A Golf Cart Project That Really Shines

Photo Credit: www.kshb.com

golf cart for disabilities

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.

ARTICLE: Autism-friendly destination utilizes golf carts for transportation

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.

Timothy Baler has been a journalist for three decades and has had his work published in some of the nation's top publications, including The New York Times, The Miami Herald, National Wildlife and many more. He covered the economy for United Press International for eight years, but his true passion is the game of golf. The addiction took hold 20 years ago and since there's no known cure he's been at it ever since. Plays daily seven months of the year, says he goes into mourning for the other five.