The Pacific Beach Golf Cart Gang rides again
Street gang membership is alive and well in PB, and participants must be willing to go along for the ride — the golf cart ride, that is.
The Pacific Beach Golf Cart Gang describe themselves as “a friendly group of neighbors in PB that cruise the ‘hood in a street legal golf cart, seeking front row beach parking year round.”
Like any true gang, there is no board of officers, no membership fees and no formal agenda, other than to have fun.
The group is based in Pacific Beach, but anyone who can drive to the events is welcomed.
Linda Rosas Townson has lived in PB for years. She started the group in 2012 when she and a bunch of her neighbors all got golf carts at about the same time.
“We wanted to join the PB Holiday Parade with our golf carts, but it was just two of us that first year in 2013 — me and my neighbor, Chris Shay,” Townson said. “We put flyers on every golf cart that we saw and asked them if they wanted to join our gang.”
She said there was an overwhelmingly positive response.
“The next year, we had 20 golf carts in the parade. After that, we really grew,” she said.
PB resident Derek Major is a member of the Gang and loosely co-runs the group with Townson. The two agree on events to participate in, which are then announced on their Facebook page. Major then puts together a map of the event, with directions around PB to meet and take photos.
Why golf carts?
“Why not?” Major asked in return. “You can drive these street legal golf carts around PB and it’s so much more fun than the hassle of getting in a car. You can zip around town real quick, and it’s just fun, man. It’s like being 16 and driving a car for the first time all over again.”
The actual golf carts are “across the board” according to Townson. She said many of the newer model carts are loaded with everything from speakers, touch screens and computers to auxiliary power and custom rims.
“Mine is the biggest old beater, I’m having some golf cart envy,” she joked. She added she still loves her golf cart, named Baby.
“No one puts Baby in the Car!” she quipped.
From the original Gang of two, the group now has a 235-member posse, based on the Facebook page. As a result of their creativity and holiday spirit, the Gang has won the “Car Category First Place Award” in the PB Holiday Parade every year since 2017, not counting 2020 when the event was cancelled.
Ironically, Townson said her neighbor has been sidelined since their original ride, as Shay’s golf cart “died” after that first parade. But after a five-year hiatus, Shay finally has a new steed, and another member of the Golf Cart Gang will soon ride again.
For the 2021 PB Holiday Parade, the group went with the vintage theme. Club member Pamela Jane Taylor decorated her cart as the Mystery Machine from the cartoon show “Scooby-Doo” and was a crowd favorite.
Unfortunately, Taylor’s golf cart was stolen after the parade. Like any good legend involving a gang, no one is quite sure how it came to be missing — or how it ended up being found.
“I got it back, that’s all that matters,” said Taylor matter-of-factly, when asked about the incident.
“Pam is all in, all the time,” Townson said. “She is so fun and she wants to do every single event. She loves the community so much.”
The Gang also hits the streets on Halloween and the Fourth of July.
Members also participate in a beach cleanup once a month, joining with the organization Purpose First Beach Clean Ups and Waterbar Restaurant.
Prior to COVID, the Gang volunteered to drive people up to the top of the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla in their golf carts, as there is limited parking at the area and it is difficult for many to walk up. Townson said she hopes to resume the volunteer effort when the pandemic subsides.
Meanwhile, the Gang continues to grow in both members and ambition.
“We are just the neatest little happy group. There is some sort of golf cart culture that happens when we get together and it’s great,” Townson said. “And we get the best parking spots at the beach all year.”
One look at the posse members, smiling and having fun everywhere they go, and it’s obvious they all agree.
“It’s the best gang ever,” Major said.
The PB Golf Cart Gang Facebook page can be found at tinyurl.com/PBGolfCarts.