Long Road of the Golf Cart
The golf cart as it is today bears some resemblance to the original golf carts as they were first manufactured over 60 years ago, but they’ve undergone some considerable changes along the way, as well. Golf carts have evolved significantly as the years have gone by, modifying their steering, their power sources, storage, looks, and more.
The first golf carts (or, as they are more properly called, golf cars) were sold by the Marketeer Company of Redlands, California in 1951. The prototypes were designed by Merle Williams as a gas-alternative vehicle that women could use for nearby errands during the gas rationing days of WWII, but usage quickly expanded to the golf course.
The earlier carts were three-wheeled, battery-powered, and used a tiller steering system instead of a steering wheel, which, along with a 4th wheel, became standard later on. In the 70s and 80s, gas carts became more prevalent; however, in today’s green-conscious times, the majority of manufacturers have returned to electric carts.
Carts have changed greatly, in terms of the luxuries and modifications that have become available – from coolers and storage, to detailing and custom golf cart seats. It’s doubtful that Merle would even recognize the ornate, advanced models of today as being related to his initial designs, but, from first Marketeer, to the ACG California Roadster, the history of the golf car is a long and winding course.