Bags and carts for walking 18 – or more!
In the earliest days of the pandemic, cart barns closed down and we all had to walk the course. Demand led to supply chain issues, and we couldn’t buy a pushcart!
Fortunately, for so many reasons, those days are over. You can go to PGA TOUR Superstore or Lenny’s and walk out with everything you need to walk 18. If you’re entering the CGA’s Fall Fitness Finish, or maybe just stepping up your daily calorie burn, here are five walker-centric items you’ll want to check out in the stores.
A carry bag. The manufacturers call these “stand bags” because they have built-in mechanisms for standing up quickly and securely when a walker puts them down. They also come with dual straps that let a walker balance the weight. I looked at stand bags as light as 2 ½ pounds and as heavy as 7 pounds. Look at how the pockets will accommodate your things. I saw features like a magnetic pocket for your rangefinder, a ball retriever sleeve and a removable cooler for a six-pack. How many dividers are there for your 14 clubs? I saw as few as four and as many as 14. Do the dividers run the length of the bag or are they just at the top? Keep in mind, more and longer dividers add weight.
A cart bag. Carry bags don’t always fit nicely on pushcarts because their stands may push them to one side or the other. But true cart bags — designed perhaps for the member who leaves the bag at the club and always rides, never walks – don’t come with stands or dual straps and can be heavy and awkward simply for getting them in and out of the trunk. Consider instead a hybrid bag with a stand that is designed to fit equally well on your back and on either a pushcart or motorcart. The features of a hybrid, stand-cart bag may lean more toward walking or more toward rolling on a cart, so take a close look at pockets, dividers and other accessories to see if the one you like matches your preferences.
A pushcart. These used to be “pullcarts” until an ergonomics expert came to the defense of our shoulders, thank you! Now the handlebars may be as high as our chests for safe leverage, so you’ll want to check the fit in a store. Storage is a big deal: I really liked that one brand had both a large, lidded console and an accessible storage bag with it where I could stash my putter cover or rangefinder. Then there is weight and ease of use. Cart shoppers, be shameless in the store about picking up and collapsing the model you like. My latest cart is heavier than my last one but folds down smaller with one push of a button!
A battery-powered walking cart. This might seem like a splurge, but once you find one you love you’ll never go back. Because you’ll spend close to $1,000 or even more, much more, consider the warranty. One I looked at was a solid three years! Look at battery life; most claim to be good for as many as 36 holes, but I’d never risk that, especially on one of Colorado’s hillier courses. So how long does charging take? Some brands have less expensive models designed for flat courses and more expensive models that can handle hills. If you aren’t stashing your cart in your garage or golf court cart barn for regular use at your private club, how does it collapse or come apart for trunk storage? A friend was gifted a top-rated model that’s too heavy for her. Finally, if you do run out of juice on the course, can you push the dead cart or are you stuck?
A mini bag. I’ve played nine holes with a bag designed for six or seven clubs, and at the end my back hurt from picking it up, putting it down, picking it up, putting it down at every stop. Today’s mini bags, also searchable online as “Sunday bags,” come with stands or other mechanisms so that you don’t have to do that. These are great for the range, for winter golf at the golf lounge and for travel. I’m taking my 10-club mini bag with stand to Scotland so I don’t have to hire a pushcart or caddie at every course. Don’t worry, I promise to write!
Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own GottaGoGolf.com. She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.