The golf carts players have grown accustomed to are generic, utilitarian vehicles. The design has gone seemingly unchanged, since the Scotts started swinging clubs in the fields of the Kingdom of Fief. And while the game may pre-date the combustion engine, a generic plastic shell wrapped around a clunky, under-powered motor with a card table roof feels as old as the links themselves. Last week Mercedes-Benz unveiled its update on the golf cart at the Open Championship: the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car.
More car than cart, this is an on-course whip featuring a double-wish-bone suspension for radically improved handling, disc brakes, as well as a Lithium-Ion battery with an 80-km range and a restricted top speed of 30 kph.
Even at the most prestigious clubs, there is nothing special about the carts they rent you, no matter the brand. For a fee of between $20–$50 per round, roughly what you would pay for a day in a nice rental car, it seems like golfers should be able to get more for their money. Mercedes-Benz detected a void in the luxury market and saw an opportunity. “[Mercedes-Benz] is a brand that really defines modern luxury, not only about cars but the entire world of modern luxury,” says Gorden Wagener, head of design at Daimler AG, adding golf carts are typically spartan and generic and in need of an update and enhanced amenities.
The automaker partnered with Garia, a Danish firm specializing in high-end carts, which developed the car’s platform. But the style and design are all Mercedes-Benz. “This is an integrated design,” Wagener says. “The cool thing is the exterior and the interior go together.” The car boasts sporty five-spoke wheels, comfortable lounge-style seating, a hands-free system with Bluetooth connection, and hi-fi speakers. A 10-inch digital touchscreen controls the car’s functions, and eventually that display will pair with smartphones so you can run all your favorite apps.
Mercedes-Benz also rethought the way golf bags are loaded onto the cart. Instead of sitting perpendicular to the ground, the bags are positioned at a 30-degree angle for easy access. This makes it easier to see all your clubs. It’s not yet for sale and the price is still TBD, but Wagener estimates we will see the cart in the States in a few months.