‘Virtual cart paths’ at Belfry


Sean Dudley

The famous Belfry golf resort in England is using new GPS technology from ClubCar to control its fleet of golf carts.

The multiple Ryder Cup venue has added eighty new electric Club Car Precedent i2 and i2L vehicles fitted with the Visage GPS mobile golf information system to its cart fleet.

Director of golf Gary Silcock explained that one person can now remotely control where carts drive on the course, using a simple computer application. “The system has enabled us to create virtual buggy paths,” he said. “So, when it’s wet, we map out a buggy route on the computer along which the cars can travel but cannot deviate because of the automated GPS control.

 “What’s important about this is that it will increase the number of days the golf cars are operating in the wet without adversely affecting course condition. In October 2010 alone, the carts were off the course for ten days because of bad weather, but with Visage we might only lose two or three days, increasing our revenues.”

Visage technology now also enables the Belfry to send golfers messages about pace of play, control car speed, check the battery and disable the car when parked to prevent misuse.

Phil Lewin of GPSi, which makes the Visage system, said: “The purpose of Visage is to benefit both the player and the golf course operator. Operators can control where cars go, limiting them to designated areas and preventing them going into any hazards, water, car parks, or out of the course. Visage is the only system that can control the engine of the cart in this way. It can slow it right down, stop it altogether and send messages to the golfer explaining why this is being done. Visage protects the golf course and protects the venue’s assets being stolen or used inappropriately.”

Club Car has also completed a major European deal by supplying 227 new electric vehicles to UK-based hotel and resort group De Vere, the UK-based hotel and resorts group.

The order is Club Car’s largest this year and consists of 203 Precedent i2 carts plus a range of turf utility vehicles and Café Express mobile refreshment centres. De Vere owns eleven golf properties and 16 courses.