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Opinion & Analysis

Review: Big Max Blade IP push cart

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In 2015, I donated my original Big Max Blade+ to a new golfer in Bandon, Oregon. She had taken up the game upon accepting a position at the resort, and I suggested a push cart, to relieve stress on the shoulders and back. It was the simplest cart I’d encountered at the time, in terms of storage and formation (is there a better word for the unfolding of the cart upon extraction from the trunk?) In the midst of a cross-country trip, I played 8 rounds at Bandon Dunes, using the Blade+ on each one. In 2018, Big Max offers a new model, the Blade IP. Based on my experience with its predecessor, the IP is worth a look and a review. I hope to hold onto this one a bit longer, but if cause arises, it will find a new owner. Have a glance at 4 reasons why the big Max Blade IP should be the new push cart in your game.

Reason One: Storage

After a round of golf, we store our cart. First, in the car; next, in the garage or basement. Golfers have an inkling how easy this will be, when the box arrives at your door. The Blade IP rests within, already assembled. You’ll simply extract it from the cardboard storage material and unfold it. With the Blade series, no more searching for a cube of space in the trunk. The Blade IP lays flat and sits cheerfully atop the other bags and carts you’ve stored post-round. In retrospect, although the predecessor also lay flat, the unfolding and refolding did take a bit of work (and an advanced degree.) No such issue with this updated model. According to the home office of Big Max, the principal difference is in the folding mechanism. BIG MAX has completely simplified this into a three stage process. You simply fold the handle, push the two parts of the body together and then lift the cart to see the wheels flip automatically under the body.

I drive a smallish hatchback, and space is at a premium in my ride. With the Blade IP, I’m able to slide it in atop the golf back, with room to spare for extras. Quick run to the store on the way home? Room. Extra “gifts” from the in-laws? Room. Sleeping baby? Car seat.

Reason Two: The look & features

The IP model is sleeker. I have the color black, and confess that it has a bit of the Batmobile in it, at least in the hue.

There are no clips any more (other than on the handle) and the engineering is far superior to the BLADE+. Small details that have improved are the finish on the cart. It has a matte metallic look which is a nice improvement and it also has a bottle holder integral to the organizer panel.

When describing the look, you don’t pause for long. If it’s hot, it’s hot. And the Blade IP is fire.

Reason Three: The weight

It weighs very little, and is as easy to carry as a suitcase. Once the wheels and carriage lock into storage position, there is no threat of unfolding while in transit. As I carried my bag and my cart to the first tee, I was tempted to do curls with the bag (left arm) and the Blade IP (right arm.) Problem was, the balance was off. The bag had to way 2 times as much as the cart. That, and I would have looked quite silly.

The Blade IP weighs in at 14 pounds. It pushes smoothly, thanks to an adjustable handle. When I first began to push, the narrowness of the handle struck me. Then, within 10 paces, I instinctively dropped one hand to my side and began to swing it. I realized that most people don’t push their cart with 2 hands, for very long. They utilize right or left, or both, but not often simultaneously. The IP allows for the single-hand push; actually, it encourages and accommodates it.

Reason Four: The ride

I mention it a bit under Reason Three, as weight segues perfectly to ride. Come to think of it, storage also segues perfectly to ride. Even though the Blade IP is a lightweight model, it has plenty of room for ad-on equipment, like umbrella hanger, towel and glove storage, range finder bag and bottle holder. There’s no need to fish for things in your bag pockets; the handle accommodates nearly everything you might want. Let’s return to the ride. Big Max draws little attention to the construction of the wheels. Nothing beyond the vertical hinge of the forward wheel, and the snap-in/snap-out of the rear wheels. There’s a hidden bonus in the way these wheels turn. There might not be high-end hydraulics, or wonder-bearings at work, but it sure seems that way. I’ve yet to look down at the wheels, wondering what might be wrong with them.

