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A unique golf cart built by an Indian Land company lived up to its reputation for speed with a mind-blowing run for the record book in Mooresville, N.C., this weekend
The Spirit of Lancaster County, South Carolina, also known as Tee Time, successfully completed a 98.06-mph, 7.4826-second eighth-of-a-mile (660 feet) run at the Mooresville Dragway on Saturday, July 7 – fast enough to set a solid bar for the Guinness Book of World Records’ Fastest Electric Golf Cart.
The souped-up, stock DS model Club Car was built by high-performance electric golf cart motor manufacturers Robby and Rick Steen and their dad, Carson Steen, of Plum Quick Motors.
Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News staff attended the event to help document the run and act as a media witness.
“Man, I am tickled,” driver Robby Steen said. “It was one of those things were it could have broken on the first pass. But it didn’t.
“To actually take a fully functional golf cart out and run 98 mph in it feels pretty amazing.”
To qualify for the first-of-its-kind record, the Steens had to do more than just go fast in Tee Time.
Tee Time had to, first and foremost, be an actual functional golf cart, a requirement Plum Quick had no trouble meeting in the “80 percent stock” vehicle.
Complete with a stock Club Car body, suspension, disc brakes, forward and reverse gears, standard golf cart tires on the front and all the extras, such as ball washer, club rack and a set of strapped-on golf clubs, Tee Time moved to and from the starting line under its own power, as required.
Aside from the National Hotrod Association roll cage, racing seat, five-point harness, parachute and kill switches, the only difference between Tee Time and its 15- to 20-mph top speed cousins on the golf course is about 1,000 pounds more in lead acid batteries and the Steens’ custom-built 204-volt, 1,000-amp motor.
Oh, and Tee Time’s speed, of course – measured using the dragway’s calibrated official speed clocks.
“I was kind of skeptical when he (Robby) said it, that they wanted to run a golf cart,” said Mooresville Dragway track manager Tony Brown. “But then when we saw it run, it was like, ‘Oh, man!’ Especially since it’s so quiet you can’t hear anything but the tires as it’s going down the track.”
Saturday’s record run came at 8:01 p.m. in the fifth run of the day.
The Steens had planned to make as many runs as they could squeeze in between the track’s regular drag races, but the evening came to a close for Tee Time about an hour later when the cart’s front left brake failed after a burnout before the sixth run.
The team took it all in stride.
“It’s just one of those things; at least it didn’t happen while he was doing 98 miles an hour,” Carson Steen said. “We wanted to hit triple digits, but you know what? We put a lot of work in it, but it was fun.
“We’ll just build us a better one next time.”
And that’s exactly what the Steens are hoping to do – build a better, faster golf cart.
Ricky Steen said as good as she ran, Saturday’s record run was the last time Tee Time will see a track – she’ll be put up to bask in her glory.
He said despite five years of work planning, developing, building and testing Tee Time, they’re already looking to the next generation cart, hopefully one with lithium batteries, which will shave about 1,000 pounds off the total weight and add to the top speed.
“The thing about this is we set the world record and got it closer to where we wanted it to be,” Ricky Steen said. “I mean, we’ve got a golf cart that usually does about 15 mph and we’ve got it going 98.
“(Over the years) we’ve burned up controllers, caught the front end on fire, had Robby running into the wall, and we’ve learned a lot,” he said. “It (Tee Time) did good, but with the old-school batteries we’ve got in it, it’s gone about as fast as it’s gonna go.”
Robby Steen is working on getting all the paperwork and documentation together to send to Guinness Book of World Records.
He said they should hear back from the world-famous record book’s officials within a few weeks and said he feels certain when they do, they’ll be cleared to officially call Tee Time the Fastest Electric Golf Cart in the World.
And it feels pretty good for Plum Quick Motors, Robby Steen said, even if there are other companies watching.
“When we came down here, we felt like if we could hit 98 mph, then it would be a huge success,” Robby Steen said. “We wanted to set the bar as high as we could get it.
“There’s a couple of bigger companies who have stated they want to beat us. But we’ve deliberately not let them know how fast we were running up until now,” he said, laughing. “But I think they’re going to see this and say, ‘Forget that.’”