The PGA Tour allows disabled golfers to use a cart, according to the justices. The Supreme Court declared today that Casey Martin, the crippled golfer who has been challenging the PGA Tour for four years over its walking regulations, had the legal right to ride in a golf cart during tournament play. The case was brought against the tour by its chief executive, Tim Finchem, and several of its member clubs.
Martin was injured in a car accident when he was 9 years old. He uses a wheelchair because of his injuries. Before the accident, he played junior golf and was planning to go to college to become a sports psychologist.
In 2004, while playing on the PGA Tour, Martin was given a conditional exemption from the rule prohibiting disabled players from using carts. The condition was that if he became too burdensome a security risk, he would have to walk. When this happened, his mother sued the tour, arguing that the prohibition on riding in carts violated her son's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The case went to court and an administrative law judge ruled in favor of Martin. The judge concluded that under the ADA, Martin was entitled to a reasonable accommodation that would allow him to continue to play in a cart during tournaments. The judge also stated that the prohibition on riding in carts was not necessary for protection of health or safety.
The Supreme Court has ruled that professional golfers may use carts. A handicapped player cannot be forced to walk by the PGA. The United States Supreme Court concluded today that Casey Martin, a crippled former Stanford golfer, is allowed to utilize a golf cart during PGA Tour tournaments.
In 2019, John Daly filed for and was granted an ADA exemption from the PGA Tour to compete in the PGA Event, making him only the second golfer in history to utilize a golf cart in a major championship.
To begin with, the PGA does permit carts in certain conditions. The player on the Champions Tour (the elderly people) can ride in the cart while the caddy walks, or the caddie can ride while the golfer walks, but they can't both ride at the same time. The PGA also permits caddies to use golf cars as long as there is a driver in the trunk. These are called "push caddies."
The PGA doesn't permit any type of cart on its own course during regular play. However, some courses allow horses to be ridden on the back nine only, and some allow motorized scooters on the same holes. If a caddy uses such a device on the course, he or she must have a licensed chauffeur drive the vehicle on all par-3 holes and not walk any of those holes.
Carts are allowed on practice ranges by permission of the range supervisor. Caddies who use these carts should know their range policy before beginning work for an afternoon.
Furthermore, evidence shows that golfers who carry more than usual increase their risk of shoulder, back, and ankle damage. Overall, the argument for carts was strong enough that the American Junior Golf Association changed its regulation in 2009 to allow non-motorized carts in tournament play. The only requirement is that you cannot be use motorized vehicles such as motorcycles, scooters, or bicycles as cargo carriers.
Carts are easy to drive but difficult to stop. If you hit a golf ball, it can go quite far. Therefore, keep this in mind if you plan to drive any golf car around children or others who might be frightened by the sound of breaking glass or other components being damaged during an accident.
Always leave some daylight between your cart and another object when parking it in a crowded garage or at an outdoor venue. This will help prevent injury if someone trips over the cord connecting the carts.
Golf cars are expensive. If you wreck one and it is not insured, you could be left with a large bill. Consider purchasing insurance for your golf cart. Some companies will insure them as part of your homeowners' policy, while others require you to buy separate coverage. But no matter what company you work with, it's important to find one that offers sufficient coverage for your needs.