September 2020

Joining the Club: Amid the pandemic, more and more of us are enjoying the golf cart lifestyle on offer at Club Car.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.KAT Photography


From Left to Right: Amanda Riley, Clif Rogers, Kameron Postlethwait, Dick Armstrong, Becky Weis, Barry Cook, Jamie Swafford, Becky Andrews, Mac Andrews, Ben Andrews, Annie Andrews, Ken Riley, Lenny Santiago, Kayla Swafford, David Nettles and Tim Carroll.

The side effects of the COVID-19 virus itself are numerous and well-known, but the side effects of the actual pandemic—the mandated lock-downs, the social distancing, awkward elbow-bump greetings—are only just becoming known. And they are fascinating.

For the 10 weeks following the initial quarantine period, ER visits for heart attacks and strokes plummeted. The perpetual smog that engulfs Los Angeles cleared for the first time in decades. Marble racing became a legitimate phenomenon in the sporting world.

And the glittering showroom at Club Car, generally filled with the latest model of electric and gas carts, emptied out quicker than a Hilton Head Island bar at 11 p.m.

“It’s been insane,” said Annie Andrews, who owns the local Club Car dealership along with husband Ben and father-in-law Mac. “We’ve owned this store for 10 years, and these past three months are as busy as we’ve ever seen.”

Indeed, during a recent visit, the showroom held but a handful of shiny new Club Car models, the latest from a manufacturer that has perfected the aggressive performance and sleek styles that have made golf carts the de facto transportation for the Lowcountry.

As with clear skies in L.A. and the growing fanbase for marble racing, skyrocketing ownership of golf carts is one of those pandemic side effects that seems odd unless you really look at the underlying cause. In a nutshell, the pandemic, particularly the early part, was immensely boring. We were all essentially stuck at home with nowhere to go even if we wanted to.

Golf carts, on the other hand, are the opposite of boring. Just ask any of the denizens of Old Town Bluffton, where a golf cart is simply part of the lifestyle. The wind in your hair, the sharp torque of an electric motor as it zips around the neighborhood, the friendly waves of fellow cart drivers—it’s all intrinsic to the Lowcountry lifestyle. And that lifestyle puts a premium on Fun with a capital F.

If ever there was a cure for the boredom of mandatory stay-at-home orders, it’s the thrill of living the golf cart life. A few other factors have added to the run on Club Car’s showroom as well. “A lot of people who may have been on the fence about getting a golf car didn’t take a vacation this year, so suddenly there’s a lot more room in the budget for it,” Andrews said. “And a lot of young families are buying their first just to be able to get the kids out for a ride. I know it was our saving grace when we were stuck at home.”

As a father of three and owner of a six-seater Club Car Precedent, the author can confirm that golf cart rides were vital to surviving the first weeks of lockdown. And we’re willing to bet any of our fellow Club Car owners will confirm the same.

Like any other business, the local Club Car dealership has had to adapt to the changing times. Their $99 annual check-up is now performed without human contact. “You just leave your cart out, we work on it, and we e-mail you a bill,” Andrews said. If the writer may once again inject himself into this narrative, I can personally attest that the $99 annual check-up is some of the best money you’ll ever spend. The service employees are fast, exceptionally courteous, and will go above and beyond, even replacing headlights that may have hypothetically blown out when the cart’s bonehead owner crossed some wires attempting a repair.

“We’re a family-owned business,” Andrews said. “Your experience and your cart matter to us, so everyone here is going to go above and beyond.”

It’s been an odd set of circumstances that has led to this sudden surge in golf cart ownership. But in this day and age, it’s refreshing to see good things happen to good people. If we can say this pandemic led to brisk business at a family-owned firm that has been a staple of the Lowcountry for 10 years, one that puts the customer first at every turn, well then maybe it hasn’t been all bad.

For all those new owners of shiny new Club Cars, we’ll see you out and about, enjoying the good life behind the wheel. Anyone who would care to join us, just visit clubcarhhi.com or call (843) 837-2066.

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Charging Forward
Golf cart owners know too well the hassles of maintaining traditional batteries: maintaining water levels, cleaning corrosion off of terminal… Well, kiss those days goodbye because the next step in the evolution of the golf cart is here.

The next big thing for golf carts is Lithium-ion technology, and you’ll find the best in the industry at Club Car. Similar to the solid-state batteries in most electronics, these batteries are almost completely maintenance free and protected from the elements by a tough water-tight case. And best of all, they provide a huge increase in high-powered acceleration, keeping you humming even heading uphill.

Check out this game-changing technology in Club Car’s new two- and four-seat Onward models.

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