Cart comes full circle following online auction

A delightful piece of local golf history is coming back to where it once roamed after being auctioned online for more than $14,000.

A light blue, 1961 Ride Around Manufacturing Turf Rider IV, purchased new by entertainer Red Skelton, sold Thursday on the popular online vehicle auction site, receiving 38 bids.

“I am going to try to get everything operational,” the winning bidder wrote at the auction’s conclusion. “I belong to Tamarisk Country Club and it will be going back to Red’s home.”

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Skelton, whose career spanned from vaudeville to television, was one of the Hollywood greats who helped Palm Springs earn its reputation as a celebrity hot spot. While he could have settled in to any number of midcentury modern gems that dot golf courses in the area, he instead preferred to spend time at a 602-acre ranch near Anza.

Like many A-listers, Skelton had a passion for golf. He chose Tamarisk Country Club as his preferred hangout, rubbing elbows with Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Sammy Davis Jr. and others. The golf cart was his preferred method of transportation at the course from the 1960s through 1980s.

Lothian Skelton, widow of Red Skelton, provided this certificate of authenticity when selling the cart in 2016 (Photo courtesy

Skelton died at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage in 1997. The golf cart, complete with an AM radio, clock, and of course a cigar lighter, was sold to a private party in Vista in January 2016. It came with with a certificate of authenticity from Skelton’s wife, Lothian.

“Red personally enjoyed this cart for many years, especially during the 1960s – 1970s – 1980s” Lothian Skelton wrote. “Since that period it has been stored safely in our garage, used sparingly.”

More than 750 people watched the auction as it played out for a week online, recalling Skelton in his prime and marveling at the stories the cart might be able to tell.

“What a neat piece of Americana from a better day,” wrote one auction watcher. “Owned by a TRUE gentleman.”

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