They tried to call them golf car paths in 1985, but tradition won out so they are called golf cart paths
I’ve seen many asphalt golf cart paths that suffer from one of the following problems:
a.) They are too narrow.
b.) Too thin sub-base installation. (The gravel under the asphalt)
c.) Too thin asphalt installation.
d.) Grading that failed to consider surface drainage.
e.) The radius is too tight, so the golf car can’t make the turn.
A suitable golf cart path is built as follows:
1. If you need curves, choose a route that has long, flowing radii. Think about the drainage implications of the completed path. If water will sheet flow on to the path, be sure that the path directs the water away from a potential water pocket. Golf car paths can be sloped 2-3% without impacting usability.
Keep the path 6 feet from the toe of the tee slope, unless you can do the following: Tie-in the cart path to the tee slope and install an asphalt berm along the transition edge. This will keep golf carts from drifting outside the paved surface and onto the tee sod.
Before construction, layout the proposed path. I like 8 foot wide paths to account for wide turns and maintenance vehicles. Install 1″ x 1″ x 36″ wooden survey stakes every 10 feet. Offset the stake 2 feet from the proposed path edge. Establish a finish grade elevation allowing for 3″ of asphalt and 6″ of sub-base. Put a mark ( a horizontal line with a V at the mid-point) at finish grade and mark F.G. Tie a piece of colored flagging to mark the finish grade.
2. Check the proposed finish grade by eye. Tie a string between opposing stakes and put a bubble level on the string to check pitch. Watch out for inward pitch that will create water pockets. Does the grade shed water? If so, great news. If not, move the finish grade mark (and string if applicable) to create suitable slope. Keep in mind that when you deviate more than 2-3 inches in elevation, you will adversely impact the surrounding ground, creating a problem when you tie-in the edges. Try to split the difference by lowering one grade and raising the other grade (This will prevent a higher grade on one side). Remember that you are in the golf course business and everything is subject to “field adjustment.”
After the grade is established, start digging one foot in from each stake. Remove the sod if you want to reuse it on the edges. One foot will keep you away from the stake, and the other foot will allow you to slope the subbase material outward. (If you install sub-base with a straight edge, the edge of the asphalt path will be subject to cracking).
Dig down 9 inches or until dry, solid material is found. Remember that the best sub-base material is natural, untouched solid fill compacted over millions of years. Remove all organic material, tree roots, rocks sized between 1-2 feet (the size that moves during a deep freeze), and wet material. If you see water running in the excavation, remove the source by installing drainage tile. If the material is unable to sustain a load, then consider an alternative paving option.
3.Install 4″ sleeves every twenty feet. I know, you don’t need them now. but you may need them later. Sleeves are pipe sections installed perpendicular to the path, and they cost a few dollars each to install. They extend out a foot from the edge of sub-base. If you need to install pipe or wire in the future, you’ll just open up the sleeve as opposed to cutting the pavement. Measure the sleeve ends from two immovable points and save for later use.
Install 6″ of dense grade processed gravel. Use your state specification for road base. Every state uses this specification in their bids. Ask for state spec. base material when you order the base material. Compact with a 3-ton roller, available from any rental company.
4. Thickness of asphalt impacts long-term wear of the cart path. I try to use 1 1/2″ of base, or chunky asphalt, as the foundation for the asphalt path. The next layer is 1 1/2″ of top mix, or smooth asphalt. This detail is expensive, and acceptable results can be had with one 2″ layer of top mix.Use a tack, or liquid binding agent when you tie into an existing path with a a saw-cut edge.
If you have a sidewalk paver, transport the asphalt with a suitable sized truck. Many golf courses are damaged when pipes and turf get crushed by big trucks loaded with hot asphalt. You can transport the asphalt from the truck to the paver with an excavator.
I’ve seen nice cart path work done with asphalt conveyed by wheelbarrows. Make sure you have talented asphalt rakers, capable of creating a smooth top grade with a grading rake. I’ve worked on interstate highway paving projects and talented rakers are treated like gods.
Use a 3-ton roller with the capability to sprinkle water on the roller as needed. Fill the tank with fuel and water before paving because if you loose the roller you’ll have a big problem. Clean all tools quickly after use.
After the completion of paving, install loam and seed or sod along the edges. If you contract the paving, don’t forget to allow money in your budget for edge tie-ins. Paving contractors usually don’t add this detail into their contract.