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
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
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
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!
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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
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Sun Mountain MC3 Micro-Cart ($199.99)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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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GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app
An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.
Crossrope – The details
Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.
This is NOT your middle school jump rope
The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.
The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.
When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.
As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com
WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of
One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.
So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.
These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.
Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims
The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things
- Design that delivers more power and stability
- Custom comfort that lasts all day
These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.
Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.
On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.
After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.
I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII
Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.
Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.
Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII
First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.
In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.
Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.
Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.
The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.
The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.
Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.
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