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When did your kids begin driving the cart?

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When did your children begin driving the golf cart? Alone? Assisted?

@NatalieB has been driving the cart (steering, mostly) from about age six. It was part of what made golf fun for her.

As soon as she could reach the pedals and steer enough (a year or so later), she's been driving the cart herself. For the first year or two we'd assist by having our foot on the brake or near the wheel, but for about four years (age 9 or so), she's pretty much been trusted to drive it herself. At first, not near dangerous areas (just fairways, not bridges, near steep slopes, etc.).

I let her drive the Smart Car on private property last year by herself (I was in the passenger seat).

I think she'll be a good driver.

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My son at 9, and my daughter at 10. They started playing golf when my son was 9, and the appeal for him was being able to drive a cart.

Legally? Not yet. They have to be 18 supposedly even though both drive cars legally right now. . .

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13 minutes ago, iacas said:

When did your children begin driving the golf cart? Alone? Assisted?...

My experience with the grandkids parallels your and your daughter's progression.  Steering first, then when the legs are long enough, driving (with me hovering).  As you said, the cart driving part of golf makes the game very attractive to our younger players.

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16 minutes ago, iacas said:

It was part of what made golf fun for her.

At this point, it's probably the thing my girls (ages 9 and 7) look forward to the most.  Golf is still new to them but they love driving the cart, with the same basic help you describe for Natalie.  A lot of my memories from that age revolve around driving the car too.

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1 minute ago, Wanzo said:

At this point, it's probably the thing my girls (ages 9 and 7) look forward to the most.  Golf is still new to them but they love driving the cart, with the same basic help you describe for Natalie.  A lot of my memories from that age revolve around driving the car too.

Same with my son. That's why he stuck with golf through all the duffing when he was 9. :-)

 

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Probably about 6.  She had had one of those battery kids cars for a couple of years prior.  Those seem to give a good intro to the basics...

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I started taking my grandsons for rides in my cart when they were 4, about 4 years ago.
They would sit on my lap and steer while I operated the accelerator & brake.
They would over-steer constantly at first, and I assisted while I explained the importance of maintaining the proper direction.

They both progressed without any mishaps and have become aware of the importance of safety.
Now they both operate while I ride with confidence, as they negotiate the cart path curves and hills with full concentration.

I'll still wait another couple of years before I allow them to go solo.

 

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Probably around 7, or 8 I think. Same with the Grand Kids. 

However, at 5 years old, till they were 10, both our daughters were driving "Go Karts" in a powder puff circuit. After doing that, driving a golf cart was kind of let down. 

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As soon as he could reach the pedals, I started allowing Jacob to drive. The same as everyone else, that was the most exciting part in the beginning. At that time, we had our own cart and he was already used to driving it around the yard. He's 15 now and has raced go karts for a while now so I have no worries in there. The local course lets him drive without me there now...so long as he doesn't disobey the rules.

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When I was 16, two weeks after getting my drivers license,...  I had my sisters 1968 Firebird and was driving home from school.  Since it was raining I decided to take the long way home so I could "see how this baby handles in the curves".  I slid around a curve, over-corrected, headed straight at the guard rail, slammed on the brakes, hit the rail, and ended up with my front tires on the wrong side of the guard rail, car on top, back tires about 6 feet up in the air on the street side of the guard rail.  Upon hearing a high pitch whirring sound I came to realize I missed the brake and had slammed on the gas as hard as I could and my foot was still clamped down to the floor.

At Lomas Santa Fe executive course there was a 10 year old that had to go to the bathroom.  Her parents let her take the cart from somewhere on the back nine to the clubhouse bathroom.  My neighbor was standing on the first tee box and was run over from behind by that cart.  Various injuries occurred including a broken leg.  My guess is the girl, in a panic, missed the brake and slammed on the accelerator.

Don't golf courses impose some sort of age limit for driving the carts?  I'd comply with that.

