Finally! An idiot-resistant golf cart

If youve ever had a golf cart roll down a hill, crash through a retaining wall, tumble into an environmental area and then sink irretrievably below the surface of a water hazard, resulting in an unfair and totally arbitrary ban from the golf course in question because the head pro wouldnt listen to reason _ not that its ever happened to me, Im just saying, yknow, hypothetically _ then good news is on the horizon.

You dont need to be a Rhodes Scholar to figure out how to keep a golf cart from rolling away on you, of course _ just make sure the little mini-pedal on the corner of the larger brake pedal is depressed and locked. Nor, however, do you need to be the village idiot in order to thoroughly screw up that ridiculously simple procedure.

Maybe youre running hot about that missed three-footer, for instance. Or the power-mad marshall who just scolded your group for being five minutes off the pace.

Perhaps youve had one too many beers and have no business being behind the wheel of anything. Or maybe _ and I suspect this is more common that you might think _ the brakes on the cart itself are old and worn out.

Carts have never been completely idiot-proof. They are, however, about to get a little more idiot-resistant.

E-Z-GO Golf, one of the worlds largest golf-cart manufacturers, has unveiled the smoother-riding, more comfy RXV, which features a head-slapper of a why-didnt-anyone-think-of-this-before feature: an automatic parking brake.

When the vehicle comes to a stop, whether it rolls to a stop or when you depress the brake, an automatic parking brake then engages, said E-Z-GO VP-Communications Kathleen Searle as we tooled around a mini-test track at the PGA Merchandise Show last week in Orlando.

Its going to increase the speed of rounds “ people can jump out quick, play their ball and keep going. You can slow down, coast to a stop _ that vehicle isnt going anywhere. From a safety perspective, its a home run.

Sidebar: even at a golf spectacle like the PGA Merchandise Show, inside a building large enough to house a recumbent Statue of Liberty, it’s impossible not to feel like a dork when you’re driving a golf cart around a 30-foot wide circular obstacle course.

The track included a 30-degree incline on which the cart did, indeed, stop when I took my foot off the gas. Its definitely a little counter-intuitive after decades of tromping on the pedal in an effort to engage the parking brake, but golfers will likely get used to it.

The RXV also includes a host of other features you probably didnt know you wanted: a larger sweater basket and bag well, and a relocated cup and ball holder _ that one struck me as vaguely dirty _ that makes access easier.

Perhaps the RXVs most important feature, however, is that it runs on AC power, rather than the old-school direct-current models “ a tweak thats expected to result in 30 per cent less power consumption over the life of the car.

From an efficiency perspective, the combination of AC drive and the charger that were equipping the vehicle with is going to give them 30 per cent more energy efficiency, so theres a lot of cost benefit thats going to result from the technology, Searle said.

E-Z-GO bills the RXV as a major step forward in golf-car technology. Most of us have been too busy obsessing about our drivers to notice we needed it, I guess. But dont take my word for it “ E-Z-GO has endorsements from two of the worlds most famous golfers.

From the press release:

E-Z-GO has raised the bar with the RXV, which sets a new standard for the golf car industry, says Jack Nicklaus, owner of a record 18 professional major championships and the designer of more than 260 courses internationally.

I have enjoyed a long-term partnership with E-Z-GO. I appreciate all that E-Z-GO does to produce a quality product that we can proudly recommend at the golf courses I design around the world. In my mind, E-Z-GO is without question the premier golf car and utility vehicle provider.

The RXV is a game-changer for the golf industry. It takes the golf car to a whole new level, says golf legend Arnold Palmer, who has built more than 300 golf courses worldwide and whose company manages many outstanding facilities.

“E-Z-GO continues its tradition of innovation “ making the game of golf more enjoyable for everyone who plays. I am proud of my longtime association with E-Z-GO and look forward to working with them for many more years.

Look for the new rides at a top-notch course near you this season.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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