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Know Before You Go - 7 Golf Cart Operation Rules, Restrictions Tourists Need To Know

Erin Bailey Law - 7 Golf Cart Operation Rules, Restrictions Tourists Need To Know

Every year, thousands of people come to South Carolina to vacation on our beautiful beaches. People often rent golf carts, trailer them in, or have a golf cart included with their vacation rental.

With that said, nothing will damper a vacation day quite like being dinged for a golf cart violation. Violations of the golf cart laws in South Carolina carry hefty penalties: a fine of up to $100 or 30 days in jail. Most importantly, paying a golf cart ticket will give you a misdemeanor on your criminal record that will show up on a background check. 


Law enforcement do heavily enforce all golf cart regulations in South Carolina, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. Here are seven South Carolina rules about golf cart operation that tourists need to know:

  1. Golf Carts must be permitted and insured if they are operated on roads. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will issue a golf cart permit for $5 and it's good for 5 years.

  2. Golf carts must be driven by a licensed driver who is at least 16 years old. 

  3. Golf carts may only be driven on roads that have a speed limit of 35 miles an hour or less; though they may cross roads with a higher speed limit.

  4. Golf carts can only be driven during the daylight hours, even if they have headlights.

  5. You CAN receive a Driving Under the Influence charge for operating a golf cart while intoxicated.

  6. Golf carts can only be driven within a 4 mile radius of their registered address.

  7. Any person operating a golf cart must have in their possession:

    1. The registration certificate issued by the DMV

    2. Proof of Liability Insurance on the golf cart

    3. Their driver’s license

    4. A valid golf cart permit


Check with the Homeowners Association (HOA) that governs your beach rental as well as the city or town that your rental is located in about any additional restrictions on golf cart operations.

For example, some cities, towns, and counties may pass ordinances that allow for nighttime golf cart driving in designated areas or have more stringent rules for golf cart usage. 

And, many HOAs have bans, restrictions, or additional permitting requirements for golf carts in their communities.

A little homework and due diligence before your South Carolina vacation can go a long way in avoiding the inconvenience of and headaches associated with a golf cart violation.


Learn more about our practice areas and criminal defense lawyers, or get in touch with the Erin Bailey Law team today.

This post is offered for general information only and is not legal advice. Our lawyers must make a case-by-case assessment of any claims. Results may vary depending on the facts involving any case.

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