The first time I took out the Blade IP, I was paired with a media personality who had learned the game in Florida. He was incredulous when my pal and I explained that we would walk, that we would easily keep up with him and his buddy in their riding cart, and that we would probably play faster. Seeing was believing that day. I don’t know that he will ever abandon the rider for the pusher, but he should. If you’ve a few spare minutes, have a look at this promotional video (complete with groovy jazz music) on the Big Max Blade IP. It should convince you to consider its purchase for your next push cart.

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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.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Andy

    Oct 12, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    So…do they have a cigar holder yet? Required equipment, ya know.

  2. Dom

    Sep 4, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    So… where can we buy this?

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Opinion & Analysis

Slow players: step aside! A reflection on pace of play by a fed-up golfer

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I’m just gonna say it: You are more than likely, in my opinion, a slow player.

This has nothing to do with handicap, riding vs. walking, or (most likely) the course—it’s about attitude and habits.

Where does this blanket statement come from, you might ask. Well, I consider myself a quick player. Alone and walking on a normal-length (6,500-6,800 yard) course, I can get around in about two hours with nobody in front of me—easily. I don’t run, I walk at a normal pace with intent to get to my ball see what needs to be done, and I hit the shot. When playing alone in a cart, I make it around in under an hour-and-a-half regularly, which makes for either an early day or 36 holes before 10 a.m.

Now before going any further, I need to make a few things clear

  • I’m not an anti-social curmudgeon who gets no pleasure from playing golf with others. I actually prefer to play with other people and talk about golf and whatever else is going on.
  • I’m NOT a golf snob. I mean in some ways I can be, but on the other hand, I’ll take a cart, drink beers, blast music, have fun, pick up short ones, and pay little attention to score. It all depends on the situation.
  • I’m still there to play well. Playing fast and playing well are NOT mutually exclusive. The two can be easily achieved during the same round of golf. Too many people going over too many things is only creating more problems…but I’ll get to that.

So where does this all begin? Like many things, on the putting green before an early round of golf. It is my personal belief that if you are one of the first groups off for the day, you should play in around 3-3.5 hours max. Regardless of handicap, it should be one of those “unwritten” rules of golf—like not randomly yelling in someone’s backswing or walking through someone’s line. I have no problem with a round taking more than four hours at 2 p.m. on a busy Saturday afternoon in July when the course is packed—because the chance of me being out then is pretty close to zero anyway. It’s about the golf course setting expectations with the players especially early in the day and making sure that players understand there are expectations. A marshal tip-toeing around a slow group instead of just asking then to let faster groups play through is the bane of my golfing existence.

Based on previous life experience, it’s actually very similar (but in a weird way opposite) to the restaurant business. A group at a table should never just sit around on a Friday or Saturday night at prime time when there is a lineup, and they have already finished their meal and paid the check. That table is real estate, and if you want to occupy that space, you better keep paying, it’s inconsiderate to the next guests waiting and to the servers that make money from the people they seat—it’s called the restaurant business for a reason. If you want to go on a quiet lunch date and sit and chat with a friend when there are plenty of empty tables, by all means, take your sweet time (and hopefully tip generously), but at the end of the day, it’s about being aware of the situation.

On a wide-open course with everyone behind you, as a golfer, you should be mindful that you should play quickly. If its 7 a.m. and the group behind has been waiting in the fairway for five minutes while you plumbob that six-footer for triple with nothing on the line, maybe it’s time to move to the next tee, or be mindful and let the group behind play through. Don’t think for a second I’m just playing with a bunch of scratch golfers either. I play with golfers of all skill levels, and when I play with beginners I always make sure to politely explain any etiquette in a nice way, and if we “fall behind” to let anyone waiting to play through—it’s common courtesy. Usually, these rounds are played later in the day when we can take our time but if a group comes up we let them on their way as soon as possible.

