Timing is key! Aim for end-of-season clearance sales in October when dealerships want to empty inventories before winter. Also check for demo models used at tournaments offered at 30-40% off retail pricing. Consider pre-owned carts less than 2 years old for the newest features at fraction-of-cost prices. Attend used equipment auction events where courses or clubs sell older fleet carts at deep discounts. Just budget engine overhaul costs into your total price cap before bidding.
Buying a golf cart can be an expensive endeavor, with new models typically costing anywhere from $6,000 to $15,000 depending on the features, passenger capacity, and overall quality.
As with purchasing any major item, finding ways to save money is always top of mind for savvy shoppers. When considering the best time to buy a golf cart to maximize your savings, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover when prices are typically lowest throughout the year, what incentives and promotions to look out for, whether used carts are a smart buy, and any other tips and tricks to make sure you get the best deal.
Equipped with this advice, you’ll be fully prepared to shop the golf cart market and snag a large discount off retail pricing.
Seasonal Sales Fluctuations
Like many large recreational purchase items, golf cart prices are not static throughout the year. They rise and fall along with consumer demand and as manufacturers offer periodic promotions. Being aware of these seasonal fluctuations in pricing is key to ensuring you buy at the optimal moment.
As the weather warms up across much of the country, spring represents the beginning of prime golf season. Not surprisingly, interest in golf carts spikes during this period as well.
That increased demand allows retailers to maintain higher prices, so spring tends not to be the best time to find a bargain. The exception would be if you can find leftover inventory being cleared out before the new model year ships to dealers. Come March or April, start monitoring closeout pricing on the previous year’s carts.
By the height of summer, most accumulations of old stock have been sold off. Prices tend to remain fairly steady through these months. With golf carts in high use on courses, availability might even tighten slightly, pushing values higher.
The peak golf and vacation months are generally not when you’ll discover the best discounts. A possible strategy is trying to negotiate with the dealer on floor models or test drive units. Since these carts have some miles on them, you may find more flexibility on pricing compared to brand new in-the-box models.
As temperatures cool heading into autumn, consumer interest in golf begins to wane alongside the change of seasons. For this reason, fall is when you’ll typically begin to see more tempting price reductions offered for both new and used golf carts.
Dealers will be motivated to clear out inventory before the winter months arrive. September and October in particular can yield some solid discount opportunities. Veterans Day sales in November are also worth perusing for golf cart deals.
Black Friday through the Holidays
Without a doubt, the peak season for golf cart promotions and sales runs from Black Friday through the December holidays. This matches the timeframe when most other consumer goods see the steepest discounts of the year.
From limited-time percentage-off promotions to manufacturer rebates to year-end clearance sales, this six week period provides multiple avenues to achieve major savings on both new and used golf carts.
Dealers may even be willing to negotiate pricing outside of structured sales given general slower foot traffic coming in during the winter months.
To recap, here is an overview of general golf cart pricing fluctuations by season:
- Spring: Higher pricing along with some last year model closeouts
- Summer: Steady pricing with possible deals on floor models
- Fall: Values start to drop with more tempting discounts
- Winter: Best opportunity for major savings through holiday sales
Additional Savings Opportunities
Beyond timing your golf cart purchase to align with lower seasonal pricing, there are a few other savings opportunities to be on the lookout for.
From time to time, golf cart manufacturers like Club Car and E-Z-Go offer additional rebates that can net you significant extra savings on top of any negotiated deals.
Typically these rebates range from $200 up to $1,000 or more. The catch is that they often require financing with the manufacturer’s credit program. Crunching the numbers is key, but the additional incentive can make for captivating overall savings.
Individual golf cart dealerships may also periodically run percentage-off promotions to drive customer traffic and sales. Signing up for email alerts from dealers in your area is an easy way to learn about these events in real time.
Similarly, you can monitor local newspaper ads around major holidays for such sales. Expect to encounter 10-30% off MSRP or even steeper at certain times of the year.
Private Party Deals
Purchasing a used golf cart from the private party market (as opposed to a dealer) opens the possibility for even greater discounts. However, you’ll trade the peace of mind of a dealer warranty for the savings.
Still, if finding a well cared for used cart with verifiable history from the original owners, you can uncover phenomenal over 50% discounts versus new. More on used cart considerations further below.
If you currently already own a golf cart, that existing equity can be quite substantial. Most dealers will offer attractive trade-in value to apply towards your next new cart purchase. Even older carts often still hold 30-60% residual value to sweeten your overall savings on an upgrade purchase.
