Golf carts are growing in popularity for more than traversing golf courses. More people are taking these cars on public streets as alternative forms of transportation. In fact, all but six states allow golf carts and other low-speed vehicles (LSVs) on public roads. With more individuals and organizations purchasing golf carts for short-range travel, popular brands Club Car and E-Z-Go have stepped up to meet the burgeoning demand.
A brief history of E-Z-Go and Club Car
E-Z-Go and Club Car are U.S.-based premium golf cart and utility task vehicle (UTV) manufacturers. Brothers Billy and Beverly Dolan founded E-Z-Go in June 1954. In the beginning, they operated their business out of their garage in Augusta, Georgia.
Beverly had been in the military, so they designed E-Z-Go’s first models to use surplus 24-volt motors for Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress wing flaps. The B-17 is a four-engine heavy bomber most notable for its operation during World War II. These motors could run on a 36-volt battery pack. After a while, the two brothers transferred production to a machine shop in Grovetown, Georgia.
In 1960, Royal Little, founder of Textron, purchased E-Z-Go from Billy and Beverly. Though the brothers had originally remained with the company on the board of directors, Billy eventually left with a few employees and purchased Club Car with investors’ help. He moved the Houston-based Club Car to Augusta, where he and Beverly had started E-Z-Go.
E-Z-Go golf cart pros and cons
“Electric and gas-powered golf carts have become standard equipment in our lifestyles,” Golf Court Resource explains. These vehicles aren’t exclusive to golfers anymore — people use golf carts for camping, hunting, running errands, hauling materials, cruising neighborhoods, and more. For example, Club Car sells a Cafe Express Mobile Merchandising model that’s essentially a miniature food truck.
E-Z-Go and Club Car models come with an electric or gas powertrain and standard and optional packages. For example, E-Z-Go’s Freedom RXV model offers three packages for various uses: the Party Package, the Family Package, and the Neighborhood Package. Per the E-Z-Go website, the RXV retails for $11,034 to $13,168 — nearly as much as a decent used car.
E-Z-Go models also have sturdy steel frames instead of aluminum. Steel is safer for people who “have a lead foot” or drive on fairly uneven surfaces, Golf Court Resource explains. However, their steel frames make E-Z-Go golf carts unsuitable for owners living on the coast or in high-humidity locales because the metal could rust.
When purchasing an E-Z-Go cart, ask the dealer to spray the frame with rust-preventative paint. It will cost extra, but a steel frame will provide more protection for riders. This is why few automakers produce vehicle frames using aluminum.
Club Car golf cart benefits and drawbacks
Ingersoll Rand Incorporated owns Club Car, so it’s no surprise the company constructs its golf carts with aircraft-quality aluminum. This means its carts are perfect for those living in a marine climate or humid environment. Aluminum also makes Club Car models notably lighter than the E-Z-Go carts. “When a frame deteriorates, you might as well turn your cart into an expensive planter,” Golf Court Resource jokes.
Another benefit: Club Car golf carts have tighter turn radiuses than E-Z-Go models, making them nimbler on the green (their original intended use). One more plus: Club Car builds strong engines, so owners usually keep their models for around 20 years before buying another, Golf Court Resource reports. Other than that, both brands are equally strong contenders.
Though the steel-versus-aluminum issue might be a deal-breaker for either brand, both offer plenty of luxurious features to make a golf cart uniquely yours.