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Review: Big Max Blade+, Z360 and IQ+ push carts

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In April of 2015, a definitive guide to purchasing a Push Cart was published by GolfWRX. Soon after its release, readers began to wonder why we hadn’t included Big Max and its line of push carts. Wonder no longer, good readers! Big Max now has its day in the sun.

Big Max trolleys have a wide following in Europe, given the company’s base in Vienna, Austria. The majority of its models are three-wheeled, although the Wheeler model has an added fourth tire. Since I wrote the initial guide, I’ve convinced myself that four wheels are no better than three, unless it’s a question of aesthetics.

Big Max debuted three new models in 2015. The Blade+ stores flat and opens quickly for a prompt getaway to the first tee. The TI-1000 Autofold collapses and stores with a solitary hand motion. The Z360 offers a rotational front wheel that allows 360-degree turn capability in the tightest of quarters.

In addition to the three new lines, eight other full-size trolleys appear on the Big Max website, along with five pull trolleys and three junior models. The Austrian enterprise appears to have the field covered and is deserving of this extended coverage for our guide.

Wheels and Parking Brake

Big Max equips its push carts with wide, silent wheels and bearings. Whether you are a walker or a jogger, your wheels will serve you well. The on-handle, cabled parking break assembly that comes standard on Big Max carts is precise, secure and reliable. Try to push the cart ahead with the brake engaged, and you’ll get a stomach-full of handle: the cart won’t budge. The release action is simple and the departure, quite smooth. In order to keep the Blade + model trimmed down, the cable system was replaced by two foot breaks.

Pouch, Post and Pocket

There’s a bit of variety from Big Max in the storage-compartment offerings. The Blade+ has a narrow, plastic unit that will fit a phone, keys, scorecard and pencil. You bought the blade for its compact nature, so don’t expect double-wide. The Z360 has a similar compartment, with greater width. The IQ+ has even more room for gadgets, thanks to a mesh pouch that drops down from the handle. You’ll fit all of the above plus a water bottle and snacks in there. If your bag’s pockets don’t offer enough storage for your supplies and you need the cart compartment to break the deal, do your research. No one wants a yard sale of sundries trailing behind down the fairway.

Pack, Strap and Go

Z360_folded

One of the newer tendencies in push-cart technology is the use of bungee rope to hold golf bags in place. It’s too early to say that the traditional strap has been replaced across the industry by the flexible cord, but perhaps that day is not far off. Big Max has embraced the use of the bungee on its models and a little practice makes the thin yet powerful device a snap to secure.

Dual bungees at the top and the base of the bag ensure that there is no movement during transportation. The ropes are soft enough, and the connection, stable enough, that no wearing-down of the golf bag itself takes place, due to friction.

The simplest, in-and-out method is the one employed by Sun Mountain, the no-strap. Plastic retaining arms bend open to form a cradle for the golf bag. If the terrain inclines steeply, or the speed and bumps combine for a rough ride, there’s a chance that the bag might bounce around or even spill out. When the round is completed, the security of the strap (found on BagBoy carts) or the bungee (here and on ClicGear models) adds a handful of seconds to the start time, and peace of mind to the round.

Summary

Big Max should be considered when purchasing a cart. As a European company, its list of distributors in the U.S. is not long. When I searched near my home, in a large metropolitan area of the mid-northeast, the closest handlers were 67 and 188 miles away.

What makes Big Max a big plus is its list of accessories. The showcase add-on is the I-Dry Raincover, a full-body rain suit for your bag and clubs. The two-piece system employs velcro and zippers to shield your clubs from the elements. The frame anchors solidly in two holes on the retaining arm assembly and affords easy access to clubs.

Big Max should score above its competitors in the accessory area, for the fact that it had the forethought to add two Quick Lok post holes to the handle. A standard add-on is the umbrella holder, but there is only one other accessory (the flexible PDA holder) that would utilize the second post hole. A series of accessories that connect in other ways include hand warmers, range-finder case, and a cooler bag.

Big Max Models

Blade +

BIG MAX Blade+ BlackRed

 

Pros: Most lightweight cart tested. Easy storage in a wide, flat space. Smooth ride for an economy model.

Cons: Base where bag rests is less sturdy than other models. Foot brakes on each wheel might prove slightly cumbersome to some golfers.

Z360

BIG MAX Z360_black_yellow

Pros: 360-degree rotation of front wheel is found on very few models, eliminating awkward “stuck” moments.

Cons: Absence of a mesh under-pouch for storage limits storage to golf bag pockets and the medium-sized, plastic container on the handle.

IQ +

IQ_plus_black

Pros: We’re down to milimeters here, but something about this cart and the way it not only collapses, but carries in a collapsed state, stands out. Great ride around the course, with the awesome under-storage pouch.

Cons: Across the board, the absence of a beverage holder. Perhaps the next accessory, to occupy post hole two, might be a state-of-the-art receptacle for cans and bottles.

[wrx_retail_links productid=”34″]

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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.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Glenn

    Jan 26, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Purchased big max 4 wheeler 2 months ago. Had to return it. It kept falling over backwards and the braking system kept slipping. Hopeless. I have only had one other golf trundler which was a 15 yr old sun mountain which never missed a beat. Moved onto Stewart trundler

  2. rock-n-fire

    Dec 3, 2015 at 8:48 am

    I purchased a Blade on sale a few months before the plus came out. It is the first cart I’ve every used and it is fantastic. Very easy to take care of, folds up into a tiny package in no time, flat, and very easy to maneuver.

