After having knee surgery in late February, I thought my days of walking 18 holes a few times a week might be over. I never have been a golfer who sees walking as being an integral part of the game, but given a choice, I just liked walking and getting some exercise rather than riding in a cart.
Until last month, walking had meant carrying my bag, which typically holds 14 clubs, a dozen balls, a snack and water bottle, a laser rangefinder, a jacket and other junk I’ve collected over the years and have been too lazy to throw away.
Now, however, walking means using a push cart. And I’ve got to tell you, I love it.
I had always associated pull carts and push carts with folks who can’t lift a golf bag, who go to dinner at 4 p.m. and who turn on the television and expect to see Lawrence Welk. But cruising the internet, I found several studies that espouse the virtues of using a push cart. I saw college players on TV using push carts during the NCAA Championship, and then I saw how much nicer today’s push carts are than the rusty contraptions I remember from my junior golf days.
Enlisting the help of my friend Joe, I brought a Big Max Blade Quattro and a Sun Mountain Speed Cart GT to a local club. (There are several other brands available, too.) We played the course using them, swapping after a few holes so that we each tried both carts. Each took less than a minute to assemble after taking them out of the boxes, and both fold down to easily fit in the trunk of any car.
Joe, who almost always rides when he plays, loved the idea of walking and used the three-wheeled Sun Mountain cart on the first few holes. He appreciated how easy it was to push his gear and, being a salesman, also loved being able to keep his cell phone in the specially designed holder so he could monitor it without carrying it. The bicycle-style hand brake locked one of the large back wheels in place and kept the cart from moving when he walked away and played his shots.
I started our round using the four-wheeled Big Max cart and also found it made moving my bag a breeze. The padded handlebar was comfortable, the foot-pedal break worked well and the big, covered pocket area easily held my Bluetooth speaker, golf balls, laser rangefinder, car keys and wallet.
After switching, there did not seem to be a noticeable advantage to having a cart with four wheels instead of three, but we did learn a few things you’ll want to know if you’re considering a push cart:
- Adjust the handlebars to the ideal height. I’m 6-foot-4, and I was worried I might kick the back of the cart when I walked because of lack of leg room. By adjusting the handlebar so my arms were at 90-degree angles when I walked, I never came close to tapping my toes against anything.
- Make sure your bag is all the way down on the cart. At first, the Big Max Blade Quattro seemed to be tippy, and I was concerned it might fall over. Then I looked at how my bag was resting on the cart and noticed there was a gap between the bottom of my bag and the bar designed to keep the bottom of the bag in place. That shifted the heads of my clubs too far back, past the rear wheels. Adjusting the bag properly and moving it down shifted the center of gravity forward, and the Big Max became rock-solid.
- Consider where you are storing your cart and how it folds. Some country clubs will store your push cart, so its size when folded isn’t a critical issue. However, if you are going to store your push cart in your trunk, or space in your garage is limited, you may want to go with a cart that collapses into a tighter package. Most push carts shrink down when folded more than most golfers would expect.
When the greens and tee boxes are nowhere near each other, or the course is extremely hilly, riding carts can make the experience more enjoyable. But if you want to walk, investing in a good push cart can make it easier on your body and more fun, too.