If You Use a Pushcart (and You Should), You Need This Brilliant Accessory

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Most of my friends now play with pushcarts—a great relief for shoulders, backs, and knees. The only challenge comes at the end of the round, when you have to put the thing back in your car:
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Richard Hunt—a reader and honorary member of the Sunday Morning Group—has the solution. He writes:

“I was in the parking lot after a fall round at Van Cortlandt, in the Bronx — our nation’s oldest public golf course, founded in 1895 — and I was scraping goose turds from the grooves in my cart tires with a tee, and cursing, when a guy across the lot opened his trunk and pulled out a gargantuan laundry bag. It took me a minute to realize the genius: the bag contained his Sun Mountain Speed Cart.”

Richard immediately bought a gargantuan laundry bag of his own, from Amazon, for less than the price of a sleeve of balls. They come in lots of colors:

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As a result, the trunk of his car looks like something you wouldn’t be ashamed to open for an agent from the Department of Homeland Security:

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My current pushcart—a Big Max Blade+—actually came with a bag. And it’s padded!

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Rick, an S.M.G. regular, saw my bag and devised a solution of his own, an enormous Williams-Sonoma shopping bag. (They give you one free if you order 100 pounds of peppermint bark.)

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Or you could try this:

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Two Good Accessories for Wet-weather Golfers

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The golf team of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro played in a big golf tournament last month (and came in third). Shortly afterward, I spoke with Bob Christina, an assistant coach. “Monday was a 36-hole day, and it rained,” he told me. “You’ve got your umbrella, you’ve got a heavy bag with all this stuff in it, you’ve got everything, and by the time you get through that second 18 you’re having trouble standing up. So we picked up three pushcarts, and the guys loved them.”

There’s still a prejudice against pushcarts in this country, especially among younger players, despite my ongoing campaign to shame all golfers into using them all the time. Still, as Christina says, pushcarts are awesome in the rain, even if you aren’t short enough to take advantage of the umbrella holder that comes with most of the modern ones.

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Recently, I acquired two accessories that make wet-weather pushcart golf even easier. Both are made by Big Max Golf, an Austrian company, which made my current ride, a super-compact “push trolley” called a Big Max Blade +. The first accessory is called the I-Dry Rainsystem:

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It covers the entire bag, and has a transparent hood that fits over the tops of your golf clubs. The hood opens and closes easily—sort of like, I guess, a breadbox. There are only two drawbacks: it’s expensive (eighty dollars or so, at various places online), and it’s made specifically for Big Max trolleys. In fact, even to use it on mine I had to replace the cart’s existing bag-holding “wings” with two included replacement pieces, which the hood snaps into.

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A more economical choice—and one that works on anybody’s pushcart—is the Big Max Rain Safe. You strap it to your golf bag like a miniature parachute:

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 Then you forget about it until it starts to rain, when you unfurl it:

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It’s not as substantial as the I-Dry, but it weighs next to nothing, and it doesn’t get in the way, and you can keep it strapped to your bag even when the sun is shining.

The Golfavore’s Dilemma

I’m not a survivalist, but I sometimes wonder whether I could get by as a golfavore: a person who eats only foods available on his golf course. There are fish in the pond and turkeys in the woods, and I’d always have plenty of venison. Berries near the fourth and fifth tees. Corn in the field you drive through to get to the driving range. And, if the alternative was starvation, tons of acorns.

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Recently, I made Golf-Course Apple Crisp, using apples from a tree at the bottom of the second fairway and crab apples from a tree between the seventh green and the eighth tee. I gathered the raw ingredients in the optional “shelf” of my Big Max Blade + pushcart:

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And I adapted the apple-crisp recipe from the first edition of my wife’s first cookbook, Beat This, which the novelist Elizabeth Berg once described on NPR as “the book I have probably recommended more than any other”:

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I tested it on my wife and me first. It was really, really good: the crab apples, which in our area have been superabundant and enormous this year, added the perfect amount of tartness. Then I made it again, for the old ladies I play bridge with, at our regular Thursday-night potluck dinner and bridge game.

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As the bridge ladies and I were getting stuff ready in the kitchen, one of them knocked my apple-crisp pan, which I hadn’t cooked yet, onto the floor, and it landed upside down. So we did exactly what my golf buddies and I would have done: we used spatulas to scrape up the sliced apples and the brown-sugar-and-oatmeal topping, along with unknown quantities of dirt, sand, rug fuzz, dog hair, spilled dishwasher detergent, and who knows what else, and dumped everything back in the pan. Then we baked it and ate it anyway, with Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream, and it was really, really good.

My golf group and my bridge group aren’t all that different, even though in my golf group I’m kind of old and there are no women, while in my bridge group I’m the youngest and there are usually no other men. The language is essentially the same. Carol, who is my mother’s age, was a schoolteacher many years ago. One day, she went to work in a white blouse, red slacks, and blue-and-white spectator pumps. A little boy ran into her in the hall, looked up at her in awe, and said, “Miss, you look like a fuckin’ flag.”

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