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The GolfWRX Guide to Purchasing a Push Cart

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This story is part of our new “GolfWRX Guides,” a how-to series created by our Featured Writers and Contributors — passionate golfers and golf professionals in search of answers to golf’s most-asked questions.

At one time or another, every golfer who considers himself a foot warrior has an epiphany.

“Why am I carrying this heavy bag when push carts were invented years ago?”

Mine came in the summer of 2014. I had inquired among a number of top junior golfers at an AJGA event about the push carts they used. It was simple, they explained: a golf bag puts so much strain on the shoulders, and so much wear on the back lifting and lowering it. How obvious!

I gazed across the fleet of myriad cart styles and knew that my next big purchase would not be a driver or wedge, but something that would allow me to continue to hit those clubs for years to come. With that in mind, I set out to explore the offerings from the major producers of golf push carts. I expected to find a variety of options, but was not quite prepared for all the accoutrements and perquisites that accentuate today’s carts.

In this guide to purchasing a push cart, I will examine available features and their value. Some of them might seem nuanced, even esoteric, but trust me, they all matter. I had the opportunity to play rounds with seven different carts from four companies. If you want to know more about each push cart I tested, you can see Pros and Cons at the bottom of this story.

Let’s dig in.

Wheels and Parking Brake

The TriSwivel II push cart from BagBoy ($269.95).

The flexibilitator! If you’re in a tight corner, BagBoy’s TriSwivel II will get you out.

What’s your pleasure, three or four wheels? From my perspective, it’s about aesthetics and not practicality. There is no loss of stability, since you’re most likely not playing speed golf and jogging around the course.

Most three-wheeled carts come with a fairly stable front wheel. There is a benefit to having a front-rotational wheel on three-wheeled carts. It is nice for negotiating tight turns or backing up (you just turn around!). Since you have no reverse lights nor video camera to navigate what’s behind you on the cart path, this feature might be desirable. In my situation, I found that leaning any cart back on its rear wheels will allow you to spin in place 180 degrees and reverse direction.

Check the side of your push panel. You have your own parking brake, designed to lock up one or both wheels on those occasions when the terrain is sloped. During my testing, I found that some brake levers are hair-trigger sensitive, and that you might be walking along and suddenly encounter the stab of a stalled cart in your torso. You didn’t intend to stop the cart, but a brush of your hand against the mechanism brought about engagement. Take a close look at the lever and how easily it engages.

Remember what was written earlier about jogging? Some golfers do indeed get out early and play speed golf. Today’s golf carts make that piece viable. It’s not sprint golf, so you don’t need to worry about performance above 10 mph. Take a tour of your course while jogging with both three- and four-wheeled carts to determine which has a better feel for your golfing and jogging gait.

From my perspective, the three-wheeled cart is noticeably better for maneuverability. Each of this type of cart from Sun Mountain and BagBoy, the industry names with greatest recognition, shine forth in the tightest of areas.

The top model for uber maneuverability is the TriSwivel II from BagBoy. The free-spinning front wheel does what no anchored wheel can: move sideways with no forward motion. Three-wheel carts also excel when pace accelerates.

Pouch, Post and Pocket

The Mighty Mite! At first blush, there’s not much to BagBoy’s C3, but it’s all you need.

Standard operating procedure these days is the 3 P’s: a mesh pouch for quick storage and access of items, a post for your umbrella and a pocket for valuables.

You might place a bottle of water, rangefinder, cell phone or money clip in that mesh pocket. Be sure it’s durable, with small gaps in the mesh. It’s intended for easy access and removal, but it still needs to be secure!

Every cart has a post hole for umbrella positioning, should the rains come or a fierce sun beat down too forcefully. You screw the holder into the post hole and insert your umbrella handle into the cone. The only problem that arises is that you have to remove the holder when you break down the cart. If you forget, you’ll hear the crack of stressed plastic.

Each push cart also offers a plastic storage pocket on the top of the cart, just below the handle. Scorecard and valuables might be better off there on windy and rainy days (most pockets have a clip on top for easy scorecard access during calmer weather). If you’re on the progressive side of the cell-phones-on-the-golf-course debate, that plastic storage pocket serves to muffle your ring tone. You’ll hear it and decide whether to answer it, but it won’t blast out across the fairway, causing your partners to muff their shots and throw side-eye your way.

The margin for error in this section is razor-thin, but the left-side location of the umbrella post by the BagBoy genius team gets top marks for Pouch, Post and Pocket.

Pack, Strap and Go

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The very durable Model 3.5+ from ClicGear, a new player in the game. This one is worth a look when shopping.

This is the area in which push carts have made the greatest strides. Carts collapse to the size of a dancer in a child’s crouch. Arms and legs reduce like a praying mantis, wheels move inward and the entire assembly lifts lightly and fits snug in a minor section of your car trunk. Here’s the rub: they don’t all collapse in the same fashion and the key is to find the button or handle that puts the dynamo into action, then determine if you have the mental acuity to remember how to do it each time. It’s not always as easy as the marketing materials make it seem. Break down and build up any candidates for purchase to ensure that you’re comfortable with the sequence of steps.

When it comes to securing your bag to the cart, alternatives vary among companies. Some bags come with arms that extend farther around your bag, but no straps to secure your clubs in place. The supposition here is that you don’t intend to move at a rapid pace, so a complete lock-down isn’t necessary. The majority of bags do come with straps at the top and bottom of the cart. They wrap around the bag and connect with velcro, ensuring a secure connection with the push cart.

Among the new breed of carts, there is little measurable difference when it comes to securing the bag to the cart. What discrepancy exists, is related to a crossing strap.

The ClicGear and BagBoy carts come equipped with a strap or flexible plastic band that latches the golf bag to the cart.

The Sun Mountain models utilize a plastic claw that cradles, but does not strap. Both are viable options for keeping the bag on the cart but in the case of that curvy, downhill trek we often encounter between holes, the strap/band wins the day. If you have not a minute to waste, however, the Sun Mountain plastic claw eliminates any foozling with a strap and garners the top prize for Pack, (don’t) Strap and Go!

The All-Inclusive

Alphard's Duo-Evolution sells for $399.99.

Alphard’s Duo-Evolution. The BOGO: Buy One and Get One! A bag of endless pockets and a cart, all in one.

And then there’s Alphard, an industry name you may not know. It seems that their angle is: why worry about attaching your bag at all? Alphard’s Duo Cart Evolution offers a cart-bag combo and it’s attractive. The unit comes with three top-side pockets for balls, tees, gloves and other items; three right-side pockets; two left-side pockets and one external umbrella barrel for storage of your favorite parasol. The entire unit fits comfortably in the trunk of your car, or stores easily in your club bag room. For sure, you’ll never hear “We can’t find your push cart, Mr. Haverkamp,” or “Rats, I left my cart in the garage.”

If you have your clubs, then you have your bag and cart. When it comes to packing for a trip, though, you’ll have some trouble unless you’ve purchased an extra-wide travel bag.

