How Fast Do Golf Carts Go?

The convenience and the fun factor of golf carts make them a popular way for people to get around both on and off the golf court. But given that most models lack a speedometer, you might be left wondering: just how fast do golf carts go?

On average, a golf cart can reach speeds of around 12 to 15 mph (24 km/h) at full throttle. However, this top speed can vary based on several factors such as the cart’s age and condition, battery life, weight, and the type of tires used. More advanced models have top speeds of 25 mph and more.

In the article below, we will delve deeper into the topic of average and maximum golf cart speeds based on their type and explain how you can make yours faster.

Average Golf Cart Speeds: Electric vs. Gas

man riding fast white golf cart

If you’re debating whether to buy an electric or gas golf cart, top speed might be one of your main concerns. Fortunately, the speed differences between these two popular golf cart types are minimal.

Both electric and gas golf carts typically reach top speeds of between 12-15 mph for standard models. The key difference lies in performance as the power source depletes: electric golf carts start to slow as their batteries drain, while gas golf carts maintain a consistent top speed.

You may also be wondering if a 48V golf cart is faster than a 36V golf cart. The short answer is no, but there is more to it.

While 48V and 36V golf carts share similar top speeds, they differ in the amount of torque they deliver. Specifically, 48V golf carts offer more torque, allowing for quicker acceleration, easier navigation of hilly terrain, and more efficient battery usage.

A few manufacturers, such as EZ-GO or Icon Golf Carts, have recently also introduced 72V golf carts. These models provide even greater torque, although their top speeds are comparable to those of lower-voltage models.

What Is the Maximum Speed of Golf Carts?

Without modifications, the fastest golf carts on the market can typically reach speeds ranging from 19 to 25 mph (31 km/h to 40 km/h).

The speed depends on numerous factors, including how much a golf cart costs, so you’ll have to pay more to go faster.

Here are 10 examples of particularly fast golf carts offered by popular manufacturers:

Brand and ModelSeatingPower SourceTop Speed
EZ-GO Liberty LSV4Electric25 MPH
EZ-GO New Valor2Gas/Electric19 MPH
EZ GO Express S44Gas/Electric19 MPH
Club Car Onward 22Gas/Electric19 MPH
Club Car Onward HP2 or 4Electric19 MPH
Club Car Onward Lifted 44Gas/Electric19 MPH
Star Sirius 22Electric25 MPH
Star Capella 22Electric25 MPH
Yamaha Drive2 PTV2Gas/Electric19 MPH
Yamaha Concierge 4/64 or 6Gas/Electric19 MPH

As you can see, most models peak at 19 mph, but a few outliers can hit up to 25 mph. However, it’s worth noting that golf carts intended to be ridden on golf courts are typically limited to 15 mph.

That said, most electric golf carts can be modified to reach speeds as high as 30 mph, while the top speed of gas golf carts can be increased up to 20 mph.

Some of these modifications are quite easy and straightforward, while others may require the expertise of a skilled mechanic.

Why you may want to make your golf cart faster?

Because in most states in the US, a golf cart needs to be able to reach at least 20 mph to be street-legal on roads with a 35 mph speed limit.

How to Make Your Golf Cart Faster

ez-go liberty lsv golf cart
EZ-GO Liberty LSV (Low Speed Vehicle) golf cart with a 25 mph top speed. (Image source:

If you need your golf cart to be faster for use on open roads or simply to suit your needs better, there’s no need to purchase a brand-new model. You can simply modify your current cart to increase its speed.

Some of the modifications below can be performed at home for free, while others require a professional mechanic and a bit of investment.

  • Make modifications to the governor: Most manufacturers install a speed limiter/governor that controls the top speed your golf cart can reach. The governors are installed for safety reasons and to comply with speed limits on golf courts. On most golf carts, you can either increase the top speed limit in the settings through the menu or you can remove the governor completely.
  • Install a speed chip/code: Some golf carts, such as EZ-GO models, allow you to install a speed chip/code that increases the speed limit. Older models will require you to install a physical chip that plugs into the speed controller, while newer models require a code for the golf cart computer.
  • Use larger tires: One of the best ways to make your golf cart faster is to use larger tires. These will allow you to cover more distance with each rotation of the wheel, making the cart more efficient and faster. This way, you will increase the range of the golf cart and preserve battery charge.
  • Lower the weight: The easiest and cheapest way to increase the speed of your golf cart is to make it lighter. By getting rid of any clutter you’re hauling around and lowering the weight, your motor will reach its top speed more easily.
  • Replace the motor and the batteries: Finally, one of the most obvious ways to increase the speed is to use a more powerful motor and batteries. However, this is a pricey method and requires a professional mechanic to get the job done.