Comparing New vs. Used Golf Carts
A vitally important cost savings question when shopping for a golf cart is whether to consider new or used models. There are several key factors to weigh when making this decision:
Upfront Price – As highlighted above, used golf carts can offer dramatic upfront price discounts, with savings of 50% or even steeper over a new model not being unheard of. Even just a several year old cart can potentially yield 30%+ savings for a still relatively modern machine.
Warranty Coverage – The lack of factory warranty protection is certainly the biggest risk when buying used. Out of warranty repair bills for golf carts can quickly run $1,000+, especially if the batteries or motor need replacement. Still, some late model used carts may carry partial warranty based on age to help mitigate this risk.
Latest Features – Breakthrough advancements in golf cart performance, safety, connectivity, comfort and other attributes arrive each model year from the major manufacturers. If having cutting edge characteristics is important, used carts inevitably involve tradeoffs on capabilities versus new generation releases.
Condition Variability – When considering used golf carts, verifying detailed history on operating hours, storage conditions, accident history and maintenance records is vital. Still, there is inherently more risk that worn components or hidden issues exist. Careful inspection along with test driving is a must.
To summarize, used carts represent by far the cheapest way to enter into golf cart ownership. However, reduced pricing comes with heightened risk over new models. Assessing your budget flexibility along with risk tolerance are keys to deciding which direction promises the smarter value.
Later in this guide, we will walk through very specific used cart buying best practices to help mitigate downside risk if pursuing the used market for maximum cost savings. First, we will explore tips for researching and negotiating the new golf cart buying process…
How to Research and Negotiate New Golf Cart Purchases
Even when buying new, significant price negotiation latitude exists within the world of golf carts that savvy shoppers can leverage. Let’s explore insider techniques buyers can deploy both in advance research as well as negotiating with dealers to maximize savings:
Gather Online Pricing Intel
In today’s digital age, the internet provides crucial real time insight into going market rates for golf cart models.
Assessing advertised pricing from dealers located both locally as well as nationally will give you a very accurate read on prevailing street pricing and overall value trends.
This insight better informs negotiations regardless of whether you wind up buying locally or organizing shipping from afar.
MSRP vs. Real World Pricing
Like automobiles, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price amount listed on the cart window sticker is almost never what savvy shoppers actually wind up paying.
Depending on the brand, time of year, and current dealer promotions – actual selling prices typically run 15-35% below full list MSRP from the manufacturer. Understanding true market retail values based on real world sales data is pivotal.
Leverage Multiple Dealers
Golf cart sales are much like car sales in that different dealers frequently advertise varying prices for the very same cart models. Rarely will you see pricing uniformly standardized across retailers.
Additionally, dealers have flexibility built into their margins to negotiate pricing to win business. Obtaining written quotes from at least three dealers produces critical information to identify good deals along with negotiation power.
Master Negotiation Tactics
When sitting down to negotiate your best possible golf cart price, several proven bargaining tactics exist to help buyers maximize savings:
- Come armed with competitor pricing quotes in-hand to reference more attractive deals. Dealers hate losing sales and will often scramble to match or beat competitive offers.
- Float the possibility of purchasing multiple carts to negotiate deeper volume savings. Multi-cart packages present dealers more total profit opportunity to work attractive discounts.
- Offer to provide a positive online dealer review or local testimonial to help market the dealership in exchange for meeting your desired sales price. Most dealers today aggressively manage their internet reputations and highly value earning customer endorsements.
- Propose removing certain accessories or options from the cart that are less essential to simplify the purchase and reach more agreeable pricing. Dealers can still hit sales targets on a stripped down unit.
Applying even a couple of these bargaining tactics in combination with smart market research and timing should readily yield 10-15%+ discounts below baseline asking quotes. Perseverant buyers willing to invest negotiation energy can push savings closer to 20-25% much of the year.
Buying Used Golf Carts
Switching focus to acquiring a previously owned golf cart, tremendous value exists within the used market given rapid year-over-year depreciation after these vehicles leave dealer lots.
However, buyers must exercise caution by following careful inspection and history verification guidelines to avoid inheriting someone else’s mechanical problems or excessive wear and tear damage.
When scanning classified ads or dealer used inventories, ideal candidate carts to target will be late model machines no more than 5 years from original manufacturing date. Key items to screen for include:
Hours of Use – Analogous to mileage on a car, total hours of operation help determine useful life remaining on a golf cart. Typical carts see 100-300 annual operating hours. Look for units showing under 500 total hours to suggest plenty of utility remains. Be skeptical of anything over 1,000 hours.
