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Par for the course, and so much more
Many golf carts won't ever set a wheel on the links as owners find new uses.
By EBONY WINDOM, Times Correspondent
Published January 31, 2008
LAND O'LAKES - People walk into Marty Luster's Golf Car Depot with some odd requests.
Like the guy who wanted to buy a hot pink, limo golf cart with 22-inch wheels for his teen daughter to zip around their subdivision.
Or the older couple who bought a bright yellow golf cart, with chrome details and "Tons of Fun!" written across the front.
Or the unidentified pro basketball player who spent about $22,000 on his pimped-out golf cart, which came equipped with a plasma screen TV, DVD player and an alarm.
Folks who walk into Golf Car Depot "are like a kid in a candy store," said Luster, 51, who runs the Land O'Lakes store.
There are hundreds of plain, refurbished golf carts for sale that start at around $2,000. But most people want to customize.
"Jacked-up" golf carts sitting on fat tires are all the rage right now. Customers can add special dash boards, faux leather seat covers and radios.
One thing's for sure: Carts aren't just used for golfing anymore, Luster said.
The majority of the folks who buy from him just want a cool, new toy.
"It's not just for seniors in a (mobile home) park," said Luster, who lives in Odessa. "If you live in a development and want to go to the pool, why take out the car?"
There's one man who lives on a 4-acre lot who bought a golf cart to speed his trip to the mailbox.
And avid hunters prefer a camouflaged cart with built-in gun racks.
And then there are the mini Hummers, Escalades and Jeeps that go for about $9,000 at Golf Car Depot.
Jeff Roberson, 46, recently bought a black golf cart for his family, which enjoys camping in their RV. A golf cart comes in handy, especially on large campgrounds, Roberson says. He could have bought a simple golf cart. But instead, Roberson had the Golf Car Depot lift the cart's frame 6 inches up, just for fun.
"It looks like a mini truck," said Roberson, who lives in Land O'Lakes.
Gas-powered golf carts are offered. But the electric ones have been big sellers, lately, thanks to rising gas prices. Owners can just plug them in overnight to recharge.
It's only been about six months since Luster walked away from his career as a rare coin dealer to open Golf Car Depot on busy Land O'Lakes Boulevard. Luster's brother-in-law has a golf cart business with the same name in Pompano Beach.
He was the one who suggested Luster give the golf cart business a try. They recently opened a Golf Car Depot store in Costa Rica, too
"I did a lot of homework," he said. "I looked up here (in central Pasco) and I just felt there was a need for (a golf cart business)."
And golf carts are the transportation of choice for many retirees at nearby mobile home parks, too.
Luster said: "It's a fun business, but it's a hard business, too."
Take a test drive
Golf Car Depot is at 4334 Land O'Lakes Blvd. in Land O'Lakes. For information, call (813) 996-5522 or visit www.golfcardepot.com .