golf glove. It's standard equipment.

I sort of wonder how many people have ever attempted to walk. 

Here when we run out of carts you would think somebody got stabbed.  College kids in perfect shape… “Oh God, we can’t walk!!”.  Or the classic…” I stand up all day so I need a cart.”  They seriously go home because we run out of carts.  They won’t even walk 9 holes!!  
It tells me, and I see it here everyday, the new breed of people out here are not golfing for sport.  They are what we call “shooters” just partaking in an activity.  

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Interesting to hear the number of riders vs. walkers at other courses. I can't say for sure, but I would guess that my course is closer to 40% walk/60% ride, and it is a hilly course that is a tough walk, even with a push cart, or in my case an electric cart. Maybe this varies regionally, or maybe my home course is a unicorn.

I love to walk, for the physical activity, but also I enjoy the golf more, so I am not a fan of being required to take a cart.

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There are numerous courses within a 20 mile radius of my home.   I believe I've only seen one foursome walk in the last two years.    We had to use a push cart earlier in the year because the course was so wet and one guy in our group said "Never again".   

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That would be a deal breaker for me, part of what I love about golf is the walking. Even when I play bad I can still say, "Hey at least I got a little exercise."

Seems like a lot of newer courses are not very walker friendly, and much of the time it's for revenue's sake. Courses make a lot of money from those carts. So much so that a lot of places don't even have a walking rate, it's all inclusive. That being said a lot of them will still let you walk, but you're still going to pay for the cart. 

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2 hours ago, NM Golf said:

 Courses make a lot of money from those carts.

I assume this to be true, but honestly I would welcome someone with experience in the economics of running  golf course to educate me..  I've heard things that at some courses the club pro shares cart revenue?  Also, clubs seem to accept as a given that carts promote faster play, but my experience doesn't necessarily agree.

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It isn't the hours that you put in at practice that count. It's the way you spend those minutes. -- tony lema

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(edited)

It seems odd that a course could prohibit the usual practice for the PGA tour, where walking is expected. I know that exceptions have been made (Casey Martin, John Daly), but the norm has been that they walk.  I even found a thread here mentioning that tour pros "understand how integral walking is to the game."  (However, I think the context there was "the game" being professional competition.) Still, it's considered important enough to golf that it went to the Supreme Court.

I gave up another outdoor sport several years ago, and golf is now my main source of regular outdoor exercise.  I'll rent a cart for a few circumstances: (1) weather makes it a safety issue (heat/humidity, possible threatening weather that might pop up), (2) the first time I play a new-to-me course, or (3) the course is such that walking is almost out of reach. (I recall one course where there was a 10-minute-ish cart drive between different parts of the course.)

But for my home course, I'll almost always walk.  If I couldn't walk my home course, I might give up golf.  But my perspective on that might change as I age.

Anther benefit came to mind as I played yesterday evening.  I don't have to check a cart in at the end of the round.  The clubhouse can lock up and close when it's just a few of us walkers finishing up the day at sunset/twilight. That doesn't help the course finances at all, of course.

39 minutes ago, mohearn said:

Also, clubs seem to accept as a given that carts promote faster play, but my experience doesn't necessarily agree.

The way most cart-riders use their carts, I also disagree. I'm almost always easily keeping up (and waiting on) cart-users ahead of me.  (I know that there are those on TST who know how to properly use them and could leave me in the dust.)

Edited by Missouri Swede

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