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Getting a Golf Cart Out of a Ditch -The Right Way vs. The Wrong Way

Posted On: 10/01/2020

Nobody intends to get their golf cart stuck—and yet, it happens. You steer too close to a ditch or don’t see a mud patch, and before you know it, you’re spinning your tires in vain. It’s been a couple of hours and you’re starting to think you’ll never spring your cart free. What do you do?

It’s important you know how to safely remove your cart without making things even worse. Whether you’re the newest hazard at your local golf course or have a UTV stuck on your private property, there’s a lot more to getting out of a jam than gunning the gas and having someone push! Here’s a look at the right and wrong ways to approach a golf cart that’s stuck.

What not to do

Before we get to the safest, most effective ways for removing a stuck cart, let’s first cover what not to do. Steer clear of these pitfalls to avoid A) injuries, B) damage to the cart, and C) looking like an idiot.

Most people in a stuck golf cart start by flooring the accelerator. They hope they’ll generate enough force to dislodge themselves and get back up the incline. The problem with this concept is that it often leads to spinning wheels… which makes your situation worse. You’ll wear down the tires or dig yourself in deeper, making it even more difficult to get out of your quagmire. Don’t slam down on the gas—you’re not helping anything.

If you’re in a ditch, you might not have very much space to work with, which can make it hard to get out and push. So, most people go the opposite route and try to pull. This is a great way to land yourself in a YouTube bloopers compilation! If you want to make a fool out of yourself and likely wreck your cart, hook up a chain or rope to a tire, tie it to the front of another cart and start pulling. This method will almost certainly result in damage to the cart, and likely won’t budge your cart from the ditch.

Finally, it’s also not a good idea to get a bunch of your friends and try to lift the cart. You might be big, burly and badass, but trying to lift a heavy golf cart on unstable ground out of a ditch is a good way to land yourself in urgent care with a bad back… or worse. Save the feats of strength, big guy.

Better options for removal

Having a high-quality ATV ramp is only the beginning. The actual loading process is something every ATV owner needs to get familiar with and make sure they understand completely before attempting. Here’s an overview of the must-follow steps for safe loading and unloading of your quad into and out of a pickup truck.

Ready to do things the right way and get your golf cart unstuck without putting yourself or the cart in harm’s way? Here are some tips that will help you safely and effectively remove your cart from a ditch, mud patch or wherever else it might be stuck.

  • Reduce weight: Reduce the weight on the cart as much as possible to prevent further sinking and to make removing the cart easier. This means getting all passengers off, as well as clubs, equipment or anything else you might be driving around.
  • Turn wheels left and right: Turn the wheels left and right to displace any dirt or mud, and to create a stable base for traction. This is especially useful for muddy ditches or areas where there’s very little traction for the wheels to grip.
  • Find proper alignmentThe wheels should be properly aligned with the truck and the ramp before you start heading up, to avoid accidentally driving off the sides. The ramp should also be positioned in such a way that it’s perfectly aligned with where the vehicle is going. If you’re using multiple ramps, they should be lined up with the very center of the ATV’s tires.
  • Engage the drivetrain: For manual carts, drop it into neutral to allow more freedom of movement among the wheels. If you’re driving an automatic cart, keep it in first or second gear and slowly apply the gas.
  • Use mats: To give your wheels extra traction, lay mats down in front of them. The extra friction and space to get momentum can make a big difference as you get your cart back up the ditch. Don’t have mats? Vegetation, gravel and rocks can provide quick friction.
  • Ramps:if you’re not far from home, it’s good to have golf cart and UTV ramps handy for an occasion such as this. There are plenty of low-incline and high-traction ramps, designed to help get carts and UTVs into trailers and up angled surfaces—like small ditches.
  • Towing: While the lazy approach to winching out your cart is usually a recipe for damage, there are safe towing methods available. Have someone help you and make sure you have the proper equipment to get the job done right.

While you always want to avoid being “that guy” who gets their golf cart stuck in a ditch, sometimes accidents happen. If you do find yourself spinning your tires, unable to get back onto flat, solid ground, don’t panic—and don’t floor it. Follow the tips above to get your golf cart or UTV safely removed with little-to-no harm done.