This Golf Accessory is a Ripoff, but it Kind of Works, So Far

I’ve owned or tested a number of pushcarts, and so far the one I’ve liked best and would recommend for most golfers is the Clicgear 3.5+. It’s a substantial piece of machinery, yet it folds down into a reasonably compact unit, which I have no trouble fitting into the trunk of my car as long as there’s nothing much in my trunk other than my golf bag and my pushcart.

The Clicgear does have an annoying design flaw, though—as you can sort of see in the  first and third golf carts in the photo above: some bags sit so low on the cart that they come very close to the front wheel, and even scrape. The reason is that each cart’s bag rest, a padded metal loop, doesn’t stick out far enough and is at least an inch too close to the wheel. Clicgear has acknowledged that this can be an issue for “tour and large size golf bags,” but it actually affects small bags, too. I’ve got a lightweight Sun Mountain carry bag, and after about a year the wheel began to rub. I dealt with the problem at first by resting the bottom of the bag not on the bag rest but on the little folding arms above it, which are meant to secure the bag to the cart, but when I did that the bag wouldn’t stay put. More recently, I gave up and spent ten bucks for Clicgear’s solution: a “booster clip” that clamps onto the bag rest and is supposed to add an inch of clearance.

At least part of the issue with Sun Mountain and similar carry bags is that their bases are beveled, to accommodate the lever that pops out the legs, and the Clicgear bag rest doesn’t extend far enough past the bevel: it’s too short to engage the actual bottom of the bag.

I hate the idea of spending ten dollars on a piece of plastic that must have cost a millionth of a cent to manufacture and that wouldn’t be necessary if Clicgear had ever bothered to correct its own design flaw. (The bag rest has been the same since the beginning, in models 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5+.) And even the booster clip is poorly designed, since it has a rounded front that reduces its effective thickness for bags like mine. A much better solution would have been to redesign and replace the bag rest itself. But the clip does lift my bag just high enough that it no longer scraps—for now. We’ll check back in a year.


Five Ways to Accessorize Your Pushcart

First, duh, you need a pushcart. Most of the guys in the Sunday Morning Group now use them, as you can see from this partial view of the lineup behind the first tee the other weekend:


And it’s not just old guys who use them. Addison, who his 25, recently began using an old one of mine, after borrowing his father’s Bag Boy for a state tournament and realizing that rolling his bag instead of carrying it spared his shoulders and his back, allowing him concentrate on golf.

I myself now own and use two: a Big Max Blade, which folds nearly flat and is ideal for travel in a crowded car, and a Clicgear 3.5+, which is my latest acquisition and my current favorite for everyday use. Recently, I added several extremely useful Clicgear accessories, among them a steering knob, which screws into the umbrella socket in the middle of the handle:


It doesn’t actually “steer” my cart, but if gives me an alternative, rotating projection to grab onto, and it lets me propel and guide my cart with one hand. It reminds me a little of a necker’s knob, which, back in the days before power steering and seat belts, enabled you to steer your car with one hand while using your other hand to bother your girlfriend, who was sitting right next to you in the front seat. (Truck drivers sometimes still use necker’s knobs, also known as suicide knobs, to make big-rig steering easier.)

I also added a Clicgear cooler bag, which attaches to the struts:


It has an insulated lower compartment, which is large enough to hold a six-pack and lots of ice, and a roomy upper compartment, which can be used as a humidor:


The standard Clicgear beverage holder is big enough for a can of beer but not big enough for most insulated water bottles. So I added a supersized version:


Clicgear sells a couple of cigar holders. If I ever decide to start smoking cigars, though, I’m just going to do what Barney does on his Clicgear, using the top of the storage compartment:


Clicgear sells lots of other accessories, too, including a rain cover, an adjustable umbrella-holder, and a little seat, which attaches near one of the wheels. I’m not ready for that one yet. But maybe soon.


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


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:

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:


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:


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


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.)


Or you could try this:


45-Hole Golf Complex Stays Open for 5 Golfers

Golf weather, duh.

