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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

The Wedge Guy: From “secret” to 5 basics for a better wedge game

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First of all, thanks to all of you who read and gave last week’s post such high marks. And for all of you who have sent me an email asking for me to address so many topics. Keep those coming and I’ll never run out of things to write about.

In response to so many of those who asked for more on the basics, I want to start a series of articles this week to address some of what I consider the basics as you move your wedge game from greenside chipping, back to “full” wedge distances.

While I certainly do not want to try to replace the skills and contributions of a good instructor, what I hope to accomplish over the next few posts is to give you some of what I consider the most sound and basic of fundamentals as you approach shots from the green back to 100-130 yards, or what you consider “full” swing pitching wedge distance.

So, to get this series kicked off, let’s take the most basic of greenside chips, where the ball lies in a reasonably decent lie 3-10 feet from the edge of the green. I know there are many theories and approaches to chipping the ball, from a “putt-stroke” to hitting them all with a lob wedge, but I’m going to focus on what I consider the most simple and basic of approaches to chipping, so here we go:

Club selection. For golfers who are not highly skilled in this shot and who do not yet want to try to exhibit tons of creativity, my theory is that it is much easier to master one basic technique, then choose the right club to deliver the appropriate carry/roll combination. Once you have done a little practice and experimenting, you should really understand that relationship for two to four different clubs, say your sand wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge.

Geometry. By that I mean to “build” the shot technique around the club and ball relationship to your body, as those are static. Start with your club soled properly, so that it is not standing up on the toe or rocked back on the heel. With the ball centered in the face, the shaft should be leaning very slightly forward toward the hole. Then move into your stance position, so that your lead arm is hanging straight down from your shoulders and your upper hand can grasp the grip with about 1-2” of “grip down” (I hate the term “choke up”). I’m a firm believer that the lead arm should not angle back toward the body, or out toward the ball, as either compromises the geometry of the club. The stance should be rather narrow and a bit open, weight 70% on your lead foot, and the ball positioned just forward of your trailing foot.

Relax. This is a touch shot, so it needs a very light grip on the club. Tension in the hands and forearms is a killer on these. I like to do a “pressure check” just before taking the club back, just to make sure I have not let the shot tighten me up.

The body core is key. This is not a “handsy” shot, but much more like a putt in that the shoulders turn away from the shot and back through, with the arms and hands pretty quiet. Because of the light grip, there will, by necessity, be some “loading” as you make the transition at the end of the backswing, but you want to “hold” that making sure your lead shoulder/forearm stay ahead of the clubhead through the entire through-stroke. This insures – like I pointed out last week – that the club stays in front of your body through the entire mini-swing.

Control speed with core speed. I think a longer stroke/swing makes for a smoother tempo on these shots. Don’t be afraid to take the club back a bit further than you might otherwise think, and just make the through-stroke as s-m-o-0-t-h as possible. Avoid any quickness or “jab-iness” in the stroke at all. Once you experiment a bit, you can learn how to control your body core rotation speed much easier than you can control hand speed. And it is nearly impossible to get too quick if you do that.

Again, I am certainly not here to replace or substitute for good instruction, and I know there are a number of approaches to chipping. This is just the one that I have found easier to learn and master in relation to the time you have to spend on your short game practice.

Next week, we’ll move back to those shorter pitches up to about 30 yards.

And keep those emails coming, OK? [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing TaylorMade’s NEW SIM2 woods and hybrids!

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TaylorMade’s new SIM2 woods and hybrids are out and I have had them on the range to test. SIM2 seems to offer better shots on mishits throughout the line, keeping those shots in play better than last year. Everything seems to be improved in one way or another and I personally love the SIM2 Max driver and fairway!

 

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: What’s your takeaway waggle?

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Two wonderful examples on the PGA Tour are Sung Jae Im and Justin Thomas. We explain how this takeaway waggle brings your awareness full circle to how your backswing matches the direction you want to start the ball on. With awareness and confirmation that the backswing fits and that you don’t have to rush through it. You get a sense of calm that you can accomplish the task you set out and your chances at consistency have increased exponentially.

 

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