The First-Ever $2 Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device

About: Weekend warrior with a day job creating workforce programming and standards for the material handling industry and keeping me from making a mess in the garage.

For all you golfers out there….

Golf is a social sport, and golf outings are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and camaraderie with good friends.  It is also an open invitation to pranks and practical jokes.  When it comes to golf-related pranks, there is one that’s an all-time favorite:  a merry prankster releases the buckle on the strap holding your golf clubs to the cart.  The result?  When you drive down the fairway, your clubs fall off the back of the cart, and immediately, hilarity ensues.  For those of you who haven’t seen this prank in action, golf great Phil Mickelson will gladly demonstrate at the 24 second mark of the following clip:

In preparation for an upcoming golf outing in lovely northern Michigan with 23 merry pranksters, I decided to arm myself with a first-of-its-kind (to my knowledge) Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device.  Mind you, this device is NOT failsafe; it will still require a degree of diligence on my part to make sure it is in operational order.  However, its size, color, and overall function should serve to make my bag less appealing than those of the 23 other merry pranksters on the trip.  If it works according to plan, it will serve as a visual indication that somebody has attempted to pull “The Stunt” on me.

In designing my invention, I asked myself just how effective the device would be.  Would it serve as an invitation for other, more sinister pranks (such as one helping oneself to one of my icy cold beverages, “accidentally misplacing” one of my golf clubs, such as a wedge or putter, in somebody else’s bag, or the like)?  I can report back on findings once I return from my trip.

Step 1: The Problem

In all my rounds of golf, I must admit that I hadn’t fully paid attention to the golf cart strap mechanism.  I’d simply arrive to the course, strap the clubs in, and go on my way. 

As it turns out, not all golf cart strap mechanisms are the same.  In doing some quick reconnaissance for this project, I quickly learned that the two main golf cart manufacturers, Club Cart and EZ-go, have design differences for their strap mechanisms that are sufficiently different to prevent the use of a universal clamping or locking contraption that was my initial concept.  As shown below, EZ-Go’s design has a thinner arm and a thin, flat buckle that has a skateboard-like flare at the end.  Club Cart’s design has a thicker arm with a more bulbous buckle integrated into a rabbet in the arm.

My goal was to create one universal device that would fit on either cart design, which would make a clamp or lock mechanism difficult (I failed to mention that I procrastinated a bit on this project, and scrambled to build something the weekend before the outing).  I therefore decided that the contraption should be a highly visible strap system that would have to be removed (and subsequently noticed by Yours Truly) in order to execute the stunt.  The Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device’s primary purpose would be to serve as a highly visible beacon that should make tampering by a merry prankster blatantly obvious.

Step 2: The Solution

A quick trip to the local hardware store, a small piece of scrap 2x4, some leftover bright yellow spray paint, and an arsenal of woodworking tools was all it took to put the Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device together.  The official parts list and prices (not including sales tax) are provided:

·         2 feet of bright yellow nylon strap ($0.60)

·         1 nylon strap clasp ($1.99)

·         2 strap slides ($0.18 apiece)

·         2” x 2” x 1.5” wood block cut from scrap 2x4 (free)

·         Yellow spray paint found on garage shelf (free)

·         Garage and arsenal of woodworking tools (priceless)

The device and its construction are ridiculously simple.  I cut a through rabbet in the block big enough so that the strap could slide through it.  The rabbet was offset with the intention that the thicker part of the block would face inward, toward the golf bag, when affixed to the golf cart.  A quick sanding and several coats of spray paint later, the device was assembled by running the strap through the block, and affixing the slides and clasp, as shown.

Step 3: The Execution

To “activate” the device, affix your golf clubs to the back of the cart in typical fashion.  Then, affix the Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device so that the fatter part of the wooden block faces the strap buckle.  Affix the clasp and tighten the straps on the Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device to ensure a snug fit.

My apologies in advance for not posting a picture of the Golf Cart Prank Deterrent Device in action.  I haven't actually taken it on the golf course yet!  Will it work?  We'll have to wait and see.




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