There are negatives to the Alphard cart. One is in the design of the front wheels. They are much smaller than other carts and don’t rotate from side to side. As a result, maneuverability is restricted. The main shaft of the handle is also not as strong as it might be. There was a noticeable give to it during long, uphill slogs.
[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.alphardgolf.com/shop/duoevo/” oemtext=”Buy it from Alphard” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IJDP93I/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IJDP93I&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=CHMMJN5CIFX3VYGG”]

Here are the Pros/Cons of the models I tested below. Listed prices are MAP. 

BagBoy C3 ($219.95)

BagBoy's C3 ($219.95).

  • Pros: Secure straps. Handle adjusts to variety of heights/angles. Plenty of storage for tees, scorecard, phone. Light overall weight.
  • Cons: Bottle/cup holder somewhat tough to reach.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://bagboycompany.com/c3-push-cart-three-wheel-push-cart-bag-boy-push-cart.html” oemtext=”Buy it from BagBoy” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EUZIE72/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EUZIE72&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=EFZFFZWIJYMX7IPG”]

BagBoy TriSwivel II ($269.95)

The TriSwivel II push cart from BagBoy ($269.95).

Head for the S-Curves. TriSwivel will take them like a pro.

  • Pros: Reliable straps. Pivoting front wheel is great for maneuverability. Handle adjusts to variety of heights/angles. Deep storage for tees, scorecard, and phone. Easy to lift and push.
  • Cons: Inaccessible bottle/cup holder when pushing.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://bagboycompany.com/triswivel-ii-push-cart-bag-boy-push-cart.html” oemtext=”Buy it from BagBoy” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EUZO1YW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EUZO1YW&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=FV7W26GCORNWED7Z”]

BagBoy Quad Plus ($239.95)

bag-boy-quad-plus-golf-push-cart-red-2

Four on the floor! This one folds up so small, you might lose it in your trunk.

  • Pros: Efficient upper/lower straps. Easy-release handle tiny when stored. Healthy amount of storage for tees, scorecard, phone. Lighter than air.
  • Cons: Four wheels mean less maneuverability. Storage space for drinks is not easy to reach.

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Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1 Sport ($209.99)

SMV1-GUNRED-2

If you absolutely need to play speed golf, this the answer to your prayers.

  • Pros: Cup/bottle holder well-placed below steering handle. Handle moves up and down with ease. Light overall weight. Adjustable angles for umbrella holder. The sealed bearings gave the smoothest and quickest wheel rotation of all tested trolleys.
  • Cons: No upper/lower straps. Umbrella holder places barrel in front of face.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”https://shop.sunmountain.com/v1-sport-2708-detail.html” oemtext=”Buy it from Sun Mountain” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FULRMEG/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FULRMEG&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=SBTCBQ3ZQEUELE3T”]

Sun Mountain MC3 Micro-Cart ($199.99)

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Another tiny tower of power. Folds up small but rolls big, all day long.

  • Pros: Cup/bottle holder offers easy access beneath handle bars. Tiny when stored. Handle adjusts to variety of heights/angles. Light overall weight. Adjustable angles for umbrella holder.
  • Cons: No upper/lower straps. Four wheels mean less maneuverability. Umbrella holder places barrel in front of face. Small amount of storage for tees, balls, phone.

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ClicGear Model 3.5+ ($220)

30084552_im_CHAR~BLK_________0_gsi

  • Pros: Upper/lower straps. Light overall weight.
  • Cons: A bit difficult to break down. Umbrella holder places barrel in front of face. Bag straps a bit difficult to adjust and secure.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://www.clicgear.com/pushcarts/model-3.5/” oemtext=”Buy it from Clicgear” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B0NSU4O/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00B0NSU4O&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=3ONYYMQS4QRXKOZE”]

Alphard Duo Cart Evolution ($399.99)

Alphard's Duo-Evolution sells for $399.99.

  • Pros: One unit instead of two. Changeable external skin. Massive amounts of storage in bag.
  • Cons: Tiny wheels mean limited maneuverability. Heavy and not as durable a product other products (snapped handle barrel in first round). Weight-forward technology is balanced less than other configurations.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

78 Comments

78 Comments

  1. N. D. Boondocks

    Jun 26, 2017 at 11:19 am

    I have a Clicgear 3.5+, after having a Caddytek 3 wheeler. Folding and unfolding the Caddytek was blindingly fast, but the rear wheels couldn’t be adjusted to remain parallel. It never could be adjusted to run dead straight, especially on a sidehill. Hence, the Clicgear.
    It took me a few rounds to get used to the unfold / fold process, but now, it’s pretty darn quick. The rear wheels have never budged from parallel. The front wheel needed a bit of adjustment to make it track straight, but the last adjustment I needed to make for that was years ago.
    I once played in a strong following wind, gave my bag on the cg a bit of a push on a flat trimmed fairway, and the thing rolled almost all the way to my ball. No complaints from this corner

  2. Pingback: The Best Golf Push Cart (2016) | The Smart Consumer

  3. Joe C

    Mar 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve used my old bagboy express for almost 10 years and it probably has at least 700 rounds on it. It has just now started to make noises from the wheels so I’m in the market for a new one. I play most of the NJSGA and MGA tournaments and the majority of them don’t allow push carts. Most of the private clubs the qualifiers are played at don’t allow them. I can tell you that on a 90 degree humid summer day in New Jersey, there is no comparison between carrying and pushing. Pushing is definitely easier. A few years ago I played in the USGA Publinks qualifier at Neshanic Valley in western NJ. It is quite hilly and it was 90 degrees and it was a 36 hole qualifier. There is NO WAY I could’ve carried 36 there that day. My point is, pushing is easier and better for my game. Lifting a 20-30 pound bag 50+ times a round takes a toll on your body. I highly recommend using a push cart. I keep an ultralight carry bag for the events that don’t allow push carts.

  4. Neige

    Jul 19, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I find carrying my bag is better for my game and health. It saves tons of time so I almost never feel rushed. I pushed a cart a few times, and found it a bit annoying. If I am mindful of how I am lifting and lowering the bag i.e. need to use legs for this, I don’t think it hurts my shoulders and or back. Maybe someday I will change my mind though.

  5. Lindsay Morrison

    May 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I have a 4 year old Sun Mountain V.1 that is great. I had a friend drive over it by accident. They had all the parts to repair it at a local shop. I like the umbrella holder. The net is nice to. It is well made and folds quickly and easily. It’s a bit big folded, not a problem if I’m driving to the course alone. I would buy another the same.

  6. Bert

    Apr 25, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Hill Billy – why push?

  7. Double Mocha Man

    Apr 24, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Shovability. You know, when you like to shove your push cart over toward the next tee when you’re headed to the current putting green (preferably after extracting your putter). There should be a rating/pro/con for this important feature. Guessing non-rotating front wheels would win here.

