Located 50 miles north of Orlando, The Villages is home to more than 3,000 clubs, 56 golf courses and just about anything a senior citizen would want to enjoy.
THE VILLAGES, Fla. — Chuck’s Big Adventure is traveling to Florida. His adventure will take him to some amazing beaches, beautiful homes, mermaid encounters and the fountain of youth.
There is nothing ordinary about The Villages…
This collection of 17 different 55 and over communities is unlike anything in the world. Located 50 miles north of Orlando, it’s home to more than 3,000 clubs, 56 golf courses and just about anything a senior citizen would want to enjoy — shall we say — at this most mature time of life.
Over 130,000 people live in this 32-square-mile piece of land, but many have substituted golf carts for cars. No one knows the exact number, but it is believed there are over 70,000 golf carts here. Residents say this is a huge drawing point because you can cruise away at 20 miles per hour just about anywhere in The Villages.
In this town, there are plenty of people who want to spend their days trying something different, and our Chuck’s Big Adventure team found a group of people who have turned golf cart precision driving into a spectator sport.
On a crisp January morning, we watched the Flying Golf Cart Stunt Pilots team practice their daredevil, cast care to the wind, extreme golf cart riding. From a synchronized waltz to jaw dropping maneuvers designed to excite the crowd watching, and in my case, scare the passenger!
“We’ve got a group of eight, so we’re looking for other people. They’re maybe not as daredevil as this group of people is, but we encourage one another, and we try to coach one another,” said Jeanette Kiselich, who is in her 70s and is one of the group’s most skilled drivers. “We’ve got the video that we review every week, so we see where we could sharpen things up or make things better.”
Kiselich said the key to the team’s success is trust and timing. They practice so often that performing their pre-planned maneuvers become muscle memory.
“The timing has to be just right because you’ve got a golf cart in front of you, as well as in the rearview going, so you have to watch both in front of you and behind you as you’re going around,” Kiselich said.
Nyla Mahood, who moved to The Villages from Las Vegas, has totally embraced the “try anything once” lifestyle here, and it’s that attitude that brought her to the Flying Golf Carts team. With the other members of the group, Mahood has a full schedule in 2023, performing several times a month in everything from neighborhood gatherings to parades.
“I don’t think I’d ever driven a golf cart before, really before I got here, never had the opportunity. I wasn’t a golfer. We saw it in the newspaper, and I’m going, ‘Dear, dear, I think we could do this,'” Mahood said. “I became a ground coach, which we no longer have. Glen is a really good trainer and keeps us on task, which is excellent. He’s very creative, has a lot of good, new ideas.”
To watch these daredevils on a country club parking lot is something that must be seen to be believed. You just cannot imagine the dexterity, reflexes and precision of these septuagenarians. They perform year-round at The Villages.
The group is looking for more performers because the 2023 schedule is packed, and every once in a while, it would be nice for some of the performers to get a well-earned break.
Speaking of performance, have you ever heard of performance-quality street rods?
They exist, and our team saw them. Streetrod Golf Cars have been produced since 1995, and a trip to the showroom puts you face to face with hot rod, limo-style and custom-designed golf cars for any taste.
The company will tell you that most golf carts are not very well made since they are designed to be leased to golf courses.
These cars are built on an all-aluminum, I-Beam chassis with an up to 1,500-pound payload capacity. They are made with the finest paint and polished stainless-steel surfaces and marine grade upholstery.
As a result, their value holds three to six years down the road.
Sometimes, residents get word that a shipment of carts is peeling off the delivery truck and are ready to buy them on the spot as they are hoisted out of the backend.
And they aren’t cheap. The cars we looked at were as much as a good, used car. Try a starting price between $20,000 to $28,000, with some custom models at an even higher price. Most residents don’t blink at those costs.
After all, The Villages is a place of dreams, new beginnings and adventure — all while cruising at 20 miles per hour.
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