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2 hours ago, No Mulligans said:

When I was 16, two weeks after getting my drivers license,...  I had my sisters 1968 Firebird and was driving home from school.  Since it was raining I decided to take the long way home so I could "see how this baby handles in the curves".  I slid around a curve, over-corrected, headed straight at the guard rail, slammed on the brakes, hit the rail, and ended up with my front tires on the wrong side of the guard rail, car on top, back tires about 6 feet up in the air on the street side of the guard rail.  Upon hearing a high pitch whirring sound I came to realize I missed the brake and had slammed on the gas as hard as I could and my foot was still clamped down to the floor.

At Lomas Santa Fe executive course there was a 10 year old that had to go to the bathroom.  Her parents let her take the cart from somewhere on the back nine to the clubhouse bathroom.  My neighbor was standing on the first tee box and was run over from behind by that cart.  Various injuries occurred including a broken leg.  My guess is the girl, in a panic, missed the brake and slammed on the accelerator.

Don't golf courses impose some sort of age limit for driving the carts?  I'd comply with that.

You were a licensed driver and made the mistake. My daughter is no more likely to make that mistake than you were. I'd argue she's far less likely given the hundreds of hours of "driving" she has under her belt. Likely far more than you had under your belt when you wrecked your sister's car.

She drives a cart better than most people who have driven cars and carts for 40+ years. The consequences for her even straying from the cart path within 30 yards of a tee or green are dire and external (i.e. from me). As such, she's more careful than a guy who can only, what, yell at himself for driving too close to the tee box?

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I had my daughter driving me around as soon as she could reach the pedal and we were away from the clubhouse.  

I even had her driving my car around the neighborhood a couple years before getting her permit. Shhhh- don't tell mom. Our little secret. 

To this day, she's proud of being the best driver of any of her friends. I visited her in Italy in August (my avatar is a course near her), and man, can she fly down the Autostrasse at some serious speed!!!!

@Gaetano Fasano knows how fast they can drive in northern Italy. 

 

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29 minutes ago, iacas said:

You were a licensed driver and made the mistake. My daughter is no more likely to make that mistake than you were. I'd argue she's far less likely given the hundreds of hours of "driving" she has under her belt. Likely far more than you had under your belt when you wrecked your sister's car.

She drives a cart better than most people who have driven cars and carts for 40+ years. The consequences for her even straying from the cart path within 30 yards of a tee or green are dire and external (i.e. from me). As such, she's more careful than a guy who can only, what, yell at himself for driving too close to the tee box?

That is probably the case, especially considering the recklessness/carelessness of many teenagers, myself included. 

As long as it isn't expressly disallowed by the course I'd be fine with your daughter driving.  I only feel that way about you and your daughters specific situation and experience driving.  Every case is different.  In general though, teenage drivers, age 16 and 17, are the most likely age group to get in accidents (and perhaps drivers younger than that would be even worse).

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6 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

As long as it isn't expressly disallowed by the course I'd be fine with your daughter driving.  

Courses typically require you to have a driver's license… or to otherwise be allowed. She falls into the latter category. :-)

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Both of my girls steer from my lap, that's it to this point.  They are both intelligent and mature for their ages, but I've seen enough go wrong on golf carts that I'm not willing to chance them driving the cart.  Besides, most courses don't allow it.

Edited by Denny Bang Bang

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I let my oldest boy drive alone when he was 7. I told him to follow the path and stop 'there' and he did fine. He's 10 now and I let him drive with me as passenger any time we play. Now my 6 year old boy? He's another story....lol...not ready.

Edited by Vinsk

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I don't have kids yet, but from a worker standpoint, I'm generally ok with kids driving carts so long as the adult is in the cart watching and ready to take over if need be.  But, with even the slightest change of conditions like weather, hills, bridges, etc.  the adult should take over.  I've had way too many experiences already where kids were driving and they hit a bridge rail and nearly tipped, where they're driving on wet grass and do donuts, parking carts where they shouldn't without pressing parking brake and the cart slowly went down a steep slope and did somersaults, etc.  But, golf carts are good places to start to learn to drive and safely, so I'm usually good with it.

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