  8. Double Mocha Man

    Apr 24, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I’ve seen guys in the parking lot constructing their push cart (I won’t name any brands) for what seems like an eternity, thus precluding a pre-round breakfast, range warm-up and putting practice. Same guys, after the round, have to leave the bar early so they have time to deconstruct their carts. My cart shrinks/collapses to gym bag size with the push of one button in less than half a second. Equals more bar time.

  9. Dave

    Apr 20, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I bought a 2 wheeled Bag Boy pull cart for $45 from Sports Authority about 12 years ago. I tell myself that I’ll replace it with a new 3-wheeler when it breaks, but it never does. 40 rounds a year. It’s fun to window shop though, and I’m leaning towards ClicGear after reading this article.

    • Jim Y

      Apr 24, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Dave, get the Clicgear. You won’t be disappointed……

    • TMTC

      May 12, 2015 at 12:57 pm

      I got both the ClicGear & the SunMountain.
      Both are great.
      The sun mountain is the Better of the two.
      1. Rolls much easier.
      2. Folds down & up easier & quicker.

  10. Thomas

    Apr 20, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    thanks gang for the insight on push carts .I had a Linksman cart that I purchased on Ebay for a few years (90.00 shipping include ) and it did it’s job but I could not pass up a deal about 6 months ago that was on Amazon for a Bag boy Tri swivel ($200.00 includes shipping ) and I’m totally happy with my purchase . It’s a quality cart and the swivel makes it so easy to use .Only problem I see with it is if you play on a hilly course this cart might not be for you because the swivel can be hard to control but there is the option to turnoff the swivel other than that I am very satisfied. Folds easily and fits in my trunk no problem

  11. Matt

    Apr 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    I have a BagBoy Quad. I have had it for over a year and used it about 20 times. I like the stability of four wheels. The brake works great! And when I jog to keep up with golf carts it is no issue. The front wheels widen for my staff bag which is key. Set up and break down take seconds. I store my clubs on the cart in my garage now.

  12. David Smith

    Apr 20, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I have the bag boy C3 and I love it. If I’m playing a couple of holes after work I will carry. But if I’m planning to play a full round I use my push cart. Sometimes it is difficult on the terrain of my home course which is extremely up and down, but it certainly helps my back and shoulders feel better. Besides, it the “smart” guys from Stanford used them for NCAA Nationals, then there must be some benefit.
    David

  13. michael p

    Apr 19, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I bought a push cart about 7yrs ago and used it for about a year then sold it started walking & carrying again but over the years I have had knee surgery and fell on my lower back winter of 2013 so as of yesterday I bought a used bag boy sc 500 and it worked great yesterday. The previous one was a bag boy too had no problems with it either. I might look at a cart bag later I use a ping 4 under bag right now and I have to figure out how to adjust where to put it on the cart so I can access my pockets. I am glad I went back to push cart.

  14. Rich

    Apr 19, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Nice article. Lots more push cart options in Australia than those that you’ve listed but the Clicgear is the most popular here as well. Mine is great. Just one thing though. Disappointed that you eluded to the fact that anyone would want/need to answer their phone during a round. At my club they are banned during club competitions and I know some clubs that don’t allow them to be used at all anywhere except the car park. Switch the phone off. You never know, you might enjoy yourself without it for a few hours.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      I understand both sides of the phone issue. I’m thinking more along the lines of checking texts and emails. Like it or don’t, life intrudes on recreation time, be it time at the gym or on the golf course. HOWEVER, if you anticipate that life’s intrusions will ruin your mojo, by all means, switch off the phone. If you have small children, older parents, or other important concerns, you have to have your phone at the ready.

      Thanks for the comments, Rich. Stop back often!

      Ron M.

      • Brian

        Apr 21, 2015 at 8:34 am

        Hard to grow the game when you expect everyone to hide from the world for 4 hours at a stretch. My wife almost killed me one time when I didn’t see her text for an hour. She was 6 months pregnant. 😉

      • TR1PTIK

        Apr 23, 2015 at 7:44 am

        I always have my phone on me when I play – I usually keep it in my front right or back right pocket – but I keep it on SILENT and I only text when I have a moment to do so. Usually, while I’m walking or riding to my ball. I never take calls unless I’m playing by myself and it’s not going to affect someone else. My dad on the other hand, always has his volume cranked up, and he rarely ignores calls so I usually have to block out his phone conversation during my swing or something. He tries to keep it short most of the time, but I really wish he’d turn the dumb thing off or put it on silent like I do! Please guys, if you have to have a phone with you keep it on silent and be respectful of other people on the course – including your playing partners.

  15. tony

    Apr 19, 2015 at 2:13 am

    It’s funny. I feel like I’m suppose to carry my bag of clubs but don’t feel that way at all about my toddlers. And if you know anything about buying strollers, these push carts are CHEAP!

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 19, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Probably because your clubs don’t scream at you, drool on you or twist around when you carry them! If you want to keep carrying those kids, start pushing your clubs. You will save much wear and tear on the bod.

      Thanks, Tony. Frequent our site with your comments.

      Ron M.

  16. Billy Handsomeface

    Apr 18, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I used to use a carry bag, but I got tired of switching back and forth between cart and carry bag so I bought my friend’s old clic gear. It is awesome.

  17. Brandon

    Apr 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Did a lot of research before deciding on a push cart, read a ton of reviews, looked at different models in stores, etc., etc. Ended up ordering a Caddytek 15.5 about a year ago from TGW for under $100 bucks. Very, very pleased in the quality of these, just as solid as a ClicGear, but for way less money. Build quality of the Caddytek is just as good as the ClicGear I was able to check out hands on. Well worth the price to buy a Caddytek.

    • Brandon

      Apr 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Sorry, the model I chose was the 15.3, still can be found on Amazon

    • John

      Mar 2, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Brandon,

      Had my Caddytek for just over two years (NOTE “HAD”). Last week the bar connecting the left rear wheel to the frame popped out of the frame socket. Attempts to repair/return the connecting bar were completely futile. Left rear wheel flops around like a just caught perch.

      I’m now buying the ClicGear. I figure for the extra $ 100.00 I should expect 5 – 6 years of service instead of just over 2 years.

      Everybody will hear if the ClicGear fails before 2020.

      John P

    • N. D. Boondocks

      Jun 26, 2017 at 11:30 am

      I had that model, but sold it in favour of a Clicgear 3.5+. I didn’t like the foot brake, although it did work properly. The rear wheels could never be made parallel, so no matter how I adjusted the front wheel, when coasting it would always pull to the uphill side of any sort of terrain. Didn’t like the ribbed foam on the handle, that was an irritant. Unfold & fold was blistermitten fast, though, and folding flat like it did took up surprisingly little space. A bit better engineering on the basic design and I would say this cart could easily be the standard to beat.

