How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Golf Cart?

by | Last updated Jun 25, 2024

how old do you have to be to drive a golf cart

Have you ever seen kids zipping around the golf course in golf carts and wondered if they were old enough to drive?

Turns out, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer about how old you need to be to drive a golf cart.

Golf carts might look fun, but they’re still motor vehicles!

The legal driving age can change depending on if you’re on a golf course, private property, or even public streets.

Some places need a driver’s license, others a learner’s permit, and sometimes the rules depend on the speed limit.

Don’t worry!

This guide will help you figure out the rules for driving golf carts based on state and local laws and even specific golf courses.

  • No single answer: Each state, and even towns or golf courses, can have their own rules.
  • Age usually matters: Most states have a minimum age between 12 and 16.
  • License or not? Some places require a permit or a full driver’s license on top of the age limit.
  • Where you drive is key: Golf courses might have different rules than public roads.
  • Always check the latest: Laws can change! Find the official, most up-to-date info for your area.

Why Age Matters for Golf Cart Driving

Even though golf carts seem smaller and slower than cars, they’re still motor vehicles.

That means things like laws, speed limits, and safety are super important for golf cart drivers.

Unlike cars, where you always need a valid driver’s license, the rules for golf carts can be a lot more confusing.

Here’s why age is essential when it comes to driving golf carts:

Golf cart
  • Safety First: Driving any vehicle takes focus and understanding the rules of the road. Younger drivers might not be ready for this responsibility. A golf cart in the wrong hands can lead to accidents on the course or even on a street.
  • License or No License? Every state decides how old you need to be to get a driver’s license. The legal age for driving golf carts might be different, and sometimes, a learner’s permit is enough.
  • Where You Drive Matters: In some places, younger drivers might be okay on a golf course but not allowed on public roads. Local governments can make their own rules on top of the state laws.

Think of it like this: Just because your friend in Florida can drive a golf cart at a certain age doesn’t mean you can where you live.

It gets even trickier if low-speed vehicles (which include some fancier golf carts) have different rules in your state.

It’s kind of like a puzzle, but we’ll help you figure it out!

The Big Question – What’s the Minimum Age?

Get ready because here’s where things get a bit tricky!

There’s no single answer to how old you need to be to drive a golf cart.

The rules about age change depending on which state you’re in and sometimes even which town or city!

It’s like each place has its own rules for golf cart drivers.

Here’s the general scoop:

  • Age Range: Most states set the minimum age between 12 and 16. There might be a few places where it’s even younger or where you have to be older.
  • Important Note: Even if you’re old enough according to the state law, there might be more rules! Let’s look at why…

Here’s why it’s not so simple

Golf cart
  • License or Permit: Some places require a learner’s permit or even a full-blown driver’s license. This is to ensure that you already know the basics of driving safely.
  • Where You Drive: Sometimes, the age limit is different on a golf course than on public roadways.
  • Night Driving: Teens might not be allowed to drive golf carts at night, even if they meet the daytime age rule.
  • Adult Supervision: Younger drivers might need a responsible adult in the cart with them.

Different states have different ideas about when kids become responsible enough to handle a motor vehicle.

It’s a big deal because accidents can happen, even with golf carts.

That’s why things like insurance, permits, and additional rules from local authorities come into play to protect both drivers and others around them.

Other Factors Influencing Golf Cart Driving

Okay, so you know the age limits can change from place to place.

But hold on – there are even more things that can affect whether you’re allowed to drive a golf cart!

Here’s where it gets even trickier:

  • License or Permit…Again! We talked about this, but it’s important! Some places will only let you drive a golf cart if you at least have a learner’s permit, while others need a full driver’s license.
  • Staying on the Course: In some areas, you might be old enough to drive on the golf course, but not on regular streets. The rules get tighter when it comes to public roadways.
  • Night Owls Beware: Even if you’re old enough by day, some places ban nighttime golf cart driving for younger drivers.
  • Adult Required: Depending on your age, a responsible adult might need to ride along with you in the golf cart.

