Chris BaldwinThis Week at January 10, 2006

The pimping your ride
golf cart phenomenon

Everyone seems to know somebody who's spent more money on their golf cart than their car.

You see these guys - and let's face it, they're always guys - leaning back against their fluorescent orange and magenta blue striped carts in the country club parking lot, showing off their state-of-the-art sound system to anyone who feigns the slightest interest. And often anyone who just happens by. And sometimes anyone within three miles.

I want to be down. Truly, I do. But something's eluding me.

I don't know - maybe the common sense of it all!

This is a tough admission to make. What red-blooded American male doesn't like to spend good money on worthless gadgets?

The self-running robot crumb scooper-up whirling across the carpet at your local Sharper Image that nobody buys? Looks like the greatest invention since John Madden Football to me. The spinning sweet spot ball finder National Golf Editor Tim McDonald mocked in his worst golf Christmas gifts piece? I've recently started using one and have even more recently become convinced it's revolutionized my game.

If it was invented by someone who considers that Ask Lesko infomercial man his guru, chances are I own it.

But golf carts straight from MTV's Pimp My Ride? Sorry, in the immortal words of Oprah Winfrey's latest one-trick, self-help pony, "He's just not that into you."

For one thing, it's a golf cart, one of the banes of the modern game. If you need one, by all means use one. Anything that helps more people play, the better.

But Depends help some people stay in the game too and you don't see anyone slapping fancy colored decals on their adult diapers. At least, you hope you don't.

Golf carts are a necessary nuisance. They should be treated as such. You know, like the awards for all those Oscar categories nobody cares about. Carts are the Best Animated Short Using a Raccoon from Iceland of the golf world.

It used to provide solace to see the guys in the tricked out carts straight from Q's laboratory. They were always gray haired and colorfully panted. You always got the idea it was either plant a funny vanity license plate on the cart or take up crocheting afghans.

Now, that belief's been shaken.

On a Palm Springs trip, I encountered a great golfer with a supped up cart. He wasn't much older than me. He had a beautiful wife. There are enough animal heads in his house to compete with St. George, Utah's top museum, but I'm no William K. Wolfrum (hunting's fine with me).

In other words, there were no noticeable signs this guy was a loon.

As he turned up the tunes on no. 18, I still couldn't help but cringe.

What's wrong with me? Help me get with it.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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