During the women’s member-guest at my club, a couple of weeks ago, a few guys from my Sunday Morning Group played a travel round at our enemy club, on the other side of town. (We have a reciprocal arrangement for tournament days, etc.) A member strode up at some point and told them to stop rolling their push carts onto the tee boxes—and later he strode up to again and told them not to put their golf bags on the tee boxes, either. (Hey, maybe they should remove their golf shoes, too.)
I took the photos above and below at Victoria Golf Club, near Melbourne, Australia, in 2010. (The Australian Masters was played at Victoria that year and the next.) Players there are asked to roll their push carts and pull carts not just over the tee boxes but across the greens, to keep the fringes from being beaten up by concentrated foot traffic. Other Sandbelt courses have the same policy—including Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath, which are ranked No. 22 and No. 11, respectively, on Golf Digest’s list of the 100 Best Courses Outside the United States. Ditto Bandon Dunes (although at Bandon golfers with carts are asked to cross the greens only, and not to park their carts on them).
These practices makes perfect sense, because a push cart weighs much less than a greens mower. Or a tee mower. Or any of the guys that you or I play golf with. So lighten up, enemy club.
A year and a half ago, I bought a Sun Mountain Micro-Cart–a compact four-wheel push cart. It has made a big difference to my back, shoulders, and knees, and it folds up so small that I can easily stow it in my car or take it with me when my friends and I drive around the Northeast looking for golf courses that aren’t closed for the winter. My Micro-Cart worked very well right out of the box, but during the past eighteen months I’ve made certain modifications. A few were necessitated by my apparently unbreakable habit of letting my Micro-Cart go at the tops of hills–to find out, for example, whether it will roll all the way across a bridge at the bottom. Sometimes it makes it across; sometimes it doesn’t. (On one run, I accidentally broke off one of the two arms that hold the bag on the cart. My workaround: use the bag’s umbrella loop to secure the bag to the remaining arm.) I also used epoxy glue to reattach the little metal plate that the magnetic score-card holder sticks to. (The plate had popped off in a crash.)
Most of my modifications, though, have been improvements to the original design. For example, the Micro-Cart has a useful plastic-lidded waterproof storage compartment near the handle. However, the lid wouldn’t close over my Bushnell PinSeeker 1500 laser rangefinder, which is somewhat bulky. (The lid is angled, and the narrow end hit the fat bottom of the rangefinder.) My solution was to use some of my son’s old Lego bricks to create a shim, which lifts the rangefinder into the deeper part of the compartment. I also used Lego bricks (and epoxy glue) to create a rim at the edge of the smaller, upper compartment, where I like to keep pencils. The Lego rim keeps pencils from sneaking into the lower compartment and hiding behind my rangefinder:
An especially useful modification was invented by my friend Tony, who also owns a Micro-Cart. He attached the cylindrical umbrella holder to the handle and then covered it with a putter head cover that he’d selected from our club’s extensive lost-and-found collection. This turned his umbrella holder into a sort of padded pommel horn–very useful for one-handed cart-pushing and occasional stunt steering. I’ve done the same. (The umbrella holder is problematic for in-motion umbrella-holding, unless you’re well under six feet tall. But in my opinion umbrellas are more trouble than they’re worth anyway.)
Sun Mountain has introduced a new version of the Micro-Cart, for 2012. After another crash or two, I’ll be ready to upgrade. And I’ll save my current cart for parts.