Industry News - September/October 2012

By Editor,

Representatives of the Indian River Colony Club Foundation and the Veteran’s Administration Clinic gathered in Viera, Florida for a short outdoor ceremony, as a four-seat refurbished golf cart was donated to the clinic.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Howard accepted the $3,000 cart on behalf of the clinic, thanking Indian River Colony Club General Manager John Robinson and IRCC Foundation chairman Major Gen. Huck Long, U.S. Army (Ret.)

The golf cart will be used to help transport patients to the VA Clinic from the far reaches of the facility parking lot.

Long said the intentions of the IRCC Foundation are clear.

“I can think of no better use for a golf cart than in helping our disabled veterans into the VA Clinic to receive the care they have earned,” he said. “It’s service to those who served.” According to Howard, the cart donation will help those who need it most.

With the growth of our local population, we are seeing increasingly complex cases,” Howard said. “Many of these patients need help navigating our large parking lot and will benefit from this generous donation by the IRCC Foundation.”

The Indian River Colony Club Foundation was launched in 1999 as a not-for-profit corporation in support of those who serve, or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces or participate in national defense.

They provide a scholarship program with tuition assistance and other charitable support to Indian River Colony Club staff members and residents, as well as the Town Square assisted living facility in Viera. Major General Huck Long, U.S. Army (Ret.) serves as Chairman of the IRCC Foundation Board.

What started out as a hobby for Darrell Harper has now turned into an amazing side job.

Harper and his son Jacob, own Southland Golf Carts. They have been in business since 2002 and are located on Logan Martin Dam Road, about two miles from U.S. 231, in the New London community. They have been at the present location for about two and a half years.

“Jacob and I just started working on them and customizing them as a hobby,” Harper said. “We started selling them. When we first started, we had three golf carts. Today, we have 150 golf carts. It’s a good business.” Harper said doing something like this never crossed his mind when he was a small boy growing up. “I have another full-time job as a salesman for M & R Piping Supply Company,” Harper said. “Jacob does a good job running this business.”

While these carts are called golf carts and are used on the golf course, Harper said golf carts today are used for so many other things. “Our customers use them for maintenance vehicles in industrial plants, contractors use them on job sites, and they are used around the lake or home,” Harper said. “Many people like to use them just to ride around their property. The baby boomers have been good for us.”. Harper said grandparents enjoy having golf carts for when the grandchildren come over, because it gives them something to ride around in the yard.

“We also do a lot of event rentals,” Harper said. “Events like weddings, and a lot of others. Big churches use golf carts to transport people to and from their vehicles if they had to park a long distance from the church building.” When asked what is the most unusual request to customize a golf cart, Harper said there have been some pretty wild requests.

“I know the ugliest,” he said. “It was split right down the middle, red on one side, and green on the other. They called it their Bobby LaBonte and Dale Earnhardt Jr. golf cart. It was pretty ugly.” Harper said they would take a cart that comes in off lease from a course and strip it all the way down to the frame.

“We will do a total refurbish on it,” Harper said. “We will customize it however somebody wants it built. We have two-seaters, four-seaters, six-seaters and eight-seaters. A lot of the churches use the eight-passenger golf carts.” One of the most unusual carts Harper has built is an eight-passenger for a man who owns a campground at the Talladega track. “He will use this golf cart to transport his campers to and from the racetrack,” Harper said.

“We also do a lot of hunting buggies. A lot of the hunters use golf carts to bring out a deer they have shot and killed that may be deep in the woods. We can do them two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, camo, gas or electric.”

Harper said the typical golf carts they build that need batteries are 48-volt carts, and have four or six-battery configurations. “An electric golf cart fully charged can last a full day,” Harper said. “They can charge it up overnight, and be ready to go the next day.” Harper said they carry a full line of parts and accessories. They do repairs, and pretty much can custom build whatever the customer wants. “We have Alabama and Auburn carts,” he said. “We do a fair amount of those.” The price range for carts purchased at Southland go from anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800 up to $10,000, depending on what you want and how you want it done. The two different type models of golf carts Harper has in stock are Club Car and Ez-go.

Business has been good for the Harpers, so much that expansion efforts are on the horizon.

“We have plans to build a new 7,500-square-foot shop and warehouse behind the current building and location,” Harper said. “This time of year is pretty slow, but business will pick up in the spring and summer months. We have been blessed over a period of years. It has worked real well for us, and it is a lot of hard work.” Harper has a total of four employees, plus himself.