Golf weather, duh.

Our home greens are closed, so on Sunday four of us traveled a little over an hour to the east, to Tunxis Plantation Country Club, which has two eighteen-hole courses and one nine-hole course—all very nice, all completely open, carts available (although we didn’t use them), $35 walking. The parking lot was empty when we arrived, at 10:30. We teed off at 10:45 and were the only golfers on the entire property. The temperature was only 30 or 32, but there was no wind and the course was in terrific shape. I had brought some adjustable winter tees, which I picked up at the PGA Golf Merchandise Show in Orlando a few years ago:

P1110267They’re really meant to be used with mats on driving ranges, but they work pretty well on their own when you can’t get a regular tee into the ground. We didn’t need them, though, because the dirt was still semi-unfrozen.

Tim, Gary, Hacker (real name), Tunxis Plantation, December 8, 2013.

Tim, Gary, Hacker (real name), Tunxis Plantation, December 8, 2013.

On the eleventh hole, a single golfer caught up to us, and we let him play through (see below). On the previous hole, he had sunk a six-foot putt and made a fist pump, even though he was by himself and didn’t know I was watching. He hit a huge, perfect play-through drive, well past all of our drives, but then he shanked his second shot into the pine trees. That made us all feel better about his big drive.

P1110291Hacker and I were both testing some Clicgear pushcart mitts, which we had bought independently at exactly the same time:

P1110294They have Velcro straps, and they attach (as a single unit) to the handles of your pushcart, so that you can slide your (gloved) hands into them. Getting the thumbs in the right place takes a little work. Each side has a pocket for a chemical hand-warmer, although the pockets are slightly too small for chemical hand-warmers, we found—an odd design flaw. We liked them, though. On the sixteenth hole, Tim noticed this sign leaning against a tree:

Translation: we shoot cross-country skiers.

Translation: we shoot cross-country skiers.

We finished in three hours and had lunch at one of our favorite winter clubhouses, Flaggstead Smokehouse. They were out of brisket, but they still had my favorite: pulled rib meat. They were also offering a discount (see below). Only Hacker tried the voice (unsuccessfully), but they gave us the discount anyway, and when we left I bought a pound of pulled ribs and a big thing of beans, to take home.


I Bought a New Push Cart!

Trolleys: Brendan, Tim, Tony, Rick, Hillside Golf Club, Birkdale, England, May, 2010.

Two years ago, during a buddies trip to England, I became a convert to what the British call trolleys. My first was a Sun Mountain Micro-Cart, which I gradually customized:

This is my old push cart. If my wife played golf, I’d give it to her.

I ran it pretty hard, for more than a thousand miles, and a couple of months ago a friend commented that it had started to look like a farm vehicle. That’s not manure in the photo below, but I see his point:

Not manure, but almost.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I did something I’d kind of been hoping I’d do: I busted it beyond repair. I was pushing it up the fourth fairway, and suddenly it started wobbling and making a funny noise. Eventually, I realized that a spoke in one of the wheels had broken.

Busted Micro-Cart wheel–at last!

Replacing the wheel probably wouldn’t be expensive, and I’ve been very happy with my Micro-Cart, but I was itching to try something new. So as soon as I got home I ordered a Clicgear 3.0, from Amazon, for a little less than $200. Unfolding and folding it is tricky, but I got the hang of it out after a couple of tries. I’ll be pimping it a bit in the coming weeks, of course. And there are lots of official accessories, several of which I want to buy. More about that later.

My new ride.

My Clicgear 3.0 weighs more than my Micro-Cart, but it actually folds down slightly smaller. That’s important because this year I also bought a new car, which is slightly smaller than my old car. At the moment, I’m dealing with that by throwing all my extra golf junk into the back seat, along with all my other extra junk. Eventually, though, I’ll have to get the trunk organized. So, really, I had no choice but to buy a new cart.

My new cart is heavier than my old cart, but it’s a teensy bit more compact when folded up. Or so I claim.