A golf cart probably isn’t the first vehicle you think to use for towing. After all, they don’t have the size and weight of a standard pickup truck. But that doesn’t mean a golf cart should be underestimated. There are times where a golf cart is actually the best option for towing, especially when you are working in tight spaces or want to avoid heavy loads on a lawn.
So how much weight can a golf cart pull?
The average golf cart can pull anywhere from a few hundred up to a 1000 lbs.
This number can increase depending on the make, model and engine of the golf cart. Gas golf carts can often have a higher towing capacity than their electric counterparts. More on that later.
If you have a small trailer that needs to be towed, a golf cart can usually get the job done. I used my old 1987 Club Car to tow a lawn sweeper. When that sweeper filled up with wet leaves and pine needles, it weighed a few hundred pounds easily. I didn’t want the vehicle weight of my truck (or an ATV/UTV with rugged tires on my yard). A golf cart was the best solution.
My point? Electric golf carts are perfect for lawn maintenance tasks and small-scale towing, but gas carts work better as a tow vehicle.
Understanding Golf Cart Towing Capacity
There are several factors that influence a golf cart’s towing capacity.
Factor #1 – The Engine
The engine style is a primary factor in payload capacity. A golf cart with a gas engine is generally more powerful and better at pulling heavier weights.
- Horsepower for Electric Carts = 3 to 10hp (depending on 36v or 48v setup)
- Horsepower for Gas Carts = 10 to 13hp (sometimes more)
Barring any significant modifications, gas golf carts almost always feature the more powerful engines, allowing them to tow significantly more than electric golf carts.
However, an electric golf car can still tow more than you think. I mean, a few hundred pounds is no small feat!
Factor #2 – The Weight of the Cart
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the golf cart itself also affects how much the cart can pull. A heavier golf cart is more likely to withstand the strain required to tow a heavy item.
This isn’t the sole indicator of how much a golf cart can tow, but knowing the weight of a golf car does help when determining if your cart is up to the task. If the trailer weight drastically exceeds the cart weight, you won’t be able to get very far with your precious cargo.
Example: The Yamaha UMAX One weighs 961 lbs. It has a towing capacity of 800 lbs.
Factor #3 – The Age and Condition of the Cart
An older golf cart may be less than ideal for towing. Modern golf carts are designed for several different uses, and many of them feature a ball mount or universal trailer hitch when they ship from the factory. Manufacturers now plan for trailer towing capabilities (not just carrying passengers on a golf course).
Older golf carts, however, don’t always have the same type of versatility. Engine strength and golf cart batteries lose strength over time.
Obviously an old Carryall still has some power, but you should test a golf cart trailer carefully before pushing an old Club Car or EZGO to the edge.
The Best Way to Calculate Golf Cart Towing Capacity
Contact the manufacturer or consult your owners manual. This is the best way to get accurate information. These two resources can help you find the:
- Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
- Ground clearance
- Tire setup
- Towing capacity
If you’re considering utility trailers, you may need to familiarize yourself with tongue weight, trailer brakes and other important details.
Again, talk to a professional if you’re unsure, as trying to tow too much weight can break your golf cart. It’s important not to put too much strain on the vehicle, or you can risk a serious accident.
When trying to decide if your cart is suitable, don’t just focus on the engine or weight of the cart. Consider the age of the golf cart, the quality of the build and the manufacturer’s specifications.
In some cases, the average golf cart may not be the perfect towing solution.
The good news is that there are utility vehicles designed for rugged terrain and heavy loads. These glorified golf carts are a step up from the standard course cruiser. Think stronger engines and tougher components.
Specially equipped to handle heavy weights and rough terrain, these golf cart upgrades are less common and more expensive. However, they can pull much heavier loads.
Can you put a hitch on a golf cart?
Even if your golf cart is good for towing, it’s no use without the right hitch. A tow-bar or hitch can be mounted to the back of the golf cart to make it suitable for use as a tow vehicle.
There is quite a range of aftermarket hitches available for golf carts. These will normally attach to the bumper. Some are universal, and can be fixed to any style golf cart, regardless of age.
Universal hitches aren’t hugely expensive, making it relatively easy to convert your EZGO or Yamaha golf cart into a legit towing option.
When buying a hitch, make sure it’s right for both the golf cart and what you intend to tow. The wrong hitch can be surprisingly dangerous, as it won’t carry the weight evenly and may not be able to handle the load.
Can a golf cart pull a boat or jet ski?
A golf cart can potentially pull a small boat or a jet ski. Towing capacity depends on both the weight and power of the golf cart, as well as the weight of the item being towed.
Many people choose to use their golf cart as a towing machine because of its ease-of-use. Golf carts are small, easy to drive, and easy to adapt for towing. You may see small and even medium-sized boats being towed behind a golf cart.
As a rule, a golf cart is capable of pulling a boat or jet ski that is roughly equal to the weight of the cart. However, some can pull significantly more. It’s important to remember that a jet ski will also have the added weight of a trailer. You should factor the trailer weight into your calculations.
If you plan on using a golf cart to pull a boat, first check the owners manual. This should provide you with a clear guide to your golf cart towing capacity.
Always use a good hitch, one that’s suitable for both the cart and the boat, and keeps a safe distance between the two.
Be sure to drive slowly and carefully, avoiding sharp turns. Avoid inclines and declines. While the golf cart does have power, it may struggle on steep hills to maintain that momentum.
The opposite occurs going down hill. The heavy weight of the boat combined with the lighter frame of the golf cart can make stopping difficult.
OEM brake setups may not be equipped for heavy loads, so plan accordingly.
We love golf carts. See some of our other golf cart posts.