    As opposed to the author, I believe there are fewer accessories for the Blade than most other pushcarts, but the ones they sell are excellent. But I am not really interested in all the extra stuff, this is a lightweight cart that carries clubs, with a small container for keys, tees, etc., just perfect for me. I recommend it heartily.

  3. golfraven

    Dec 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Actually I was one of the readers mentioning Big Max. I have the SMART model, similar to the Z360, and love it. Had it for 4-5 seasons now and it work like a horse. Even had it falling to the side accidentally couple of times and nothing happened – frame and wheels are still perfect. Certainly a recommendation. Would suggest the Z360 for guys with larger Tour bags, the IQ for women as those come in different colours and the Blade if you have a Porsche 911 and room is critical and you want to fold it flat. Manufacture guaranty is 5 years which is gives you the sense of security – I even had it extended to 7 years with a registration I believe.

  4. TMTC

    Dec 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Where or How do any of these carts rate, in comparison to the ‘April of 2015, a definitive guide to purchasing a Push Cart’? i.e., 1st, 2nd, Last?
    Regards,
    TMTC

    • Ronald Montesano

      Dec 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Same writer, so here goes: there is no definitive “Best Cart” out there. There are a number that offer excellent options, so it comes down to what you like and what you need. If you have a friend whose cart is da’ bomb, ask her/him to let you use it for a few holes and see if you really love its features. If so, you might be ready to get off the flirt bus and go whole-hog on a long-term relationship.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels

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Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

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Product: Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Pitch: From Adidas: “Designed for protection from the elements, these golf shoes have enhanced cushioning to return energy on every swing. The shoes feature a spikeless outsole that flexes with your foot and has strategically placed lugs for outstanding grip and balance. An innovative closure system is built for micro-adjustments so you get the exact fit you need.”

Our take on Adidas Forgefiber Boa golf shoes

Golf shoes are curious creatures existing in a strange place? No? Finally free of the gravitational pull of traditionalism, shoe styles are finally at a place where form follows function. And while you may pine for the days of saddle shoes aesthetically, your feet (and likely your golf swing) surely do not.

While the shoes are also available in gray/white and black/white colorways, we tested the bolder dark marine variant.

Now, “good” footwear, as we are constantly wont to admit, is highly subjective. As of yet, you can’t test two pairs of kicks on a TrackMan and determine which is superior (rumored featured of TrackMan 5). So leaving aside aesthetics and how you like your shoes to fit, we provide the most valuable information, that is, regarding stability, cushioning, and traction. However, in this case, it’s also worth noting the closure system does allow for a more precise fit (and one that stays in place) than lace-up shoes do.

With respect to comfort, first of all, anything Boost is going to be comfortable, and these shoes are no exception. And whether you refer to the “Forgefiber in the upper features heat-pressed, TPU-coated fibers…stitched in” to the upper (as Adidas does), or merely the sensation that the Forgefiber Boas provide a solid foundation during the swing, the truth is the same: sound, stable here.

A look at the Puremotion outsole showcases some serious spikeless technology that also offers performance on par with the very best in spikeless footwear.

A final word: These shoes are no porous sieve, either, as you might be concerned they could be on first glance. Adidas’ Climastorm technology in the exterior yields a respectable level of water-repellency.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Swag ball markers and divot tool

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Product: Swag ball markers and divot tool

Pitch:  From Swag: “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do.”

Our take on Swag’s ball markers and divot tool

Swag Golf is creating some of the most sought after products on the market right now, with their funky headcovers and putters all being in high demand. Well, the companies ball markers and divot tool are no different, both of which are easily identifiable as coming from this emerging company who create high-quality products.

The Skull is the companies flagship symbol, and their Stainless Steel Skull Marker their most recognizable marker. The skull marker features black and fluorescent paint, with the bright sunglasses on the marker giving it a vibrant look. 100% CNC milled, the tool contains the companies name engraved on the back of the marker.

A variation on the Skull Marker is the companies Rainbow Skull Marker. Just in case the black and fluorescent paint job on the former wasn’t flashy enough for you, Swag’s Rainbow Skull Marker will make sure to get you noticed, containing the same features as their Skull Marker with a Rainbow PVD finish.

Moving away from their Skull Marker’s, Swag’s St Paddy’s Day Cap Marker is more than worthy of a mention. Identical in size to a bottle cap, the St Paddy’s Day inspired marker features a hand polished golden finish, with the word Swag in green written on the front, while on the back the words “Swag Golf Co.” as well as the company’s philosophy “Don’t give a putt” featured.

The company describe their bottle cap/marker as not being the first bottle cap/marker on the market but “the best one” out there. While I can’t confirm how true that statement is, I can certainly say it is an excellent one.

Swag’s first divot tool is the DTF Divot Tool. Get your head out of the gutter, that stands for “Down To Fix”. The device comes in a black and lime paint job, and an impressive weight of 49 Grams which should ensure that it doesn’t go missing on you.

The divot tool, like their ball markers, is 100% CNC milled and made from 303 Stainless Steel. For a Swag product, the writing and branding on the tool is quite minimalist, and it is as clean and sharp looking a divot tool as I’ve seen from the 2019 releases.

As always with Swag products, the only issue is the limited releases and how quickly the items go, which is no surprise considering the unique products as well as the quality provided. They are, however, continuing to create and release more and more products and their website, as well as their social media sites, are all well worth keeping a close eye on if you’re looking to snag some of the companies top gear in the future.

 

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