The Golf Cart Challenge is a post about our golf cart that can go up hills—faster than you can walk.
The Golf Cart Challenge was inspired by something I learned while studying the human genome.
Scientists are often asked to explain the origin of something, like why people have six fingers instead of five or what causes the Great Pyramids to be so big. “Why?” means “where did this come from?” Scientists usually respond with technical terms like genes, chromosomes, mutation and so on. The questioner wonders why these things are needed for something as trivial as our hands.
So I decided to find out: what does a hand need to do that a gene wouldn’t do? I’m not an expert in genetics, but I’m not starting from scratch either, because my hands were useful enough that someone must have noticed how they work before genes could evolve.
A useful way to think about the golf cart is as an energy-saving device. That is, you could use the same amount of energy to move the cart around as you would to lift it and carry it. So you save your energy, and get the same workout in half the time.
The only problem with this approach is that you have to carry the golf cart at some point, and then store it. And so, even though it can go up hills faster than you can walk, you don’t generally want to take it up hills unless you are going somewhere where you’re already carrying it.
Our solution was to start carrying our cart up hills before we started moving it around on flat ground. Then we would lift it up into position—and then walk around carrying it until we were ready to put it away again. That way we use less energy and get more exercise.
The golf cart is our main mode of transportation. It’s great for getting us around the property and to the range, but it’s not ideal for long trips into town or across the country. We need a vehicle that can go farther, faster.
My wife and I are trying to get a speed record on the cart. We want to see if we can get up a hill in one piece (and be able to walk it down). We have been told that this is physically possible, but that no one has attempted it because the fastest golf carts on earth cannot do it.
I was reading a blog that is written by a golfer who is trying to get his golf cart through the bumpy, rutted and sandy roads in his neighborhood. He has a lot of problems with how difficult it is to overcome the hills, ditches, and gullies that are part of everyday life on the course. He has devised a set of rules for this challenge that he calls “The Golf Cart Challenge.”
I really like the idea. I especially like the fact that he will track this project on his blog and keep us informed about his progress. I like the fact that he will tell us what parts fit, what parts break, etc., so we can have some idea of what our experience might be. But mostly I just like the idea because it makes me smile. I like knowing that there are people out there who are willing to go out and solve problems that are often not worth solving at all.
We had a slow start in our golf cart. We drove it down a slope that was not steep enough to raise the back end of the cart and make it stable. Instead, it just spun around like a top and kept going until we were able to stop it by pushing on its front.
At the time this happened, I was teaching my daughter how to drive. She was three feet tall and had no experience whatsoever behind the wheel. And I didn’t have any experience either. So after we got her driving well enough to get her around the block, we decided to take our cart up a hill that would give us some practice at going fast.
The hill was steeper than she could handle yet, though. So she parked her cart on the hill’s peak and walked up with me holding her hand. We did this for two or three times before I asked her if she wanted to try again. Again, she put the cart on top of the hill and walked up with me holding her hand as I pressed down on the accelerator pedal.
This time when we reached the peak, I stopped pressing down on the pedal and let go of her hand (which she immediately grabbed again). She stood there motionless for about ten seconds before she realized that we were
The golf cart is a simple machine, but it’s not easy to build. It has to be strong enough to carry ten times the weight of its driver, yet light enough that he can lift it over curbs and through tight spots. A lot of clever people have tried to make one, without much success.
Our cart is different because we didn’t just borrow the design of an existing cart. We designed our own. We started with an empty truck trailer and added our own bodywork, wheels, and engine and suspension. And then we built our own chassis and suspension-frame-truss and axles and wheels, from scratch.
We’re not just selling a better cart – we’re selling a new kind of technology: building a custom vehicle from whole cloth.
I have a golf cart. I think it’s a cool thing to have. But I don’t know what I’m doing with it. Golf carts are not expensive like cars, and people often think of golf carts as toys or for use as props in movies. So when you buy a golf cart you usually get it without instructions on how to drive it.
That’s where my blog comes in: to help you understand the golf cart, so that when the time comes you can really drive the darn thing.