How to Drive a Golf Cart [Step-By-Step Guide]

Driving a golf cart is fairly straightforward. It’s designed to be a simple vehicle to operate. Then again, you do need to mind some basics while keeping some necessary details & specifications in mind while driving.

You get started by turning it on then followed by putting the seatbelt, pressing the accelerator, carefully handling the steering wheel through your way, and finally stop by hitting the brake & turn it off.

Along with that, there are some regulations you may want to know about first. And some requirements you may also need to fulfill regarding driving the golf cart. Besides there are some must follow safety instructions and good practices for you too.

So, let’s get started!

Read More : Best Golf Cart Covers 2021

The Regulations and Requirements

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT in recent years, all most all the states have passed legislation permitting general on-road use of golf carts authorizing their local jurisdictions. Here are the regulations in a summary which may vary depending on which state you are in,

  • The maximum speed should not cross 25 miles per hour to be classified as LSV.
  • The cart is subject to only state & local laws in terms of safety equipment under 20mph top speed.
  • Some states (e.g. California) also require either the cart to be registered or the user to have a valid driver’s license or both and minimum insurance to drive on a public or main road.
  • Including the driver, it should carry at most four persons.

Last but not least, as you may be wondering how old do you have to be to drive a golf cart. Well, you have to be 18 years old to drive a golf cart. You can also drive at 16 but only under a properly licensed supervisor and if you are a license holder too.

A Closer Look at The Golf Cart for Driving


parked golfcart
Image Source :


Golf carts are generally classified under LSV which stands for “Low-Speed Vehicles” when the maximum speed ranges between 15 to 25 mph. If the top speed exceeds 25 mph and up to 35 mph then they are under Neighborhood Electric Vehicles or NEV for short.

LSV can be either gas or electric powered. But as the name suggests NEV should only be electrically powered. The golf cart, in general, has only two pedals. One for acceleration the gas pedal and the other one is the brake. There is also an option for parking brake (generally multi-lock).

These are the least of specifications that will suffice for you to drive the cart.

Driving the Golf Cart – Easy 7 Step to Learn

Now that you know the requirements and got familiar with the minimum specifications, it’s time to get into action. Get your comfortable golf shorts on, it’s time to start the driving. So, let’s follow along with the steps below,

Driving the golf cart

Step 1: Get the cart started

To start the golf cart you have to use the good old fashion key. Insert the key and turn it right to start the cart. There may also be a reverse setting and you want to set the key for forward-drive.

As these are mostly electric vehicles, there will be no significant sound during the start except for the gas-powered ones.

Step 2: Put the seat belt on

Once you got the golf cart started now you should put the seat belt on. If you’re in such a cart that is listed under LSV then most probably it doesn’t have a seat belt. Then don’t worry about it but you may still want to be extra careful especially if you have a child on board.

Step 3: Time to push forward

When it comes to pushing forward the cart using the accelerator, you want to start with gentle pressure. As the accelerator is pressure-sensitive a full press may lead to a sudden push forward.

One more thing you want to keep in mind is just using a single foot for both the accelerator and the brake. It will keep you from accidentally pressing both the pedals at the same time.

Once you get the idea of the sensitivity of the accelerator you may speed up gradually.

Step 4: Handle the steering wheel

If you are just getting started with driving you should keep your both hands at the steering wheel at all time. Especially with the golf cart, you need to be more cautious as you go through unusual hilly terrains and slopes.

Step 5: Use the horn and lights for the night drive

Using the horn is nothing complicated. Use it when you need to. As for the lights these are needed particularly for driving at night.

Make sure your cart is properly facilitated with all kinds of lights. Such as headlights, brake, and signal lights. It’s even better if you got some reflective stickers, tape or strips.

Step 6: Decelerate and braking  

Simply releasing pressure from the accelerator will start slowing down your golf cart. If you need to decelerate more you can use the brake.

The brake is also sensitive to the amount of pressure being applied. So, use the brake accordingly, decelerate, and stop. Use the same foot-operated, multi-lock, park brake to park & halt before getting off.

Step 7: Going backward 

To go backward use the reverse setting and press the same acceleration pedal. Make sure to turn yourself back before hitting the pedal. You can put your arm on the back of the passenger seat for convenience.

How to Properly Drive A Golf Cart – Video Instruction

Safety instructions & good practices while driving a golf cart 

Though the golf cart is comparatively a slower vehicle still there are lots of injuries happens every year. Here are some safety instructions and good practices for you,

  • Pay proper attention and drive safely to where you are going.
  • Be mindful of your own safety & safety of others.
  • Don’t forget to put your seat belt on if it’s available to your particular model.
  • Avoid sharp turns and slow down as it’s more than easy to lose balance.
  • Do not cross the speed limit.
  • Make sure not to carry overweight.
  • Don’t push the cart too hard.
  • Keep kids from driving or under proper supervision.


Nowadays a golf cart can be used in or out of the golf course conveniently to make short trips for various reasons. It provides comparatively low-cost and energy-efficient mobility. Operating or driving one of those is also less than complicated and easy.

All you need to do is follow the simple steps and get going. It’s also recommended for you to get yourself familiar with all the specifications including safety concerns.

So, follow along and you will be driving your golf cart in no time. Happy driving!