There are lots of different types of golf carts on the market.
It is a good idea to understand what these different types of golf carts are and find out which one is for you.
A side-by-side golf cart is a unique option for some golfers, and it is one that you may want to consider.
We have put together a complete guide as to what a side-by-side golf cart is, how it can be used, and what you need to know about it.
What Is A Side By Side Golf Cart?
A side by side is also known as a UTV, which is like an open-air utility vehicle that can be used in the woods on rough terrain, and some people will try to use it on the golf course as well.
There are several differences between side-by-side golf carts and traditional golf carts.
One of the first things you will notice is the size and especially the size of the tires.
Most people don’t purchase a side by side with the idea in mind that they will use it to play golf.
However, for those who live in communities that have access to golf, hunting, fishing, and just lots of land, a side by side could be the better choice.
Some golf courses are going to allow a side-by-side to be used on the golf course, but most of them will not.
Most golf courses are going to have a hard time with the size and the way the side-by-sides are configured.
Chances are they are going to be a bit too bulky and damaging to the golf course.
Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the side by side and the golf cart so that you can understand why your local golf course may be saying the side by side is not allowed.
Difference Between Side By Side And Golf Cart
There are some significant differences between the side by side and the golf cart that you must keep in mind.
Most of the time, if you are looking for a golf cart specifically to play golf every day, the golf cart is a better choice than a side by side.
Most of the time, this question about the side by side and the cart and which is better will come down to those who have already purchased a side by side and are looking to potentially use it as a golf cart.
The side by side is quite a bit bigger than the golf cart.
At first, you will notice that the side by side is quite a bit taller, but this is not the only difference in size.
You will notice that the side by side is a little wider, and the overall length is usually greater as well.
However, the biggest thing to take note of is the tire size.
Golf cart tires are relatively small.
For the height of the cart and the speed that it goes around the course, a large tire is not necessary.
However, when you look at the UTV or side by side, the larger tires are necessary.
These are designed to be taken off-road, and stability is essential when you are going to be traveling on unpredictable terrain.
The golf cart does not have to worry quite as much about the stability as the speeds and the terrain are much easier to deal with.
2. Number Of Passengers
The number of passengers that most golf carts can fit is two.
There are some extended golf carts that fit four or six people, but for the most part, the number of passengers able to ride in a golf cart is going to be two.
For most UTVs or side by sides, it is going to be two or four.
Since people using UTVs typically use them for work and or traveling around large properties, they are sometimes more likely to have room for four passengers.
This is done to help carry more people around and enjoy the benefits and functionality of the UTV.
The number of passengers that you see will really not set these two vehicles apart by all that much.
3. Speed Capabilities
The speed capability of the UTV or side by side is much greater than that of a golf cart.
Most golf carts are going to max out around 20 miles per hour.
If you are playing a round of golf with friends or taking your cart to the grocery store, chances are you do not need more than 20 mph to get this done.
The UTV, however, can reach speeds of more than 50 miles per hour.
This is one of the major reasons you will see golf courses saying that UTVs or side by sides are not allowed.
The higher level of speeds are not only not necessary, but they are also simply dangerous.
Could you imagine what it would be like if golf courses everywhere had carts flying around at 50 mph?
Clearly, there would be injuries and issues related to this.
If you put the safety aside for a minute and think about the speed of these vehicles traveling across the turf, you may be shocked by the damage that they can do.
Golf course turf is not made to be driven on at these speeds with large tires.
In fact, some golf courses take plenty of damage just from traditional golf carts riding on them.
The more speed with the rough tires is plenty of reason for a golf course to deny you access with your UTV.
However, away from the golf course, the fact that the side by side has all this extra speed can be a great thing.
You will be able to get through really rough terrain and keep your fast speeds.
In addition, with speed like this typically comes power.
The power added to the UTV helps for hauling and for any type of work that you have going on around your property.
A golf cart can typically haul around 1,000 pounds with ease.
With a golf cart, you can get two to four golfers and all of their clubs and not have many issues making your way around the golf course.
