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Souped-up golf carts popular along Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ Forget the golf cart. How about a golf car?

Along the Grand Strand, golf cart business owners say more buyers are opting for customized carts with add-ons like CD players and chrome wheels. The souped-up carts are often called cars.

``It's a trend,'' said Don DelPlace, publisher of Golf Car Advisor Magazine. ``It's certainly been growing each year. More people are making them and the private car market keeps growing.''

The price tag on customized carts can range from a few thousand dollars to as much as $20,000, compared with about $1,000 for regular ones.

In a region that boasts 115 golf courses, having any type of golf cart seems a good buy.

``You don't have to worry about getting sand in your car or parking,'' said Scott Watson, manager of Advantage Golf Cars in Surfside Beach. ``You don't have to worry about getting into a hot car. It's a lot more fun to hop in your golf car and go from place to place.''

As the trend grows, people are asking for more new and different customized touches, such as lift kits that raise the golf carts higher off the ground allowing dealers to cut the frame and add bigger tires.

People also want chrome wheels, two-tone paint, two-tone seats, flip back seats, and radios, dealers say. Also popular are carts featuring sports teams and college themes.

There also high-end requests such as stretch carts that seat six to eight passengers or ones that are modeled after the Mercedes Benz, dealers say.

Chester Skowronski Sr. has a turquoise and white replica of a 1957 Chevy _ a gift last Christmas from his son. The cart is decked out with blue neon lights, a CD player and fuzzy light-up-at-night dice hanging from the mirror.

The 66-year-old Murrells Inlet resident, who is a retired police officer, had been ill and needed a way to get around the community.

``He said he was too cool for a wheelchair,'' said Chester Skowronski Jr., who built the cart with the help of friends.
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