  18. Chris C.

    Apr 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I am 61 years old and have been golfing for 55 years. I view push carts as a necessary evil to assist those with a disability. When my back gave out during the same round that I blew out my MCL, it was extremely difficult to finish the round. I acquired a Clicgear and was able to continue golfing without interruption during the months it took to get my back in shape. I found the Clicgear to be extremely stable and served as a great assistive devise. If one does not have a medical reason for using a push cart, I see no reason for their use. I play on a course that has a creek meandering through it. Often the shortest route to my ball is to simply jump the creek or walk over boulders. I often play in rain which necessitates jumping over standing water. If I duck into the woods for an errent shot I do so with my clubs. If I march into a field of fescue, I do so with my clubs. If I wish to walk between a bunker and green to get to my over cooked approach, I do so with my bag of clubs. None of these things can be conveniently accomplished with a push cart. I use a single strap Jones bag and, God willing, I can avoid health issues which might necessistate putting my Clicgear back in the trunk of my car.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Chris,

      If I may ask, why such an extremist view? Do you feel that push carts alter the game or the playing ground in some fashion? I’m baffled by your take and want to better understand it. Here’s hoping you see my reply and feel fit to answer it. Thanks very much for your thoughts.

      Ron M.

      • Joe Duffer

        Apr 21, 2015 at 12:40 pm

        Nothing extreme at all… he simply prefers to carry.
        What’s so hard to understand?

        • Mac

          Apr 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm

          I’d say it was this comment: “If one does not have a medical reason for using a push cart, I see no reason for their use. ”

          This is a macho point of view. Next, you’ll hear someone question your manhood for using a pull cart. It’s silly and pointless, IMO.

          • Double Mocha Man

            Apr 24, 2015 at 11:14 am

            Real men carry. Real men with back and knee problems from carrying, roll.

  19. Golfraven

    Apr 18, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Clearly missing the BIG MAX trolleys here. Those are big sellers in Europe and good quality. I have the SMART and this one is very good and durable although on the heavier side. You may consider the IQ or the BLADE if you have Porsch (non SUV). I am a fan of 3 wheeler. Don’t think the cruiser 4 wheel are good to manoeuvre. What about the Titan versions like TiCAD or JuCAD? Very sleek and lightweight but rather pricey $$$

  20. headymonster

    Apr 18, 2015 at 7:17 am

    I’ve found that if a course is relatively flat a cart is great. But if it is hilly a push cart makes life more difficult.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 18, 2015 at 9:17 am

      It’s all about your shoulders and back, isn’t it? If it is hilly, serpentine! Thanks for your comment. Keep on offering opinions hereabouts.

      Ron M.

  21. JDMonly

    Apr 18, 2015 at 12:04 am

    I had a Bagboy Quadra prior to my Clicgear 3.5. The Bagboy has a retarded brake line location that actually got caught on my size 13 foot and line snapped. Poor design! Overall the unit just seemed poor quality compared to the Clicgear…from tubing to wheels. Clicgear has my business on my next cart should it fall apart in about 25 years!!

  22. Henrik

    Apr 18, 2015 at 12:03 am

    I have a Sun Mountain MicroCart and like the folded size of it, and the included accessories. It is a lot harder to push though than my old Speedcart. Perhaps is the smaller wheels, perhaps the 4 wheel but very noticable to the point where I would look elsewhere

  23. Mike J

    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I bought last years Bagboy Quad on sale for $170 at the local Dicks Sporting Goods. My son used it for his entire high school season and I have used it several times and we both love it. Maneuverability is not really all that big of an issue if you just lift the front wheels and turn ,as others have said. The only con, As Ron pointed out is the umbrella holder, not well thought out, but that doesn’t take away from the ease of use at all, overall a great piece.

  24. Martin

    Apr 17, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    My wife and I have used the sun Mountain speedcart for several years and it works great, see alot of clicgear’s at our course.

  25. Ken

    Apr 17, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    I’ve got an older Clic Gear, and it’s great, but I also bought an UPRIGHT CADDIE, and love the thing. My bag sits straight up as if it was standing on the ground. It just seems a little easier to get the clubs out. I’m not even sure they are still being made.

  26. RH

    Apr 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Just use the Riksha at my local course. Its a no frills cart that works for me.

  27. Brian DeBlis

    Apr 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I started using a push cart last year after years of carrying my bag. I found out that you burn roughly the same amount of calories pushing your bag than you do carrying your bag, so to me it was a no-brainer. http://www.thewalkinggolfer.com/benefits_of_walking/physical.html

    • birly-shirly

      Apr 17, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      I carry, but I was surprised to see those figures – I thought that a trolley would save you energy. If it doesn’t, and in the absence of back or shoulder pain, is there really any benefit over carrying your bag?

      • ChristopherKee

        Apr 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm

        Yes, you can bring more stuff with you. I pack my lunch, two bottles water, extra shoes, 12 balls, GPS, Rangefinder, and Orange Whip training aid. If I was carrying the bag would be way to heavy, plus since I’m pushing I can use a larger cart bag that manages my clubs better.

        • Golfraven

          Apr 18, 2015 at 7:14 pm

          Agree. I struggle to carry my cart bag couple of yards from the locker to driving range – same setup. I would rather not play at all on the course if I had to take this bag without trolley

      • Ronald Montesano

        Apr 18, 2015 at 9:20 am

        You’re wearing down the back and shoulder by carrying, birly-shirly. By using the push cart, you’ll limit those back and shoulder injuries down the road. If we were to tell athletes to only drink water when they are thirsty, they would all dehydrate. So, from my vantage point, use the cart now and you’ll live a better middle and/or older age.

        • birly-shirly

          Apr 18, 2015 at 8:17 pm

          I’m open to persuasion, but I’d like to see independent evidence that carrying a sub 20lbs bag, rather than technique, overuse, fitness or lifestyle issues is what leads to injuries.

    • TR1PTIK

      Apr 20, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Very interesting. I currently have a Titleist Ultra-lightweight stand bag and carry after my $20 pull cart broke last season. I was in desperate need of a new bag after Christmas and figured I’d be better off to go this route until I can afford a decent push cart. With both straps, the bag doesn’t seem too burdensome, but I definitely try to keep it minimal. Hopefully, in another month or so I’ll be able to find a decent cart I can afford.

  28. Brian

    Apr 17, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I came in expecting a bunch of hate on people who use pushcarts. Probably why there are so many shank votes. But as a 33 year old disabled Marine with a bad back I just can’t carry a bag for 9-18 holes without paying the price.

    Having said that, my country club membership doesn’t include carts so instead of paying $12 a round I bought a ClicGear 3.5+ on Amazon and couldn’t be happier. It’s easy to push, has plenty of storage and looks like a solid piece of gear. Used it all last season and been very happy. Worth the price. I think I got it on sale for around $200. Paid for itself in cart fees.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 18, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thank you for your service and sacrifice, first and foremost. As someone who has not served, I cannot imagine the dedication it took to keep this country safe. This article was conceived, researched and written for golfers like you, Brian. People need to anticipate future injuries and staying out of motorized carts enhances the benefits of walking. Keeping the bag off the shoulders helps the shoulders and back today and into the future. Keep your thoughts and experiences coming and nice buy on the ClicGear!

