How Old Do You Need to Be to Drive a Golf Cart in the US?

How Old Do You Need to Be to Drive a Golf Cart in the US?

Golf carts are a convenient way to get around golf courses, resorts, retirement communities and more. But do you need to be a certain age to drive a golf cart? Can you drive one on public roads? The laws vary widely across the 50 states. Read on to learn all about the legal age and requirements to drive a golf cart where you live.

Driving a golf cart can be a fun and easy way to get around, especially for kids and teens. However, most states have laws restricting the minimum age and where you can legally operate a golf cart. This article will walk through the golf cart driving age, license requirements, and usage laws in different states across America.

The most common minimum age to drive a golf cart is 14 or 16 years old. However, it varies significantly depending on the state and situation.

How Old Do You Need to Be to Drive a Golf Cart on Private Property?

On private property like a golf course, resort or gated community, the legal golf cart driving age is often lower. Many states allow unlicensed drivers as young as 12 or 14 to drive a golf cart on private land with permission.

Driving a golf cart on public roads has much stricter age requirements. Most states require a valid driver’s license, which means being at least 16 years old in most states. Some states require you to be 18+ years old to drive a golf cart on public roads.

Does Driving a Golf Cart Require a License in Your State?

In most states, you need a valid driver’s license to operate a golf cart on public roads. However, around 15 states allow driving golf carts on certain public roads without a license. The minimum age is often 14 or 16 years old in these states.

So in summary, the typical legal golf cart driving ages are:

  • Private property: As young as 12-14 years old
  • Public roads: 16+ years old with a driver’s license

But again, confirm your state’s specific golf cart driving age and license requirements before getting behind the wheel.

Driving Golf Carts on Public Roads by State

How Old Do You Need to Be to Drive a Golf Cart in the US?

Golf cart rules for public roads vary widely across the 50 states. Here’s a breakdown of some states’ laws regarding driving golf carts on public streets:


Florida allows golf carts to be driven on certain public roads with a few restrictions:

  • Drivers must be at least 14 years old with a valid driver’s license
  • Carts must be equipped with headlights, turn signals, mirrors, etc.
  • Carts can only be driven on roads with speed limits of 30 mph or less

Many retirement communities in Florida allow residents to drive golf carts for transportation and errands.

South Carolina

South Carolina permits golf carts on secondary highways and streets with speed limits up to 35 mph. Drivers must be licensed and golf carts have to be insured and registered. Cities and counties may implement additional local golf cart ordinances.


Arizona state law allows towns to develop golf cart-friendly communities. As a result, many Arizona retirement communities permit golf carts on public roads under certain conditions. For example, drivers may need to be licensed and golf carts have to be inspected and registered.


Texas recently passed a new state law in 2021 allowing street-legal golf carts on certain public roads with speed limits up to 35 mph. Golf carts must be registered and equipped with basic safety features to drive on public streets. Local regulations may impose additional golf cart rules.


California has very limited permissions for golf carts on public roads. Only a few specialized retirement communities, like Pebble Beach, allow registered golf carts on public streets under 25 mph. Driver’s license requirements also apply.

So in summary, permissions vary greatly by state. Many states allow golf carts on public roads under 25-35 mph if registered/insured and driven by a licensed driver. But some states prohibit golf carts on public roads entirely. Check your local laws!

Golf Cart Regulations by State: Minimum Driving Age and License Requirements

Since golf cart laws differ so much across states, here is a table summarizing the minimum age and license requirements in each state:

StateMinimum Age on Private PropertyMinimum Age on Public RoadsDriver’s License Required?
Arizona1416Varies by city
ArkansasNo state minimum18Yes
GeorgiaNo state minimum18Yes
HawaiiNo state minimum16Yes
IdahoNo state minimum16Yes
KentuckyNo state minimum16Yes
MinnesotaNo state minimum16Yes
MissouriNo state minimum18No
NebraskaNo state minimum16Yes
New Hampshire1516Yes
New JerseyNo state minimum16Yes
New Mexico1516Yes
New York1016Yes
North Carolina1316No
North Dakota1414No
OklahomaNo state minimum16Yes
OregonNo state minimum16Yes
Rhode Island1416Yes
South Carolina1416Yes
South Dakota1216Yes
West Virginia1516Yes

This table summarizes the general statewide laws regarding golf cart driving age limits and license requirements. However, be sure to check local city/county ordinances, as they may impose additional golf cart rules and restrictions beyond state laws.

Key Takeaways: Driving a Golf Cart Legally

Here are some key tips to safely and legally operate a golf cart:

  • Confirm your state’s minimum golf cart driving age and license requirements
  • Never drive a golf cart on public roads unless expressly permitted in your state and locality
  • If driving on public roads, make sure your golf cart is registered/insured as required
  • Equip your golf cart with required safety features like headlights, turn signals, seat belts, etc.
  • Follow all golf cart regulations set by your local city/county
  • Drive slowly and defensively, obeying all traffic laws
  • Supervise young golf cart drivers and prohibit unsafe behaviors
  • Use common sense – don’t drink and drive a golf cart!

The Bottom Line on Golf Cart Regulations

In summary, most states require drivers to be at least 14-16 years old to operate a golf cart, depending on whether it’s on private property or public roads. Driving a golf cart on public roads usually requires a valid driver’s license. However, the regulations vary significantly across states and local jurisdictions. So be sure to check your state and local golf cart laws before getting behind the wheel! Drive safely and responsibly!

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