With so much talk about golf in the UK thanks to The Open Championship, it’s crazy to me how the culture of golf is so different in North America where golf is meant to be social, enjoy the day, take your time, a place to do business (please just pull my hair out now), etc. While in the UK, it’s about playing for score and socializing after: that’s the reason for the 19th hole in the first place. They often employ match play to keep pace up vs. putting everything out too. Golf was never meant to be a full-day event. It’s a game to be played and then one with your day.

I realize we have a problem and instead of just complaining about it, I want to make some simple suggestions for helping things move along a little faster

  • If you are going to use a distance-measuring device have it ready.
  • If you for sure lost a ball, don’t waste time: just drop one—on that note if you are on the other side of the hole, don’t walk across to help your friend look in three inches of grass, play up to the green.
  • Place your bag, or drive your cart to where you will be walking after you finish the hole. It was one of the first things I was taught as a junior and it still amazes me how many people leave their clubs at the front of the green or opposite side of where they will be walking next.
  • Play from the proper tees!!!! I shouldn’t have to explain this.
  • If you are playing with a friend, try match play or Stableford—it’s amazing how this can speed up play.

Golf should never be an all-day activity! If you choose to play early, be mindful of the fact that you hold the power to keep the course on time for the rest of the day. Be respectful of the other players on the course who might want to play quicker—let them through. If you want to be slower and you know it’s going to be a social outing, try to pick a more appropriate time of day to play—like late afternoon.

We all play golf for different reasons but be honest with yourself about your reasons and hopefully, we can all get along out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Talking about slow play

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Ryan has guest Rob Miller, from the Two Guys Talking Golf podcast, to talk about slow play. They debate on how fast is fast, how much time should 18 holes take, and the type of players who can play fast and slow.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Opinion & Analysis

If Jurassic Park had a golf course, this would be it

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I have had the good fortune of playing some unbelievably awesome tracks in my time—places like Cypress Point, Olympic, Sahalee, LACC, Riviera, and a bunch of others.

However, the Bad Little 9 is the most fun golf course I have ever played…period.

Imagine standing on the first tee of a 975-yard track and praying to God almighty you finish with all your golf balls, your confidence, and more importantly, your soul. Imagine, again, for example, standing on a 75-yard par 3 with NOWHERE to hit it beyond an eight-foot circle around the flag, where any miss buries you in a pot bunker or down into a gully of TIGHTLY mown grass.

Sound fun?

I have played the BL9 twice at this point, with the first time being on a Challenge Day in November. It was cold, windy and playing as tough as it can. My playing partners Chris N., Tony C., and I barely made it out alive. I made four pars that day—shot 40—and played well. Do the math, that’s 13 over in five holes on a course where the longest hole is 140 yards.

It’s a golf course that makes zero sense: it’s punishing, it’s unfair, it’s crazy private, and on “Challenge Day,” it’s un-gettable even for the best players in the world. Rumor has it that there is an outstanding bet on Challenge Day for $1,000 cash to the individual that breaks par. That money is still yet to be paid to anyone…keep in mind Scottsdale National has PXG staff playing and practicing there allllll the time. To my knowledge, James Hahn has the lowest score ever at one over. That round apparently had multiple 20-foot par putts.

The Jackson/Kahn team which is responsible for the two big courses at Scottsdale National (Land Mine and The Other Course) were tasked with a challenge by Mr. Parsons: create a 9-hole course with ZERO rules. Take all conventional wisdom out of it and create an experience for the members that they will NEVER forget.

In this video, you will get a little context as to how it came together straight from the horse’s mouth, so I won’t get into that here.

I will end with this before you get into the video.

The Bad Little 9 sits in a very exclusive club in North Scottsdale, most will never see it. HOWEVER, what the idea of it represents is a potential way into bringing more people into the game, making it more accessible, saving real estate, playing in less time and having an experience. Hell, YouTube made short-form content a necessity in our culture. Perhaps the idea behind the Bad Little 9 will inspire short form golf?

I’m in.

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19th Hole

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