      Ron M.

  29. Eric Cockerill

    Apr 17, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    As far as quality and stability, clicgear and bagboy can’t be beat, but clicgear does have one weakness…it does not handle stand bags well. The bag rotates within the strap due to the stand leg hinges. Clubs become more difficult to access and whole cart becomes unstable. Huge problem. Most of the competitors have some method of locking in the hinges to prevent the rotation, including many of the lower price point models. Not sure why Clicgear continues to ignore this flaw.

    • Joey5Picks

      Apr 17, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      My Clicgear 2.0 handles my Sun Mountain stand bag just fine. The foot of the cart rests against the bottom of the bag and the “foot” of the golfbag doesn’t come in contact with anything, so the bag’s legs don’t extend. I’ve never had a problem with my bag rotating while strapped to the cart, either.

      • Eric Cockerill

        Apr 17, 2015 at 8:23 pm

        Mine is the Clicgear 3.0…perhaps a bigger problem with that model or my specific stand bag.

    • Brian

      Apr 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Clicgear actually has something called a Bag Cozy that addresses this. It’s $25 though. Seems like a lot of $$ for what it is but does seem to solve this issue.
      http://www.clicgearusa.com/Bag_Cozy_p/cgbc02.htm

      • Eric Cockerill

        Apr 17, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        Thanks for the direction. I probably will buy this…with the exception this problem, I consider the Clicgear an outstanding product. I do feel somewhat vindicated though, clearly this is an issue or they wouldn’t have to sell a separate solution.

        • Brian Z

          Apr 17, 2015 at 10:38 pm

          I pushed the Clicgear Model 8 all last season with a Titleist 14-way stand bag… bought the Bag Cozy before this season and it’s been well worth it. It ought to have been included to begin with or somehow discounted for registered owners, but of all the add on options this has been far and away my best investment.

    • Duane

      Apr 27, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      I recently purchased a Caddytek 3 wheel push cart. I have the model with a small cooler and storage bag integrated underneath between the two wheels. The top bracket is made to fit between a stand bags legs to keep it from rotating and so far it has worked like a charm. I have discovered the great health benefits walking the course as I am down 23 pounds and my golf scores have dropped too. One of the best investments of golf equipment I have ever purchased.

  30. Bianca

    Apr 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    As a golfer who grew up walking and playing golf in Europe, I think it’s a shame more people in the US don’t use push carts. Just a note that I think it would have been great to have BIG MAX push carts included in this guide too.

    • TR1PTIK

      Apr 20, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Agreed. I also think it’s shameful that more people don’t use bicycles for transportation. It’s a waste of resources and a waste of life when you consider how much healthier Americans would be if they did such things.

  31. AJ

    Apr 17, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    I have an older model clic-gear and it’s lasted 6 years now without a single issue. I use it 4x a week. Not one complaint ever.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 17, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      This is turning into a ClicGear love fest! Thanks for the personal story. Those are the ones that matter most.

      Ron M.

  32. triumph.man

    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Just picked up a refurbished 3.5+ through clicgear @ $160. Can’t wait!

  33. Jim

    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Start with the Clicgear model and you’ll be very happy. It’s very simple to set up and break down (at least after watching their video) and is very small which is great for storage. It’s also very easy to push on the course and very stable as well. There is no comparison to ones the other guys in my group use and it seems to be very solidly built for the long haul too. They’re all pretty expensive but I guess because it lasts so long it’s not the worst investment and it sure beats carrying the bag.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 17, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Jim,
      That is a very comprehensive post and I appreciate your commentary. If I may ask, which are the “other ones” that your brood uses? It’s always nice to get a comparison from the fairways. Thanks for your time and effort. Come back often.

      Ron M.

      • Jim

        Apr 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm

        Bag Boy is the only other one I can remember. And his fell apart during the first round and needed to be repaired. Just not as solid as the Clicgear.

  34. TF

    Apr 17, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Actually, the ClicGear 3.5+ handle can be adjusted to different heights/angles. Having said that, I’d still list it as a con since it’s not intuitive – I was using mine for months before I figured it out.

    Great purchase no matter which make and model you go with, though.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Apr 17, 2015 at 11:23 am

      TF, Thank you for that. I’ll take a look at it and figure out where I went wrong. I appreciate your commentary. Come back often with more insight!

      Ron M.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Apr 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

      We have corrected the language, TF.

  35. dr bloor

    Apr 17, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I bought a Tour Trek on discount for about $80.00 five years ago. The strap system isn’t perfect and it’s a little bit ugly, but it’s got wheels and brakes, it holds my bag, and it folds down into a size about as compact as most anything else out there. I await the article that makes a convincing argument to go over $125 when purchasing a push cart.

    • TR1PTIK

      Apr 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

      No joke. Why do pushcarts have to be so expensive? I’d like to see more sub-$150 offerings.

      • Ronald Montesano

        Apr 17, 2015 at 11:25 am

        Fellows, your comments might be the lead in to my next piece, on what aspects of R&D and parts jack the prices up to the point where consumers take notice. Thank you for your questions and opinions.

        Ron M.

        • TR1PTIK

          Apr 17, 2015 at 12:20 pm

          That would be great. I understand you get what you pay for, but I sure would like to know how much of that $200+ is just markup because of the brand name and reputation.
          I think a cost analysis of the carts in this article compared to “lesser” brands like Caddytek would be very interesting.

          • LF

            Apr 19, 2015 at 11:16 am

            Agreed. I purchased a CaddyTek 13.5 for a 100 bucks at Costco…it’s stable, durable and has most all the features of a Clicgear, absolutely no complaints. After 3 years of ownership it’s hard to imagine anything over a 150.00 bucks not being beyond the point of diminishing returns.

            • Egor

              May 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

              Hi LF. I have the CaddyTek SuperLite Deluxe and the Clicgear. The CaddyTek 13.5 was not available when I purchased the SuperLite but I looked at the pics and reviews online and it looks like a solid cart.

              I bought the Clicgear because it folded down and stays in the trunk all the time (The CT13.5 looks small enough too) whereas the CaddyTek SuperLite is not something I can leave in my car.

              The Clicgear also has the sand and water/coke bottle attachments so I have everything I need when I’m on the course.

              I wish the CaddyTek 13.5 was available when I bought my first one, but weather you have a sub $100 cart or $200+ cart, the important part is – you have a push cart and all the benefits that go along with walking the course.

    • Ben

      Apr 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      I have a Tour Trek as well, I think it’s well designed EXCEPT for the joint that connects the two rear wheels to the main frame. It’s not as sturdy as it should be (to allow the cart to fold up smaller) and as a result the rear wheels sometimes become misaligned, causing the cart to want to veer to the left or right. It’s not a major problem but it’s annoying having my cart always tugging to the right a little. For this reason, I wish I had shelled out the extra $100 bucks to get a Clicgear.

