Perhaps the only thing worse than shanking your seven iron into the fairway bunker would be having your cart give up the ghost on number 12. You’re just starting to get your rhythm, and now nothing is happening when you depress the pedal. Carts – like swings – benefit from attention and care. We’ve narrowed it down to five critical things you can do to keep your round moving toward a good score.
1) Don’t Go Cheap on the Battery Charger.
You are going to want one that will automatically cut off the juice when the cart has a full charge. Overcharged batteries are almost as bad as undercharged batteries. Buy a good one and it will provide an automatic refresher charge when you cart is not being used but is still plugged in. That way it will be ready when you are. Most major cart manufacturers almost always have top-quality chargers.
2) Keep it as clean as your putting stroke.
For good battery hygiene, brush your battery terminals at least once a month with a solution of water and baking soda. This keeps corrosion at bay, but you’ll need to protect your eyes from the battery acid. That corrosion is toxic. While you’re at it, spray the cables with a non-corrosion product to keep rust and gunk off those critical connections. Do this and you power will be dry and clean, the way you want your swing.
3) Don’t Drive too Far.
If you always hit it straight down the fairway you won’t use much battery juice 😉 However, if you can accomplish that dream you’ll be ready for the tour where they don’t even use carts. If you hit things all over the place, like me, you will use a lot of juice over 18 holes. When I worked for a country club with a 133-cart fleet we tried to never let the levels go below a 20% charge. That meant on days when the tee sheet was full, or we had a tournament, the carts might have to make it for 36 holes. So every cart had to come to the barn for a charge before we could send it out for a second 18 holes. Some golfers didn’t like to wait for their cart to recharge, but it beat the hell out of waiting in some distant fairway to get a new cart brought out. The rule of thumb is to charge for eight to ten hours, even if the cart was only used for a short time. If you charge overnight, that quality charger you bought will automatically shut things down when the full charge is over, so no worries needed of overcharging.
4) Water those Batteries.
When you finish your round, your battery might need a drink as much as you do. It won’t like vodka; however, batteries love distilled water. Check the holes of each cell and make sure the water is at least ¼ inch above the plates. You’ll have to check more often at the ¼ inch level, but if you go to ½ inch you’ll get more acid accumulated on the battery tops. Let your battery go dry and you’re probably not going to get to the practice putting green. And, remember, only fill the cells after a full charge.
5) Use your Golf Cart!
Your cart wants to play, too. Batteries do better when you are using them and then charging them after your round. You should at least give them a shot of juice every 45-60 days, and when it’s hot even more frequently. In extreme heat the cells can fail and then you’ve gained nothing but a bill for a new battery. It helps also to check cable connections to make sure things are tight and to record the voltage. Batteries usually last about six years, but if your speed is diminishing and you’re finding your batteries dying quickly, you may need to bite the bullet and purchase new batteries.
These five maintenance tips might not take strokes off your game, but at least you will be able to keep playing. You may have worries about your long irons, but if you take and use these recommended steps, you won’t have to worry about your cart.