Battery Age – Golf cart batteries represent one of the most expensive service items, with replacement cost often $1,000-1,500. Quality deep cycle batteries last 300-400 full charge cycles when properly maintained. Get written documentation showing the age of current batteries to estimate time until replacement will be needed.
Storage Conditions – Gently used golf carts will have been stored indoors rather than outdoors exposed to the elements year-round. Rain, humidity and temperature extremes accelerate wear. Favor units with indoor storage history.
Accident History – Just as with vehicles, golf carts that have incurred accident or crash damage often result in chronic problems down the line. Steer clear of carts with any reported accidents unless they have been repaired by qualified technicians with full documentation.
Maintenance Records – Meticulous owners will retain copies of all repair and maintenance invoices performed on their golf carts over time. These records allow prospective buyers to deeply understand the mechanical history and verify diligent upkeep and servicing habits. Strong maintenance history substantially mitigates risk on used purchases.
Test Drive – There simply is no substitute for taking any golf cart out on a thorough test drive inspection before committing to buy. Listen for odd noises or hesitations from the motor. Check that steering alignment drives straight and brakes operate smoothly without pulling to one side. Ensure forward/reverse shifting engages cleanly throughout speed ranges. Verifying satisfying performance first-hand is essential.
Given the major cost savings opportunity used golf carts present, buyers willing to educate themselves and follow prudent inspection measures can save huge over new cart costs. When shopping private party listings instead of at dealers, even greater discounts await buyers that do their homework.
Golf Cart Financing
Very few golf cart buyers elect to pay 100% upfront cash for what amounts to a luxury recreational purchase. Financing rates and terms for golf cart loans have become quite attractive over recent years.
Installment financing brings the benefit of spreading payments out over time to align with budget realities. We’ll break down the best financing strategies…
Manufacturer Financing Offers
These plans often dangle 0% APR promotional financing for the first 12-24 months of repayment terms – an excellent deal compared to ordinary interest rates.
Consumers with good credit can benefit dramatically from leveraging such incentives. The manufacturer earns loyalty and repeat business over time through financing most of the purchase.
Third Party Lending
Should you not qualify for preferential manufacturer financing programs, or simply wish to compare loan quotes, numerous nationwide lenders specialize specifically in funding golf cart loans.
Organizations like Red Ridge Finance partner with dealers to streamline applications and approvals for installment financing up to $50,000. Rates from third party specialty lenders generally run quite comparable to ordinary vehicle loans in the 5-9% APR vicinity for those with good credit.
Loan Term Thoughtfulness
Golf cart financing spans loan repayment terms as short as 12 months out to as long as 72 months (6 years). The temptation with any loan is stretching payments over very lengthy durations to create smaller monthly sums.
However with recreational vehicles, financing over more than 3-4 years raises the likelihood major mechanical expenses arise before you own the asset free and clear. Consider the happy medium of 24-36 month terms.
Buying at Year End
An additional benefit of purchasing a golf cart in the final months of the annual calendar year is doing so allows you to make the first 11-12 months of loan payments before needing to renew registration and taxes on the vehicle for the coming year. This effectively gives you one year of driving use before first annual fee outlays occur.
Following the above guidance around financing offers, options and structures allows buyers to secure the necessary funding to cover their golf cart acquisition in a quick, cost efficient manner with payments sized reasonably within household budgets constraints.
Top Golf Cart Models & Manufacturers to Consider
Now let’s explore which specific golf cart brands and models shoppers should zero in on when prioritizing a combination of quality, capabilities and potential value available.
Within the golf cart manufacturing arena, a handful of dominant players exist, notably:
- Club Car
- Polaris GEM
Let’s breakdown what distinguishes each maker along with highlighting certain model series which over-deliver features relative to pricing:
Yamaha Golf Carts
Known for superior drivability and ride quality derived from over 50 years of golf cart innovation, Yamaha carts are frequently considered the gold standard within the industry. Models like the Yamaha Drive2 QuieTech and Yamaha Drive2 Adventures lead the market in their classes:
Yamaha Drive2 QuieTech:
Lauded as the quietest golf cart ever built via patented transmission and reduction gearing along with an automotive-style muffler. Effects no disturbance to golfers on the course or wildlife when off-road. MSRP starting around $13,000.