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Accessory Reviews

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Accessory Reviews

Review: Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

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SkyTrak is a personal launch monitor packed with impressive features and accuracy. It sells for $1995, and is aimed at golfers looking for a high-quality, personal launch monitor and golf simulator. I’ve recently hit more than 1,000 golf balls on SkyTrak and tested it head-to-head against Trackman to find out if it truly is as good as it sounds.

Spoiler alert: It is. You can read the full review here.

In writing my SkyTrak review, I felt that I could better serve the GolfWRX Community and the greater golf world with an additional SkyTrak review that focused specifically on SkyTrak’s golf simulation partners. This… is that review.

Golf Simulation Partners

Out of the box, SkyTrak comes with an impressive driving range app, which golfers looking to hone and refine their swing will really appreciate. But one of the ways SkyTrak differentiates itself from other launch monitors, especially lower-priced ones, is by integrating with five leading golf simulation software packages.

This is where SkyTrak starts to widen its appeal. Serious golfers will enjoy playing a full round, but you can also get casual golfers involved. My wife and kids will enjoy playing a round of golf, and I won’t have to worry about holding up the group behind me. As my kids get older, having a simulator at home will be invaluable, allowing them practice at any time… assuming they want to play golf, of course.

SkyTrak Simulation Partners

Data Provided to Each Software

SkyTrak provides each simulation partner with the exact same, five directly measured data points which include: ball speed, launch angle, backspin, side spin and side angle. Each software applies their own ball flight model. For that reason, I did see differences in the ball flight and data displayed.

WGT (World Golf Tour)

Almost every golfer with a mobile phone or a Facebook profile has played or heard of WGT (World Golf Tour). The same game that has been played on mobile phones for years can now be played with SkyTrak. The most obvious difference is the visuals. Their patented, photo-realistic imagery and terrain mapping has created some of the most realistic course simulation available. What’s more interesting is that WGT is included at no additional cost when you purchase the $199.95 per year SkyTrak plan. This is great news for people interested in playing full courses, but not yet ready to commit to another simulator package.

There are 10 full courses that can be played. They include St. Andrews, Chambers Bay, Bandon Dunes and others. Closest-to-the-pin challenges can be played on 18 total courses.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight model is very accurate and similar to what I see in the SkyTrak app. It also calculates my wedge shots correctly, which is typically a slight fade that I cannot seem to fix. Total distance is a bit strong, with some clubs flying an average of five yards farther than normal.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

It is hard to beat the photo-realistic visuals of WGT. It took me a minute to get used to them after playing rounds on the other simulators, but the courses look amazing, especially on a large projector screen. With the combination of the photos and terrain mapping, these courses are spot-on representations of their real-life counterparts.

WGT SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

I wish there were more courses, but WGT is continuing to add to its roster and I value the realism of the courses it has. I would rather higher quality courses over quantity. They also have some “Best Of” bundles, like playing the Best of Bandon Par 3s, which is a lot of fun.

The gameplay is solid, although the options are limited. You don’t have a lot of fancy camera angles or the ability to view a replay of your shot. In fact, some of the starting camera angles aren’t even from the player’s point of view, which is a little weird and hard to get used to. The SkyTrak data presented has everything you would want, except carry distance. The interface is clean and easy to use.

Reliability of the Software

Although the specs say an iPad is required (and preferred if you’re not using a projector), I didn’t experience any issues connecting to either my iPad or my iPhone 6s.

Cost

Included with SkyTrak’s Play & Improve Package

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf

I want to love Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, and I almost do. The main game includes really nice, quality courses, and you can purchase add-ons such as Muirfield Village or PGA National for $5.95. Additionally, its Course Forge Software, which is the same software used by Jack Nicklaus Golf course designers, can be used by anyone to create an unlimited number of courses that you can download and play.

You can adjust almost any setting you can imagine, from camera angles that allow you to walk freely around the golf course to video and audio settings that adjust everything from the sky effects to the way the grass looks. This is critical to helping dial in the settings to maximize gameplay for your specific PC setup.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight was similar to what I saw on the SkyTrak range, but the distances were consistently a bit shorter. There is a good chance I could mess around with the various settings and get the numbers to match up, but out of the box, I felt like the distances were slightly shorter across the board.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

I really like the quality of the courses. There is an almost unlimited combination of settings you can use to dial in the visuals to create a very realistic experience. The real courses I downloaded look, appear and play very accurately. The textures of the tee boxes and greens are very realistic.

Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The included courses are a mix of fictional, user-created courses, and real courses with fake names. For example, you can play Florida Glades, which is actually modeled after TPC Sawgrass. I played Muirfield Village while watching coverage of the Memorial last weekend, which was fun.

With the exception of the occasionally shorter distances, the gameplay is excellent. Shots on the fairways and into the greens follow the real-life contours of the course. Just check out the video above to see what I mean.

The game really shines with the smooth camera movements and replay options. I love being able to watch each shot from the player point of view, but also angles like the spectator view. It feels just like TV and is a lot of fun to see my shots from different angles.

Reliability of the Software

This is where Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf falls short, at least for me. During testing, I was never able to get through an entire round without the simulator connection crashing, which meant that SkyTrak was no longer connected to the simulator software. This is an issue with Perfect Golf reported by others, too. As of June 1st, the company provided an update that has solved this issue for me, and I can now get through a full round, but it is something to keep in mind.

Cost

Multiple packages starting at $99.95 per year for the driving range package. It’s $199.95 per year for the simulation package, and $249.95 per year for everything including the ability to play user-created courses or compete in online tournaments.

TruGolf E6

TruGolf E6 feels and plays like the most solid of all the simulator options. Each of the 87 total courses are mapped using precise terrain and course data, and you can tell they spent a lot of time making each course feel as realistic and accurate as possible.

The app has numerous settings to control time of day, wind, lighting, camera angles and more. Course elevation is accurate, and factored into the ball flight. The base software includes a driving range with target practice, chipping area, and a putting area.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight, carry and total distance are almost identical to what I see in the SkyTrak app.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

The quality of each course is impressive. Fairways and greens are responsive and variable, mimicking the actual terrain of the course. The textures, shadows, and lighting are realistic. And the camera movements to follow the ball or during replays are natural. The overall graphics are not quite as good as Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf or The Golf Club, but still very solid.

TruGolf E6 SkyTrak Partner

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The main package includes 15 championship courses, including Pinehurst  No. 2, Bay Hill, Gleneagles and others. You can also buy seven other packs of courses, each for a one-time fee.

The actual gameplay is very realistic. The standard camera angles feel like I am watching a shot from my actual point of view, but I can also watch the replay from various other camera angles. Putting is realistic, even if I haven’t yet mastered putting on SkyTrak. And if you’re looking to practice a specific hole on a course, you can choose to play only that hole.

