Do You Need A License To Drive A Golf Cart: What You Must Know!

It’s not uncommon to see golf carts on public roads in certain states. A common question that is often asked is: do you need a license to drive a golf cart?

Which states require a driver’s permit in order to drive a golf cart

The following states require a drivers permit to operate a golf cart on public roads:

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Florida (Special permit)
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan Minnesota (Special permit)
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Do you need a license to drive a golf cart? It Depends

Certain states require the driver of a golf cart to be in possession of a legal drivers permit, while other states are less stringent.

Driving a golf cart on private property such as a golf course or hunting terrain does not require the driver to possess a valid driver’s license.

However, there are age restrictions that prevent children under a specific age from operating a golf cart. There are several laws, that vary by state, regulating how, when, and by whom a golf cart may be operated on public roads.

Some states do require the driver to hold a valid driver’s license when operating a golf cart on a public road.

Is a golf cart a motor vehicle

Under federal law, if a golf cart has been modified to travel at speeds exceeding 20 mph, then that golf cart is treated as a motor vehicle as per federal law.

Statute law defines a golf cart as:

  • A vehicle designed for recreational use on a golf course
  • For the purpose of transporting golf equipment
  • The golf cart may transport no more than two people at a time
  • Must not exceed a maximum speed of 20 mph
  • Must have a minimum of three wheels in contact with the ground while in operation
  • Must weigh no more than 1300 pounds when not occupied

This definition varies from state to state and variations include speed limits of 15 to 35 mph, a maximum weight of 1800 pounds, and a maximum of six occupants.

In addition, some states do not define what a golf cart is and it therefore falls under the general category of a motor vehicle.

Federal law requires that golf carts must have a light license plate, a speedometer, VIN number, horn, interior/ exterior mounted mirrors, working brake lights/turn signals/headlights, and US Department of Transport-approved tires/seatbelts/windshield wipers.

There are additional requirements that vary according to state, but generally, golf carts must travel at a minimum speed of 20 mph and a maximum speed of 25 mph.

The speed requirements are set so that golf carts are fast enough not to disrupt traffic and slow enough so that no additional strict safety requirements are needed.

Not all states define what a golf cart is and golf carts in these states fall under the category ‘low-speed vehicle’ or LSV in those states.

Some states such as Missouri, Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, Alabama, and Delaware prohibit driving a golf cart on public roads.

Golf carts may be driven on public roads in all other states, which have specific rules and regulations that vary from one state to the next.

In addition, if a golf cart is permitted on public roads, it will typically also require registration and liability insurance.

Keep in mind that these are not the only regulations!

There are federal, state, and local regulations for driving a golf cart on a public road.

It is best to find out the rules of the specific area that you live in.

What are the general regulations that dictate the use of a golf cart on public roads?

Regulations will often dictate how, when, and where the golf carts may be driven. Common restrictions may include:

Specific regulations

Regulations vary from state to state and may include age restrictions, speed limitations, as well as restrictions on where and when the golf cart may be operated.

Yes. In the state of New York, an individual will be arrested immediately if that individual operates a golf cart on roads, sidewalks, or in parking lots.

Certain states have a maximum speed limit of 35 mph including:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • North Carolina
  • Illinois
  • Nebraska
  • South Carolina

Other states stipulate a maximum speed limit of no more than 25 mph, including Virginia, Washington, New Jersey, and Connecticut, to mention a few.

Several states have a minimum age restriction for operating a golf cart on a public road, such as

  • Florida (14)
  • Michigan (16)
  • Pennsylvania (12).

In addition, certain states may require that the underage driver be accompanied by a licensed adult driver when operating a golf cart on a public road.

Certain states like New Hampshire require that the golf cart be licensed and insured before operating on a public road.

Certain states forbid using golf carts on public roads, while others permit it either with the use of a valid driver’s license, without the use of a valid driver’s license, or only when accompanied by a person in possession of a valid driver’s license, as is the case with underage drivers.

💡 Golfible Tip: Familiarize yourself with the stipulated laws and regulations regarding the use of a golf cart on public roads, in your state, town, and area.


Do you need a license to drive a golf cart around?

The need for a license to drive a golf cart depends on the location and local regulations. Some places require a valid driver’s license to drive on public roads, while others only require a learner’s permit or no license at all. It is important to check with the local laws to determine the specific requirements of that area.

Do you need a license to drive a golf buggy in the UK?

You do not need a license if you intend to use the buggy solely on private property or a golf course. However, to drive a golf buggy on public roads in the UK, a license is required as it’s considered a motor vehicle and must comply with the same legal requirements as other vehicles.

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Lawrence Smelser has been part of the Golfible writing staff since 2019 and is a freelance golf journalist. Smelser has covered the PGA Tour including the U.S. Masters with He holds a journalism Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and a Master’s journalism degree from the University of North Texas. Learn more about our team at Golfible on our About Us page.

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