By Joseph Dits, South Bend Tribune
MISHAWAKA — Now, when you check out a golf cart at the city’s Eberhart-Petro Golf Course, you’ve got GPS and a touchscreen on board. It’ll keep your score, tell you where you are and even place a food order at the clubhouse so that it’s ready when you return.
“It tells you everything you’re doing, so you don’t have to write it down,” said Corey Poth, of Mishawaka, as he played around Wednesday.
But the GPS will also stop the cart from driving into a restricted area, like an area of grass that has been flooded. Drew Roop, director of golf, said he can set the restricted areas daily at the clubhouse.
Dave Anderson, of Mishawaka, likes being able to drive wherever he wants, but, as he headed out for a sunny round, he said, “They’re just protecting their course, so it’s understandable.”
Such GPS units can be found on some other local golf courses, though their features vary.
The GPS units were installed on all 52 golf carts at Eberhart-Petro before the spring season began. It also came as the municipal course replaced 26 of the carts, Roop said. The other half will be replaced next year. The course replaces the carts every two years.
It’s all paid for, he said, through golfers’ fees.
Before this, players kept score on paper or used a smartphone app. And they had to squint into the horizon to see where the next golfers were.
Roop said it’s a time saver for the staff, too. On the computer, he said, staff can now track where each of the carts is, so they don’t have to drive through the course at day’s end. They can also spot a golf cart whose battery is running low — and replace it before the golfers get stranded.
“It’s like having an extra employee who can do multiple things,” Roop said. ❂