Reliability of the Software

Rock solid. Throughout my entire testing, I never had any software issues.

Cost

$299 per year in addition to the SkyTrak Game Improvement Package. Additional course packs can be purchased for $240-500 each.

The Golf Club Game

There is so much to like about The Golf Club.  The graphics are quite possibly the best of any of the simulators (up to 4K Ultra HD) and allow you to move around the course in real-time. There are 100,000+ high definition courses, you can create your own courses, and TGC has live tournaments. There is even an announcer who gives you the play-by-play.

Ball Flight and Data

Just like TruGolf E6, the ball flight model and key data points are very similar to what I see on the SkyTrak range. I have noticed some deviation, more total distance for example, but for the most part, the results are very similar and accurate.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

I can’t deny having access to 100k+ courses isn’t a strength, but it is also a weakness. You will never get bored if you own this software, but if you like playing realistic golf courses, it can be difficult to navigate. With so many “Augusta National” or “St. Andrews” courses listed, it is hard to find one to play that truly feels realistic. I selected an “Augusta National Sunday Pin Position” course and saw white-capped mountains in the distance teeing off No. 1. There certainly aren’t mountains around Augusta.

The Golf Club SkyTrak Partner

I’ll say it again, the HD visuals are outstanding, especially if your system can max out the settings.

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

You’ve got access to a ton of courses for free, which will be  huge for many people. The gameplay is also excellent, with realistic bounces and rolls on the fairways and greens. The rough and sand are penalizing, and putting and chipping around the green is accurate.

Reliability of the Software

I have had some minor connectivity issues with TGC. But other than that, the rest of the software has worked great.

Cost

$479/year or a one-time fee of $895.

Creative Golf 3D

Creative Golf 3D, the newest integration with SkyTrak, offers some unique twists on the traditional simulators by focusing more on entertainment than pure simulation. Sure, there is a range and you can play up to 100 courses located in Europe, but more importantly, you have access to 20 different entertainment-focused games including island targets, mini-golf, and abandoned factory demolition.

I can see playing mini-golf with my kids even before sticking them on the SkyTrak range. Fun is the real power of Creative Golf 3D, and yet another way that SkyTrak differentiates itself from other launch monitors or simulators on the market.

Ball Flight and Data

The ball flight and data matches up nicely with the SkyTrak ball flight model. I haven’t noticed any issues with distances or other data points not lining up.

Course Accuracy and Visuals

All the courses are based on real elevation and satellite data, which is evident when you play a round. While I’ve never played golf in Europe, I love watching the European Tour partly because they play courses in beautiful parts of the world. Creative Golf 3D captures that beauty by focusing only on courses throughout Europe.

creativegolf_image

The reason I would buy Creative Golf over the others is not for the course play; it’s for the entertainment options. I really enjoy hitting knock down wedges to smash windows of an abandoned building and playing mini-golf in Europe.

Depth of Included Courses and Quality of Gameplay

The base package includes five courses. You can buy add-on packages for $99 per package (one-time fee) and get access to up to 100 courses. I enjoy hitting shots with snow-capped mountains in the background and the standard camera angles and replay are smooth. The visuals are good, don’t get me wrong, but they feel a little more like a computer game than an actual simulation compared to the other software options.

Reliability of the Software

So far, so good. I haven’t experienced any issues with connectivity to this point.

Cost

$199.95 per year or a one-time fee of $499.95. I like that Creative Golf 3D offers a one-time fee. For those of us who plan to have this simulator for many years, it makes a lot of sense. You can also buy additional course packs for $99.95/one time.

Bottom Line

If I had to choose my favorites so far, one would be Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf for the overall high quality of courses and smooth, realistic gameplay. I also will keep Creative Golf 3D on hand for entertainment options like mini-golf to play with my kids and friends.

But the good news is all of SkyTrak’s five simulation software partners offer high-quality gameplay, realistic and accurate 3D ball flight, and the ability to play 18 holes anytime, anywhere, on some of the best courses around the world.

Further Reading: A Review of the SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

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Accessory Reviews

Review: SkyTrak Personal Launch Monitor

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Pros: Highly accurate data, portable, easy to use, and integrated with some of the best golf simulation software on the market.

Cons: Slight delay between contact and seeing the ball flight. Only tracks the golf ball, and not your club path.

Bottom line: Impressive features, accuracy and price make SkyTrak attractive to a whole new segment of golfers who aren’t in the market for professional launch monitors, but are looking for a high-quality, personal launch monitor and golf simulator.

Overview

If you’ve watched golf on TV in the past year or so, you’ve probably seen Hank Haney talking about SkyTrak, a personal launch monitor that provides accurate shot data and the ability to play full rounds of golf on some of the world’s best courses. To find out if SkyTrak truly is as good as it sounds, I’ve hit over a thousand golf balls, played rounds of golf on every simulation package, and tested SkyTrak head-to-head with Trackman.

SkyTrack Personal Launch Monitor

SkyTrak is a photometric launch monitor, which means it uses high speed cameras to capture a series of images of the golf ball for a few feet right after impact. Ball speed, launch angle, backspin, side spin and side angle are directly measured, and other data points such as carry and total distance are estimated. SkyTrak then creates a realistic, 3D ball flight model (more on this later), which I’ve found to be extremely accurate. It only needs a few feet to capture the images, which means you can use SkyTrak anywhere you can swing a golf club, both indoors and outdoors.

At 7-inches tall and less than 2 pounds, SkyTrak is small enough to fit in a golf bag when heading to the range. It connects wirelessly to your PC or iPad without requiring a WiFi network. And if you’re worried about hitting a hosel rocket and smashing your launch monitor, you can get a protective case.

SkyTrak

The SkyTrak app supports iOS and Windows. Sadly, Mac desktop or laptop users are out of luck. The company is currently working to officially release the SkyTrak app for Android, but a release date has not been provided. Check out the full specs here.

SkyTrak starts at $1,995, but you can often find it offered for $300 off. In addition to purchasing the launch monitor, SkyTrak has three yearly plans:

  • Basic: Limited access to the driving range app and is included at no charge. Included with purchase.
  • Game Improvement: Access to all the features of the app as well as integration with the company’s simulation partners. $99.95 per year.
  • Play & Improve: You get everything with the Play & Improve Plan, including full access to World Golf Tour simulator. 199.95 per year.

Setup and Ease of Use

One area where SkyTrak really shines is how simple and intuitive it is to use. Once the launch monitor was charged, it took me about 2 minutes from start to finish to get connected.

SkyTrak on iPad

The entire application is straightforward and simple to use. Nothing in the app seems like an afterthought. Big icons and visuals make it easy to select what you want to do, even outside with the glare of sunlight bouncing off your iPad. The data points are huge, allowing you to quickly scan the screen as you’re practicing.