Most people don’t use a traditional golf cart for hauling purposes as there is not all that much strength unless you are dealing with the larger gas golf carts.
However, when you are hauling things around a property, the side by side is a much better choice.
It can haul well over 1,000 pounds and closer to 3,000 pounds.
This is a much bigger difference in the capabilities and something that should be considered when you are purchasing one or the other of these types of vehicles.
One thing that will not matter all that much on the golf course is how much your side-by-side can haul.
You may end up having something quite a bit bigger and bulkier than necessary when there is not all that much to haul around.
Why Are Some Golf Courses Not Allowing Side By Side Golf Carts?
Golf courses are mostly saying that they are not allowing side-by-side golf carts.
The golf course superintendent and staff work very hard and spend a lot of time trying to keep a golf course in great condition throughout the year.
If the golf course stays in great condition, more people will want to play, and the course will end up in better financial condition.
It is nearly impossible to keep the golf course in great condition when there are side-by-side golf carts on the course.
The tire tread is simply too large, and the overall weight and the size of the vehicle are something that is just not necessary on the golf course.
Some very high-end golf courses don’t allow golf carts at all.
They expect players to walk to try and maintain the turf and keep the course in great condition.
However, most golf courses will allow carts as long as they are kept within certain areas of the course.
If it rains or there is trouble with a certain area of turf, they may say that a golf cart needs to get back on the path.
Finding a golf course that allows a side-by-side golf cart is going to be difficult.
If you do find one, chances are they will be allowed on the cart path only, and there will likely be speed regulations that you will also run into.
Overall, it should not come as a surprise that the side-by-side golf cart is not allowed on the golf course.
With the wear and tear and the safety issues, this is just not an avenue that many golf courses want to travel down.
Should I Get A Side By Side Golf Cart?
This situation gets even more difficult when you are trying to figure out whether you should purchase a side-by-side golf cart or get a traditional golf cart.
The capabilities of each of these are so diverse that you will likely have a hard time being able to tell what the best choice is.
Here are some things to consider about whether or not to get a side-by-side golf cart.
1. Primary Purpose
What will the primary purpose of your side-by-side golf cart be?
Are you a low handicap golfer looking to play a round of golf every other day?
Do you live on a large plot of land with lots of property to explore and maintain?
The first thing to do is to come up with the exact reason you are going to be purchasing a side-by-side golf cart.
When you find that this reason has more to do with golf, you may want to look at a traditional golf cart a little more closely.
If your main reasons are for hauling, joyriding, and overall functionality around a property, then the side by side may make more sense.
The primary purpose of the vehicle should be your main consideration when purchasing.
The budget you have for your purchase of one of these golf carts may also push you one way or another.
Although neither golf carts nor side-by-side golf carts are going to be cheap, the side-by-side is likely to be a bit more expensive.
The reason behind this is that the side by side is going to be heavier, made with more durable materials, and typically has a more powerful engine.
Finding one that fits in your budget may be a bit more difficult than you thought.
In addition, golf carts are often purchased used because there is such a large market for used carts.
This helps if you are trying to keep your budget together and you want to get into something without breaking the bank.
If your budget is your primary concern, look into a traditional golf cart, and it will likely save you a bit of money.
3. Access To A Golf Course
Finally, when deciding whether or not to purchase a side-by-side golf cart, you must consider the golf course you will have access to.
If you have access to a golf course that will allow the side by side, your decision is going to be considerably more manageable.
Once you know that you have access, you may as well have the side by side for the extra functionality it offers.
However, for most people, this is going to be a significant holdup.
To find a golf course that says it is no problem to allow side-by-side carts all over the place is going to be difficult.
In addition, once you do find a golf course like this, you may realize that playing with the side-by-side cart feels a bit bulky and unnecessary.
Chances are you will want to get a traditional cart or simply start walking the golf course.
The side-by-side golf cart has its positives but being unable to use it on the golf course could be one of the major holdups.