In as few words as possible, what exactly is a golf cart?
For some, that one word would be “transportation” that helps people get around their gated community. For others, it would be a “motorized caddy” that scurries around a golf course.
But for high school students at the Olathe Advanced Technical Center in Kansas, where construction and auto mechanics are on the curriculum, a golf cart that came their way came to represent something else. In a word, for them, a golf cart is a “resource.”
Looking at a golf cart with the concept of utility in mind above all else, the students took out the welders, the cutting torch and the tool box and transformed a golf cart into a carry-all type buggy that includes a lift and an extra-wide platform with rails designed to carry a wheelchair in its unfolded position.
The result is a snazzy, freshly painted golf cart that has all the benefits of a city bus built for one, but custom fit to make it useful for someone in a wheelchair.
The new utility cart, reported KHSB Kansas City, is expected to be completed in May, near the end of the school year. What began as a school project with a grade assigned to students at the end of the year has become a project of pride for the students who recognized that their trade skills could benefit their community in a manner that was larger than they had previously envisioned.
The KHSB report leaves several key details to the imagination, but the report shows a few dramatic developments. In the first place, the cart that the high-school students first saw was a “mess” one of the students said, more like the carcass of a golf cart than an actual machine with some life left in it. This was a ghost of a golf cart – a quintessential parts cart that looked like it should be stripped apart, not saved, let alone transformed into a thing of beauty and purpose.
The end product is both attractive and utilitarian. The cart now has one seat remaining for a driver with an extended open floor allowing for a wheelchair that can be wheeled into place with the help of a side-mounted lift that tucks away under the floor. On the back of the platform is a two-seat bench and taking up the rear, facing backwards, is another seat.
When done, it will be outfitted with a roof in part to protect riders from the elements, but also to provide a structure to hold new LED lights.
The cart also has new tires – and new – almost everything. Details in the report are sketchy, but the purpose is clear: It was build to benefit the Olathe community, specifically to help those with disabilities get to community events.
It’s not a golf cart anymore. Strictly speaking it’s a resource. And, while we’re at it, a terrific idea.