The designers didn’t attempt to make the SkyTrak range “feel” like a photo-realistic simulation, and I couldn’t be happier with that decision. When I’m practicing, I want the application to be responsive and accurately display the ball flight and data. While I like that some of the other simulators have a practice area, I will primarily use the SkyTrak range.

SkyTrak Measured Data

Accuracy of the Data

Before we get too deep into the review, I’m pretty sure many of you are wondering, “Great, but is it accurate?” To answer that question, I tested SkyTrak outside on the range and head-to-head against Trackman.

SkyTrak has completed independent robot testing at Golf Laboratories, but I wanted to do my own testing against Trackman. SkyTrack is photo-based and Trackman is radar-based, so there will be variation in the data, but Trackman is the gold standard and I was curious how they stacked up. I headed to BridgeMill Golf Academy and worked with Tom Losinger, Director of Golf Instruction, who ran the head-to-head test.

Head-to-Head Testing

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Data

Before we got started, I set the wind speed, direction, humidity and temperature to the weather at the time in an attempt to normalize the data in the SkyTrak app as much as possible.

On average, SkyTrak was within about 2 percent of what Trackman reported, which I would say is really good. SkyTrak under-reported every metric except spin rate and launch angle. Spin rate is one metric likely more accurate than Trackman because it is directly captured by camera and analyzed.

SkyTrak vs. Trackman Averages

The largest deviation was total yardage, off by 6 percent, with the driver showing the biggest difference. Unfortunately, this is an area that is hard to match up the range conditions to the conditions in SkyTrak, which will impact this number. Carry distance was within 3 percent, which is more inline with my expectations. I should note that SkyTrak’s robot testing against Trackman showed significantly closer carry and total distance data.

Related: The Hottest Launch Monitors of 2017

Like other photo-based launch monitors, SkyTrak only captures the ball flight. Clubhead speed is an approximation, and I’ve found it to be more inaccurate than accurate, especially with the wedges. If you need club data, you will likely need to invest in a more expensive, commercial-grade launch monitor.

3D Ball Flight Model

In addition to the actual data from Trackman, I also hit a lot of balls on the range focusing on how my real ball flight and distance match up to the 3D ball flight.

While SkyTrak is only a couple years old, the team behind SkyTrak has been refining, testing and improving their 3D ball flight model for over a decade. I can say without hesitation that it’s an impressive model. The video above shows a side-by-side video of an 8-iron on the range compared to the 3D-generated ball flight presented by SkyTrak. I landed my shot just short and right of the target.

SkyTrak Range Testing

There have been a few times during testing, mostly with my wedges, where the ball flight did not perfectly match the real flight. But the vast majority of the time, it was spot on. I even spent time intentionally hitting the dreaded, um, sh**k, which SkyTrak picked up perfectly.

What you can do with the SkyTrak app

Practice Range

I have spent the most time using the SkyTrak practice range, even using it to test eight of this season’s newest golf balls. The range is laid out with big data points and simple controls. You can adjust the target distance, set parameters such as wind, humidity and elevation, switch between the range and data views, and also see your shot history.

Basically, you have everything you need to practice effectively.

SkyTrack Driving Range

You can also choose from a number of different camera angles to view your shots live and in replay. SkyTrak recently added the ability to offset the camera angle, which is a much needed feature for people hitting into projector screens where space is limited and they aren’t able to line up in the center of the screen.

Challenges

Challenges are a lot of fun, especially with other people. You can do a closest-to-the-pin challenge, target practice, and surely a favorite of many people, a long-drive competition.

SkyTrak Target Practice

For each challenge, you have various settings, such as target distance and the number of shots for each person. All the same data points available on the range are available during the challenges.

I like the Target Practice a lot. It simulates some of the real-world pressure you might feel to hit a good shot. Instead of just a distance from the target, you get a score of 0-100, which helps to show how accurate you are with each club.

Skills Assessment

SkyTrak Skills Assessment

The Skills Assessment and Bag Mapping (see below) are two fairly new features that users are really excited about. If you’ve ever run through a Trackman Combine, the Skills Assessment will seem very familiar.

You set up the number of clubs you want to hit and the target distance. I like being able to specify the clubs and distance instead of being forced to hit to a specific yardage. I ran my father-in-law, Tony, through the skills assessment and was able to focus in on the distances specific to his game.

Setting up the assessment only takes a couple minutes. Then you’re guided through each club and all the data is stored. At the end of the assessment, you get a very detailed printout that shows your dispersion, accuracy, shot tendency and handicap for each club as well as an overall SkyTrak Handicap. This data is incredible.

SkyTrak Skills Assessment Tony

On the course, Tony’s miss is left and short. During the assessment, his miss was left and short. Not only that, his SkyTrak Handicap came out to be 22.5. Tony currently plays to a 23.

Bag Mapping

Similar to the Skills Assessment in terms of data and the final report, the Bag Mapping feature walks you through your entire bag to help you understand your carry distance, tendency, shot shape, and gapping between clubs.

This is great for any golfer, even if you think you know what your distances are with each club. But many golfers simply don’t have a good understanding of their carry distances, and this feature will help.

SkyTrak Bag Mapping

I’ve done an entire bag map, but recently ran through it again focusing only on my wedges. Lately, I’ve felt like my gaps aren’t correct and sure enough, they aren’t. Now I have the data I need, and can focus my practice, and possibly make some club changes, using the results.

The Momentary Shot Delay

One of the most frequent, negative comments I’ve read from golfers about SkyTrak is the 2-3 second, shot-to-show delay. You hit a shot and instead of instantly showing up on the screen flying down the fairway, there is a momentary delay while SkyTrak calculates the ball flight.

I’ll admit I was also disappointed at first, too, but I got over that pretty quickly. In fact, I use the brief pause to guess what the shot will do based purely on feel. Will it be short, long, push, pull, fade or draw? This weakness was easily turned into a strength, and I don’t think this reason alone should make anyone overlook SkyTrak.

Simulation Packages

Accurate data and the ability to hone your swing on a practice range in your own home is reason enough to buy a personal launch monitor, but SkyTrak also integrates with five leading simulation software partners, allowing you to play thousands of different courses around the world.

World Golf Tour(WGT), probably the most well-known mobile golf game, is included with the Play & Improve package. You can also choose from The Golf Club Game, Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, TruGolf E6, and Creative Golf 3D.

I’ve spent time playing and practicing with each of SkyTrak’s simulation software partners.  You can read my thoughts here.

Bottom Line

I couldn’t be more impressed with this launch monitor. The shortcomings — a momentary delay after impact before the shot registers and the lack of club data — are worthwhile tradeoffs to get access to a launch monitor and simulator for under $2,000.

Personally, I will be using SkyTrak for serious game improvement and practice, as well as for fun. I have no doubt it will have a positive impact on my golf game going forward. The accuracy of the data, simplicity of use, and the depth of simulation partners, make SkyTrak one of the best golf technology products I’ve reviewed.

Further Reading: We Review of the Golf Simulator Software for SkyTrak

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