Across Logan Martin Dam Road from Southland Golf Carts, about four blocks away and on the water, is Harper’s repair shop. Once he gets the new building up, everything will be at one location.

The inaugural United Way Charity Classic presented by Club Car, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, raised more than $73,000 for health and human service programs supported by United Way of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).

The event, which attracted 128 players including a number of Club Car suppliers, was held at the Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans. Funds from the tournament will go toward United Way’s 2012 fundraising campaign, which supports 42 health and human service programs in Augusta and the surrounding area.

“United Way would not be able to meet the growing needs of our community without the generous support of partners like Club Car,” said Rina Powell, United Way’s senior director of resource development. “The impact of an event like this on our community is tremendous.”

Club Car is a longtime supporter of United Way of the CSRA.

“Club Car is delighted to continue our support for United Way and the work it does to address the needs of local residents and organizations,” said Jason Goldberg, Club Car’s vice president of Aftermarket Parts and Services and the company’s United Way representative. “We also appreciate the participation of so many of our suppliers who helped make the first Charity Classic a success.”

For more information, visit or

K1 Products LLC is please to announce the introduction of our new body kit, the LXS Luxury Sedan to fit Club Car Precedent and Yamaha Drive carts.

Our new Luxury Sedan offers a unique look, which combines a new stylish front grill with large front storage under the hood that can also serve as a cooler. Our new state of the art headlight combines a unique head light with separate turn signal all surrounded by LED white lights.

This kit also includes a custom designed luxury dash that has the look of elegance. A custom luxury bench seat with armrest is also part of the kit along with matching carpeting.

The rear of the body features stylish LED rear brake lights and turn signals. There is a removable rear seat and a quick release golf bag holder. The rear gate folds down to serve as a footrest for passengers. Built to be durable, this kit is built of high quality fiberglass, which is ready to be painted and mounted.

Our new LXS body kit will offer cart dealers a new high quality Luxury look that they can be proud to offer to there customers.

Interested dealers can submit orders now for kits to be delivered in September and October. For more information please visit

“Golf Car Fleet Maintenance: Protecting Your Investment,” a webinar hosted by Club Car to communicate best practices to golf course owners, operators, managers and superintendents, is now available for superintendents, owners and operators who were not able to attend the event. Club Car, one of the most respected names in the golf industry for more than half a century, is a brand of Ingersoll Rand.

“Carefully maintaining your golf cars is one of the most cost-effective investments a facility can make,” said Randal Crook, Club Car technical services manager, who led the webinar. “A well-maintained fleet makes a statement about your facility, lowers repair costs and affects the lease price for your next fleet.”

Crook was joined on the webinar by Stephen Tucker, a longtime golf course superintendent and the past president of the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association.

“We know that residual value has a huge effect on our monthly payment, which is one of the main reasons we try to keep our fleet in excellent condition,” Tucker said. “The other reason is that our members expect a clean, well-maintained cart that they know is not going to give them any issues during their round.”

The webinar covered a wide range of maintenance issues including proper battery charging procedures, front-end alignment, golf car rotation and daily fleet inspections.

For more information, visit or

United Commercial Upholstery (UCU), the makers of Suite Seats, is pleased to announce the promotion of Tom Hall to Director of Product & Brands. In this capacity Tom will be working hard in continuing UCU’s reputation for product innovation. Says Tom, “really UCU’s dramatic growth necessitated an individual dedicated to develop on new products & markets.” The most recent example was UCU’S introduction of their OEM replacement series of cushions & covers. According to Phil Vorwerk, co-owner and a founder of UCU, “We have making them for years for our dealers upon request but up until recently we haven’t had the time to put together a cohesive plan to take them to market. Tom did a terrific job…the response from our dealers has far exceeded our projections”. Tom is excited to point out that UCU has now enhanced their OEM product line with the addition of two-tone seats & covers as well. “You’ll notice in our ads, that in addition to a great low price, the real advantage of our two-tones is that you can now order them in colors that match the standard cart manufacturer cart colors without any additional charge. We feel that our OEM color matched seats will make our two toned seats the first choice for dealers that would like to be able to stock seats on their shelves that match standard cart colors.”

‘We want to be recognized as one of the true innovators in the golf cart industry”, says Phil. Tom agrees, “There are plenty of companies copying each other…and that competition is good for the dealers. However rather than look at what everyone else is doing our idea of product development is to listen to our dealers and survey the market for what is missing.” Finally Phil & Tom want to remind everyone that if you have an idea, no matter how off the wall, give them a call at 507-232-4224.


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