Can You Drive a Golf Cart on Public Roads?

elderly man and woman riding a street-legal golf cart

Why are people concerned with golf cart speed and why would anyone want to make their cart faster? One of the main reasons is to make their golf cart street legal and be able to ride on public roads.

In most states in the US, a golf cart needs to be able to go at least 20 mph to be street-legal on roads with a 35 mph speed limit.

However, keep in mind that some states do not allow golf carts on public roads at all, such as Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Missouri, and Rhode Island. So make sure to check your local regulations before hitting the road.

Moreover, if you want to drive your golf cart on public roads, you will need to have a driver’s license. On top of that, if your cart can travel at speeds higher than 25 mph, most states require you to install and wear seatbelts.

Therefore, to avoid paying hefty fines and getting in trouble with the law, make sure to research and abide by any local rules.

Street Legal Golf Carts Safety Requirements

rear lights and turn signals on a street-legal golf cart
Rear lights with turn signals are just some of the things that golf carts need to have in order to be allowed on public roads.

The rules for street-legal golf carts don’t stop with meeting the mandatory speed limit, having a license, and wearing a seatbelt.

Here are a few other common requirements your cart has to meet to be in compliance with Rule 49 CFR 571.500 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS):

  • Headlights
  • Turn signals
  • Brakes
  • Brake lights
  • Reflective attachments
  • Registration
  • Insurance (in some cases) 
  • Speedometer
  • Windshield
  • Horn

Before hitting the road, make sure that all of these parts are functioning properly, especially your lights and turn signals.

Also, check that your battery is fully charged to avoid getting stuck on a public road, and clean the undercarriage of any gravel, mud, or pebbles that could litter the roads.

Safety Considerations for Street-Legal Golf Carts

multiple golf carts on a golf court

While golf carts may seem like fun and harmless vehicles, they can still pose significant risks if not handled correctly.

There have been numerous reports of accidents involving golf carts, especially when used improperly on public roads.

Golf carts lack many of the main safety features that are present in carts, such as airbags. They are also open on the sides, leaving passengers vulnerable in the event of an accident. Therefore, you need to exert even more caution when riding one on public roads than when riding a car.

Here are some of the main safety risks to avoid when riding a golf cart:

  • Don’t overcrowd the cart. This will make the cart less stable and significantly increase the distance required to stop, especially during emergency braking.
  • Stay within the speed limit. Ride defensively and stay within the speed limit, maintaining enough distance from other vehicles.
  • Don’t take sharp turns. Golf carts are notorious for having a high center of gravity, which means they could easily roll over when taking sharp turns at high speeds.

Finally, when using a golf cart on public roads, you must always adhere to the local traffic rules and regulations just as you would with any other vehicle. This includes stopping at stop signs, using lights at night, and yielding to pedestrians.

Final Thoughts About Golf Cart Speeds

two black fast golf carts on a golf course

To sum up, golf carts are more than just fairway cruisers, they’re a fun and handy way to zip around.

Speeds typically range from 12-15 mph, with factors like the cart’s age, battery life, and tires playing a role.

Now, if you’re weighing up gas versus electric, remember that while they clock similar top speeds, gas carts hold their speed longer.

Thinking about volts? More voltage means more torque and better battery efficiency, but won’t necessarily up your speed game.

If you fancy a zippier ride, there are plenty of tweaks to boost your golf cart’s top speed, making it not just faster but also street-legal in many U.S. states.

But don’t forget, hitting the open road isn’t just about speed – it’s about safety, too. So, ensure your golf cart meets all the road-legal safety requirements before you buckle up and ride out.

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