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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.

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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

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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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

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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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

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. 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.

Verdict

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.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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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.

Review

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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