Golf cart registrations in Horry County jumped in 2021

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The number of golf carts registered in Horry County jumped 35.9% from 2020 to 2021, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

Those numbers have steadily increased since 2019, from 5,044 in 2019 to 5,414 in 2020 and 7,359 in 2021, creating a total of 17,817 registrations over three years, according to information obtained by News13 via a request. of the Freedom of Information Act.

Statewide, there were 21,424 registered golf carts in 2021 and 55,705 registered from 2019 to 2021.

And when it comes to registrations, no other county comes close. Over a three-year period, Horry County had three times as many golf cart registrations as second-ranked Charleston County.

Nathan Frye, owner of Salty Frye Golf Carts in North Myrtle Beach, said the increase in golf cart sales echoed the region’s growing population.

It had a shortage of inventory throughout the summer and fall due to demand and supply chain issues. Although this has slowed down during the colder months, the more popular models are more difficult to obtain.

“I’m still not able to get as many as I can sell,” Frye said.

Rentals sell out almost weekly. Growth in rentals only comes when he expands his inventory, and he’s already seeing an uptick in bookings for this summer. The majority of tourists book their golf carts three to six months in advance, but some start renting them up to a year and a half before their vacation.

Being at the beach, in the open air, is a special experience, he says, even if it’s a trip to the grocery store.

“It’s a different feeling to jump in a golf cart and be able to do the same thing,” Frye said.

But while golf carts make cruising to the beach easier (with the added benefit of keeping sand off car mats), they can also cause hazards and headaches on the busy streets of Grand Strand.

Last year, the city of Myrtle Beach banned golf carts on Ocean Boulevard over Memorial Day weekend in an effort to eliminate problems on the busy street before they arise, according to Mark Kruea, city ​​director of public information.

Plans for this year are still ongoing, and other weekends may see changes.

“I anticipate that we may restrict golf carts on Ocean Boulevard this weekend,” Kruea said.

The problem, he said, is when drivers don’t obey the law.

In South Carolina, a person must have a driver’s license to drive a golf cart. Carts must obey the same traffic rules as other vehicles.

Golf carts can only be driven on side streets where the speed limit is 35mph or less – meaning they are not permitted on Kings Highway – and they cannot be driven above four miles from their registered address, on sidewalks or multi-use trails. Golf carts cannot be driven after dark.

Myrtle Beach issued a reminder before Memorial Day last year about the requirements, and Kruea said the city is also making them widely known.

“The problem last year was that the people driving the golf carts weren’t obeying state law,” he said. “They violated the law to such an extent that it was difficult to keep up with the number of people who violated state law.”

While different jurisdictions have different approaches to enforcement, Kruea said Myrtle Beach police will write tickets to golf cart drivers who break the law. It’s even more crucial that drivers be aware, he said, because many are jumping on golf carts to visit the beach.

“We probably have more reason to follow the absolute letter of the law than maybe other places in the state,” he said.

While the South Carolina Department of Public Safety does not specifically track golf cart accidents, golf carts are included in the “other” vehicle category.

In 2018, there were 86 such collisions in Horry County. That figure fell to 68 in 2020 before climbing to 107 last year, according to preliminary data obtained by News13.

In 2021, accidents injured 66 people and killed one. Sixty-one of the accidents damaged property.

Grand Strand golf cart accidents included an accident in December which injured two people when a golf cart overturned, an accident in May which injured one person when his golf cart entered a ditch late in the night and an accident in August that injured two people after the cart overturned. Another crash in August sent one person to hospital after the cart overturned near Conway.

An accident in September blocked the roads of Garden City.

Kruea is urging golf cart drivers to travel more carefully, as the vehicles are not equipped with airbags, seat belts or a steel frame to protect themselves.

“I’m honestly surprised that there aren’t more golf cart-vehicle collisions or golf cart-pedestrian collisions than there are considering the number of people driving golf carts in the city ​​streets,” he said.

Salty Frye’s Golf Carts has state and local laws written into the rental agreement, and Frye said the company also reviews them face-to-face with the customer. Drivers will also receive an overview of the truck’s features.

He’s seen more people buy low-speed vehicles, which look like a golf cart but with added safety features like seat belts and headlights.

With more residents set to move to Horry County, he said it’s important to remember the rules of the road.

“I think with the continued growth in the area, it’s really important for people to focus on safety with their golf carts,” Frye said.

Use the database below to search golf cart records by county.