Extra things to think about:

  • Community Rules: Golf courses, neighborhoods, or towns can have their own rules in addition to the state laws.
  • Cart Capacity: Sometimes, there are limits on how many people can ride in a golf cart, especially with younger drivers.
  • Weight Restrictions: In some cases, weight limits may apply to golf cart operators.
  • Special Training: Certain communities or courses might require young drivers to take a safety class to qualify.


Let’s say your state says you can drive a golf cart at 14.

But your golf course might say you must be 16, OR you can drive at 14 with an adult on board.

See how it gets complicated?

That’s why it’s super important to know all the rules where you want to drive.

driving golf cart

Need-to-Know Resources

We know figuring out golf cart driving ages is like a scavenger hunt!

But don’t worry, here’s how to find the official rules that apply to you:

  • State Websites: Every state has a website dedicated to motor vehicles (often called the DMV). Search for things like “[Your State Name] golf cart laws” to find the main rules.
  • State Government Pages: If a new law has been passed, your state legislature’s website might have the most up-to-date information.
  • Golf Course Check: Always ask the specific golf course if they have any extra age rules or restrictions on top of state laws.
  • Your Community: If you live in a neighborhood with golf cart use, check with your homeowner’s association (HOA) or local authorities for any specific regulations.


Laws and regulations can change!

Please make sure you’re looking at the most current information before hitting the course or the road in your golf cart.

Staying Safe – Tips for Young Golf Cart Drivers

If you’re lucky enough to be in a place where you’re old enough to drive a golf cart, remember, it’s a big responsibility!

Here’s How to Be a Safe and Awesome Golf Cart Driver

  • Focus, Please! Golf carts might seem like fun, but they’re not toys. Keep your eyes on the path, be aware of other carts and people, and don’t goof around while driving.
  • Know the Course: Understand the basic rules of golf course driving, such as who has the right of way, how to use cart paths, and where to park. Don’t just speed off without knowing the layout!
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Before driving on a busy course, find an open area where you can practice with an adult. Get the hang of starting, stopping, and turning safely.
  • Follow the Rules: Even if you see other kids breaking them, always respect the age limits, speed limits, and any other golf cart regulations.

Remember: Driving a golf cart safely means protecting yourself, anyone riding with you, and everyone else out enjoying the course, the streets, or the neighborhood.


golf cart driving in golf course

So, can you drive a golf cart yet?

The answer depends on where you live and how old you are.

The most important thing is always to know the rules for your area and never try to get behind the wheel if you’re not permitted.

Remember, golf carts can be a lot of fun, but it’s super important to follow the laws and drive responsibly.

Here’s a quick reminder:

  • Check your state’s official website for the main laws about golf cart driving.
  • Don’t forget to find out if the golf course or your neighborhood has any extra rules.
  • Be a safe and respectful driver!

Now that you’ve got the basics, always double-check the latest information before grabbing the keys to your golf cart adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drive a golf cart on the street?

This depends entirely on your state and local laws. In some places, golf carts are allowed on specific roads with low speed limits. Always check the official rules before driving on public streets.

Do I need a driver’s license to drive a golf cart?

Sometimes! Some states only require a learner’s permit, while others demand a full driver’s license. Some places don’t need either but have strict age limits. It’s best to check with your state’s DMV website for accurate information.

What’s the youngest age someone can drive a golf cart?

It varies widely! Most states have a minimum age between 12 and 16, but there are exceptions on both ends. Could you always look up your specific state’s laws?

Are there passenger limits for golf carts?

Sometimes, yes! Especially for younger drivers, there might be rules on how many people can ride in the golf cart. Some carts are actually built for two people only, so please make sure you know the rules and the capacity of the specific cart you’ll be driving.

Can I get in trouble if I let my child drive the golf cart even if they’re underage?

Absolutely! Letting someone underage drive a golf cart can lead to fines or other penalties, especially if an accident occurs. Please follow the age restrictions for your area.