‘Kind of Blingy’: The Tricked-Out Golf Carts of the Villages, Fla.

“If you can’t have a real Corvette, you can at least drive something designed to look like one,” said an employee of the Villages’ big golf-cart store.

New York Times article by Julie Weed July 3, 2019

Plenty of the golf carts that roam the roads of the Villages in Florida look as if they had just come from the 18th hole, and maybe some did.

But many of the owners there — a retirement community with 120,000 residents and about 60,000 golf carts — want a little more zing, and a cottage industry has developed to sell tricked-out rides.

Tom Sarauer, 63, moved to the Villages from Wisconsin in 2017. In the garage are his-and-hers golf carts (or golf cars, as they’re also known) that pay tribute to the Green Bay Packers. His is two-toned in Packers green and gold; his wife’s is jazzed up with stickers and LED lights.

Wisconsinites who have fled for warmer climes always make sure to stop and say hello when they spot the carts. “It’s a conversation piece and a great way to meet people,” Mr. Sarauer said.

The Villages was laid out so the residents, people in their 50s and older, could meet all their shopping, medical and entertainment needs without a full-size vehicle.

“If you can’t have a real Corvette, you can at least drive something designed to look like one,” said Lori Resmondo, who has worked for the Villages Golf Cars (which has five locations) for 26 years.

Some reflect the owner’s alma mater, favorite sports team, former profession or main hobby. There are golf cars made to look like Model Ts and racecars. There’s even a mini fire engine and a scaled-down eighteen-wheeler.

One popular option is to stencil the owners’ first names in decorative script across the front. Also popular are bonus safety features and extra-comfy seats.

Donna Joy, 60, chose metallic green paint with silver and gold pinstripes for her vehicle, adding reclining cushioned seats with armrests. It also has a “Monarch front,” a premium add-on that gives the golf cart the more rounded front-end look of a car and provides storage space for groceries or other items.

Ms. Joy had fold-up seats installed in the back where golf clubs would be carried so she could transport more people, and a special basket that clips in for her two small dogs.

“It’s kind of blingy,” she said. “You want to have something that you love.”

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