Mainer restores vintage golf carts, puts them on display

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Golf carts began gaining popularity in the 1940s, giving golfers the choice to either walk or ride. moveable car lift

Today, very few of those early carts are still around — unless you're visiting the collection at Scarborough's Willowdale Golf Club.

When course owner Bob Whiting wants to ensure a perfect drive down the fairway, he trots out one of his fully refurbished vintage golf carts.

One of those golf carts — a clunky 1960 Toro Three Wheeler.

"It's a hobby. Everybody's got to have a hobby. This has been mine for about the last 10 years," Whiting said.

It's a hobby that began with a single cart to dress up his Willowdale Pro Shop. Now, the antique carts are the centerpiece.

"It started with one golf cart we wanted for a display at the clubhouse. One turned to two, two to four, four to eight and it kept on going," Whiting said.

A decade later, he has amassed a collection of around 50 museum-quality carts. Not all of them fit on display, with rows of carts packing the clubhouse basement.

Whiting showed off a golf buggy, meant for four people who sat in the front while a driver sat in the back.

Back in the day, Whiting says you may find 300 different cart manufacturers.

"They're all just so unique. Everyone looks different, everybody had a different idea on the day of what a golf cart should be, "Whiting said.

Though their refurbished now, when they arrive to Whiting, the carts are beat up. He has scoured the U.S. and Canada — as far as Edmonton Alberta — to obtain a cart and meticulously rebuild it.

"You can't just go out and buy a part for a 60-year-old golf cart. In most cases, you need to reproduce stuff, fabricate," Whiting said.

As much as Whiting says he enjoys driving the carts, he much prefers to show them off and share their stories.

"It's half of it right there — making them look like they would in the day if they were out on the golf course," Whiting said. "Most people would say, 'I don't want anything to do with it. Send it off to the scrap yard.' I bring them back."

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