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Strange things can happen in a golf cart

There's talk about putting seat belts in golf carts.

It's a sensible idea but good luck with that. If people are so lazy, so careless or so dumb they won't use seat belts in a car, what makes you think they'll use them in a golf cart? It's a known fact that a person's IQ drops 50 points when they put on golf shoes.

The concern about cart safety is focused more on street driving in places like retirement villages. In Sun City Hilton Head, in South Carolina, a woman died recently after falling out of the passenger's seat when the cart made a sharp left turn.But bad things can happen on the course, too.

Several years ago, in Bluffton, S.C., a golfer named Brad Iles fell from a moving cart and struck his head on pavement. He spent a week in critical care and a year in recovery.

By his own admission, Iles was standing on the back of the cart with a beer in one hand and a cigar in another."It was my fault," he said.

You think?

There was an incident in eastern North Carolina several years ago in which a golfer hit a poor shot and slammed his club into a post supporting the roof of his cart. The club broke and half of it snapped back, stabbed him in the heart and killed him.

I was playing at Grandfather Golf & Country Club one day after a rain had soaked the course. We rode over a rise in the fairway and saw skid marks. Someone had crested the hill too fast, hit the brakes and slid some 50 yards and plopped into a creek. Fortunately, there were no bodies down there.

The late Peter Tufts of the family that owned Pinehurst for many years was a delightful man to be around but he could throw a fiery temper fit on the golf course from time to time. Once, he pushed the accelerator to the floor and tried to ram his cart into a steep hill but the cart simply climbed it. It is said that Peter once beat his cart with his golf clubs until it looked like it had been in combat. And there was no alcohol involved.

It's usually the cart's fault when we play poorly, as we all know. It just sits there and lets us suffer.

Several years ago, the wife of one of the players in the North & South Amateur in Pinehurst followed her husband's matches in a golf cart, which for her was dodgy.

She was prone to hit the bottle early and often, which explains how she wound up driving her cart into a sand bunker. Her husband probably wouldn't have minded leaving here there, at least until his match was over.

There's a story that may or may not be true, about a fellow who used to play one of the public courses here. He rarely made it around 18 holes without falling out of his cart at least once. But he never complained. "It's how I get my exercise," he said.

Best to heed the advice of Dean Martin, who would know. He said, "If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt."