- February 18, 2023
Imagine it’s Sunday afternoon and you and your family are riding around town in your golf cart.
The breeze is in your hair, the sun is kissing your cheeks and the sound of AC/DC plays from the stereo. Your children laugh from the backseat, and your family waves to neighbors as they pass by in their own golf carts. Life is good.
The Horizon West Golf Cart Club has started a petition to designate the area as a golf cart-friendly community.
Group founder Jack Oakes said with its unique village-centric master planned design, Horizon West is best explored by golf carts.
“There's nothing better than enjoying an open-air cruise through one of the most beautiful parts of Winter Garden,” Oakes said. “Locals can enjoy the warm temperatures all year-round while using their golf carts as their primary form of transportation to enjoy dining, entertainment and shopping.”
The petition currently has more than 150 signatures.
Oakes said he has been working with District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson to submit an application for the designation and that it is now in Orange County’s hands.
He said the carts are convenient, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and cheaper to buy and maintain than cars — plus, drivers say they are fun and easy to drive.
Oakes knows from personal experience the many benefits golf carts can bring to life.
He was working at Walt Disney World when the pandemic hit; his title changed from operations manager at a Disney resort to non-essential worker in a matter of a few weeks. Oakes explained he was traveling around town and working all the time.
That’s when he decided to begin marketing for dentists and doctors instead.
The new job has given him more free time to discover his love for golf carts and spend time with his family.
“When I got the golf cart everything, kind of slowed down for me and I wasn’t trying to beat every stoplight, and it wasn’t about buckling up your kid as fast as you can and rushing to your next destination,” Oakes said. “I started leaving in the golf cart 15 minutes early so we could enjoy the ride.”
Oakes said he came up with the idea for getting the golf cart when he saw another neighbor taking his family in one to the local park. He said the neighbor’s golf cart provided them shade and the children appeared to be having a blast.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this guy really has everything figured out,’” Oakes said.
‘A GREAT WAY TO MEET NEW PEOPLE’
The golf cart literally changed his life, he said, and he’s not the only one who shares the belief.
David Spinabella, one of the co-administrators in the Facebook group along with Matt Aguiar and Joseph Bammer, said it's a fun and enjoyable way to get around.
“It’s not as expensive to maintain, like a car, and it’s fun for the whole family,” he said. “When we have friends and family that visit, they always look forward to a golf cart ride. It's fun to go to the local spots, and it’s a great way to meet new people. I have family members that have difficulty getting in and out of cars, but with the golf cart they can get in and out with ease and feel like they are a part of what we are doing.”
Club member Ashely Gorokhovski also agreed, saying her husband chose to buy one when they first moved to the area from California this past summer.
“It took about a month to find what we were looking at, but we are so glad we did,” she said. “Our daughter's preschool is in the neighborhood, so we take her and pick her up in the cart daily. During the holidays, we threw lights on it and drove around after dinner nightly to check out our neighbors’ displays.”
Spinabella said when he and his family moved to the area they were told the neighborhood would be a golf cart community and it was one of the selling features for them.
His family was one of the earliest families to the neighborhood with a golf cart, and his wife suggested they start a Facebook page to see if there was anyone else who enjoyed owning a golf cart.
“I created a group, and then a mutual friend of ours sold a golf cart to Jack,” Spinabella said. “That’s how I got to know Jack and realized he also started a group for the same reasons. So, we combined both groups to make it more efficient for everyone.”
The group, started last July, now has nearly 250 members.
The group plans events year-round, including a Halloween and Christmas parade,
Spinabella said what makes the group special is the people.
“The people that I have met through the group are an awesome group of people, and the friendships I made wouldn’t have happened if the group wasn’t here,” he said.
The club’s next big upcoming event is the Golf Cart Poker Run, set to take place the week after Valentine’s Day if the weather isn’t too cool.
The run will serve as a fundraising opportunity to help a charitable cause.
Participants will attempt to find various playing cards from a standard deck that have been spread throughout different spots in the area. As people collect cards from sponsor booths, they will attempt to create a winning poker hand that beats everyone else involved in the event.
The winnings from the event will be donated to a charity that has not yet been selected.
On top of the seasonal events, members of the group often plan to take their golf carts and meet for a movie, dinner, drinks and other activities.
DISCOVERING THE COMMUNITY
Oakes, who has lived in the area since 2013, explained that the group is also a great way for residents to learn more about what is going on in the Horizon West community. He said he will post about updates in the community, business openings, golf carts for sale and more.
The club has even gained local sponsorship and support from organizations like Extreme Golf Cart Service.
The service, owned and operated by founder Sean Courterier, is a one stop shop for all golf cart needs, from minor repairs and regular maintenance to full custom builds and golf cart sales.
Gorokhovski said the organization was at the local Food Truck Night recently and checked everyone’s batteries and fluids for free.
“This was great for us, because as novice owners we weren’t 100% sure how to maintain our cart properly,” she said. “Sean was great and explained everything in detail to my husband.”
Oakes said he hopes the group can continue to grow, host future events and become a golf cart-friendly community.
“This community is awesome,” he said. “We are in the backyard of Disney World, the weather is great, we live in a master-planned community, so everything we need is within a few miles. We have so much to do with beautiful parks, jogging trails and beautiful lakes. It’s the best place to live in the world, and the golf carts just bring that out even more.”
HORIZON WEST GOLF CART CLUB
For information on the golf cart group in Horizon West, visit the Facebook page.
To read and sign the petition, click here.