Yamaha Drive2 Adventures: Constructed for rugged off-road use with high clearance, rugged tires and four-wheel independent suspension. The perfect cart for trail riding away from the fairways on expansive land holdings. Retails from $14,000 approximate.
Polaris GEM Model Lineup
Best recognized for all-electric powertrains and road-legal low speed status, Polaris GEM vehicles extend far beyond traditional golf applications:
Polaris GEM e4: Hauls four adult passengers in an electric cart capable of 25 MPH speeds and 70 mile range. Pricing starts close to $10,000 for a versatile, zero emissions workhorse.
Polaris e6: The e6 model with bench seating fits up to six occupants, making it prized by hotels, resorts, universities and other large organizations to transport groups. MSRP pegged from $13,000.
EZ-GO RXV & TXT Models
Enthusiastically embraced by golfers for their simplicity of operation and maintenance, EZ-GO remains industry leading in overall golf cart sales volume:
EZ-GO RXV: Available in both electric and gas versions, the RXV model strikes an unbeatable balance between capacity, comfort, handling and affordability with MSRP ranging $7,000-$10,000 across various trims.
EZ-GO TXT: Earning near legendary status for rock solid reliability through rugged steel frame and chassis construction, the TXT can thrive over 30+ years of hard use. Expect pricing from $6,000 for the peace of mind of EZ-GO’s legacy.
Club Car Onward & Precedent Models
Emphasizing superior driving dynamics reflective of parent company Ingersoll Rand’s roots in heavy machinery, Club Car golf vehicles impress with unrivaled stability and safety:
Club Car Onward: Brand new for model year 2022, the Onward advances ride quality with SUV-like clearance, refined suspension and plush seating for all weather endurance. Starts around $13,500 MSRP.
Club Car Precedent: Available in both gas and electric formats, the Precedent offers corner hugging performance plus expansive seating configurations to carry 2,4 or 6 golfers in comfort. List prices run from $6,500 to $10,000+ spanning trims.
This market overview highlights the unique strengths of major golf cart producers, allowing buyers to align with the distinct capabilities prioritized for planned applications. While pricing runs the full gamut on both new and used machines, following the insightful tips within this guide empowers consumers to shop smart and maximize savings potential.
Things To Consider Before Buying
When buying a golf cart, it’s crucial to consider several factors to assure you get the best value for your money. Here’s a helpful guide outlining these considerations:
- New vs. Used: Decide whether you need a brand new cart or if a used one will suffice. New carts will come with warranties and be in top-notch condition but can be pricey. Pre-owned models are budget-friendly but may require maintenance.
- Type of Golf Cart: There are two main types: electric and gas-powered.
– Electric carts are quieter, more environmentally friendly, and cheaper to maintain yet have a limited range before recharging.
– Gas golf carts offer longer range, power and can run as long as fuel supply is there, but they’re less eco-friendly due to emissions.
- Size and Seating Capacity: This varies from two-seaters for personal use to large models that can accommodate 4-6+ passengers for commercial use or big families.
- Brand Reputation: Some reliable brands include Club Car, E-Z-GO, and Yamaha due to their build quality, reliability and sleek designs. Always invest in reputable brands.
- Features & Add-ons: These include windshields, headlights/taillights for nighttime drives, enclosures for weather protection or stylish seat covers etc., depending on what suits your needs best.
- Test Drive : Before purchasing any cart (new/used), always test-drive it ensuring drivability & comfort level as per your requirement.
- Budget: Factor in costs beyond the initial purchase price like regular maintenance fees (more in case of gas powered), insurance costs etc.
- State Laws: Each state has different laws regarding golf cart usage on roads/public spaces outside golf courses; ensure compliance with yours.
Making an informed decision on purchasing a golf cart boils down to careful consideration on each of these points aligned with individual requirements. Happy hunting!
When seeking the best time to buy a golf cart to minimize expenditure, adhering to the seasonal sales trends, negotiating strategies and model guidance detailed throughout this guide sets the stage for exciting cost savings off full retail pricing. Avoid spring and summer when demand sees values peak.
Instead watch for manufacturer promotions during fall leading into heavy holiday sales from Black Friday through December when the deepest discounts unfold. Consider used carts to slash upfront dollars spent, but only after careful inspection to avoid mechanical gremlins or accelerated wear issues.
With market pricing intelligence now in your hands, shop the golf cart arena wisely. Let the savings on your next ideal recreational vehicle purchase unfold!