The use of golf carts (i.e. ride-on motorised vehicles) during a competition is permitted unless their use is specifically prohibited in the conditions of the competition. If the Committee wishes to introduce a condition prohibiting the use of golf carts, the wording contained in Appendix I, Part C of the Rules of Golf is recommended.
It should be noted that such a condition would not prohibit a member of the Committee authorising a player to use a cart when such use may assist with the pace of play, for example, in returning a player to where a previous stroke was made so that he can put another ball into play.
It is a policy of The R&A to encourage golfers with physical difficulties to play the game if at all possible, and the use of a cart can greatly assist many. It is important that the Committee considers the issues surrounding the use of carts, any relevant disability legislation, and any other legal issues. If a Committee decides that the use of golf carts in competition play is to be prohibited, and this is to the detriment of a disabled person, the Committee may be required to justify that it has good reason for making such a decision. Such justification might include health and safety considerations, weather and ground conditions, or where the layout of the course dictates that the use of carts is impracticable.
If the Committee does permit the use of golf carts, they may wish to consider putting restrictions on their use, for example, that golf carts would only be permitted for competitors with medical certificates or for competitors over a certain age that would otherwise be unable to participate due to physical limitations as a result of their age.
This is a matter for the Committee in charge of the competition to decide and to be separately advised as to their legal position. Furthermore, if a Committee permits the use of golf carts, it would be sensible to ensure that appropriate insurance cover is in operation in the event of personal injury or death occurring as a result of an accident on the course.
The Committee may authorise a player to use a cart, for example, when returning to put another ball into play.