You can’t miss Steven Martini’s cart—it’s painted gold and black to show off his Pittsburgh Steelers fandom.
But Martini doesn’t take his Steelers cart on the golf course. Like many Trophy Club residents, he takes it to the streets.
"There’s nothing better than going to the store, bringing the kids with me and sometimes the dog," he said. "You can get some fresh air. It takes a hot day and makes it more relaxing. When my daughter gets her license that’s how she’s going to learn to drive before she drives a car."
Trophy Club’s golf cart culture was one of the main things that attracted Martini to the town when he relocated from New York.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
And Trophy Club residents can expect to see golf carts on park trails and elsewhere around town now that the town has loosened restrictions on them. There are safety concerns, though, as golf carts venture onto park trails. And different rules need to be followed in different cities. But advocates say golf carts strengthen the community, encourage socialization and get people out of the house.
Meat-U-Anywhere owner Andy Sedino set aside a golf cart parking only area when he opened his Trophy Club restaurant earlier this year. It’s got lattice-like concrete blocks with grass growing in it. He likes to say he’s the first barbecue restaurant to have a designated zone for golf carts in North Texas.
"The golf cart parking popularity continues to grow weekly as more folks find out about it," Sedino said. "If you’re driving in front of our Trophy Club store, we’ve placed speed bumps for the safety of our families and their children as we take advantage of the golf cart parking."
Trophy Club police also have been monitoring for speeders at the cross-access driveway between the golf cart lot and the restaurant, Sedino said.
Free to roam
Historically, Trophy Club has followed the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle laws for golf carts with two exceptions, Police Chief Patrick Arata said. First, the town required residents to have their carts inspected annually. Second, they were not allowed on concrete trails in the parks.
In August, the Town Council voted to drop those rules, adopting new regulations that mirror the state’s exactly.
"It reduces the inconvenience on the residents to have to register the golf carts," Arata said. "Golf carts are now allowed to go anywhere in town except on the posted trails."
Opening up the parks allows families to drive to youth sporting events and park their golf carts nearby, Arata said.
Trophy Club residents are still required to register their golf cart in Roanoke if they want to travel into that town, for example. Arata recommends anyone who is buying a golf cart, to first transport it to Roanoke and register it there if they plan to travel to that town.
Trophy Club is still working out details with its neighbor, Westlake.
Rules to follow
Though it’s fun, driving a golf cart isn’t free-for-all—there are rules that have to be followed.
- Drivers must have a license and all the passengers must remain in seats while the cart is moving. The cart can only hold the number of people it was rated for—no one hanging off the back or sitting in someone’s lap.
- The carts must stick to roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. They can cross roads with higher speed limits at designated crosswalks.
- The carts must have headlamps, tail lamps, reflectors, parking brakes, mirrors and a slow-moving vehicle emblem.
At first, police did see someone with too many passengers on board or not driving safely, Arata said. In recent years, it hasn’t been an issue, he said.
"It’s worked out really well," he said.
Some Trophy Club residents posted concerns about golf carts on park trails on the town’s Facebook page, saying it could be a safety hazard. They are especially concerned about the blind corners.
Riding in style
Custom paint jobs, Bluetooth connectivity and lift kits are just a few of the add-ons customers are requesting these days at Grapevine Golf Cart on Northwest Highway.
Shop Manager Darren Christian said the golf carts have come a long way in the last five years.
"Nowadays, manufacturers are putting more engineering and ingenuity into the carts with USB ports coming standard, high-speed motor upgrades and upgraded speed controls," Christian said. "I’ve had customers add so many accessories that it’s an $11,000 car easily."
Some families have his and hers golf carts, too, he added.
Where it started
Former Town Councilwoman Jeanette Tiffany saw the potential to make Trophy Club a golf cart town several years ago. She was the driving force that made it happen.
"We’re not a destination town, we’re a community," she said. "We don’t have big thoroughfares going through our town. To me it made sense that we not only have personal golf carts at the country club but open it up to the town. To me it was a community-friendly thing to offer to town. It was a family thing, it was something that could add some fun to our town."
Martini said that when driving the golf cart he’s more inclined to stop and say hello to friends than if they were driving a car.
"Having golf carts just creates a great sense of community," he said.
Trophy Club resident Erika Lynch said the golf carts are great at getting the family out and away from video games or television.
"I love when you’re on a golf cart everyone seems to wave at you and the kids," Lynch said.