Is it time to become a 'push cart guy'?

Useful, simple tech on the new Bag Boy Nitron push cart helps make a convincing case
Why carry when you can push? Brandon Tucker is beginning to see the light.

The other day I was out at the muni, squeezing in a quick nine holes at lunch, and was paired with two other singles.

Two of us had push carts and the third decided to rent a golf cart. Due to heavy overnight rain the course was cart path-only, and by the time we were in the first fairway my fellow pusher and I already felt sorry for the poor sap. We chatted it up a little as we waited for him to park and scurry across the fairway to his ball and scurry back (a recurring theme during the day). I mentioned I was writing a review of this new push cart and wondering if my days of carrying my clubs were coming to an end.

"I decided to get my push cart when I turned 40," he replies, adding he began to notice more back fatigue. I'm not quite to 40 yet, but why wait? There's a lot to love about Push Cart Life.

I got my hands on the new Bag Boy Auto-Open Nitron just in time for the spring golf season. I've always been a hoofer, taking pride in the schlep like many other young males in golf. Women don't seem to have such an aversion to push carts. I continue to learn as I age they're the smarter sex for a reason.

What appealed to me about the Nitron specifically is that it's extremely easy to open up and collapse into a small area. How it opens is quite slick: it uses a nitrogen-powered auto-assist function that expands and locks into place in seconds. Collapsing it is just as easy. (Idiot alert: the first time I tried to collapse it, I was looking for some sort of release button that would trigger the movement. For like 20 minutes. There is in fact no button, just grab the bottom handle and pull it together to collapse. Done.)

Up Next

Autoplay is paused

Product demo: Bay Boy Nitron

It takes up surprisingly little space when collapsed and tucked away (19" x 13.5" x 22"). That's nifty because with two small children filling up the house nowadays, closet supply is a hot commodity.

The other thing about small children: They wear you out, man. Physically and mentally. Suffice to say, I don't need to be the tough guy anymore with 15-20 pounds slung over my shoulders. Been there.

Back to the round. My fellow pusher and I chatted it up the whole time walking up and down the fairways. We were almost never in the vicinity to chat it up with our third over on the cart path. It also made me realize that you can speak a little easier while walking without a 15-pound-or-so bag slung over your shoulders. It's just a more civilized and congenial way to get around a golf course.

Here are some other qualities I particularly enjoy about the push cart experience:

Hydration: When you're carrying, you have to have a water bottle with a sealable top. Not so with the Nitron, which has a cupholder. My 32 oz. Yeti mug fits perfectly in it. It's ideal for coffee or a bluetooth speaker. There are two storage areas up by the handle as well, which is where can put keys or snacks or a rangefinder.

Cooler: Come summer time, carrying will make your back sweat a lot more. With a push cart you can stay cooler and drier.

Fresher: Your body does feel fresher after 18 holes compared to carrying, not just in your back and shoulders but your feet, too. Personally, I have a tendency to have bad posture in my golf swing, and back fatigue is a culprit of that.

Negatives about push carts?

I am so used to walking wherever I want. Over ropes, through high grasses, across greens, that I do find myself momentarily annoyed when I have to take even the smallest detour. It's a slightly different rhythm to the round.

On hillier courses, you may find you prefer carry bags up and down slopes instead of pushing (or braking down steep slopes).

Not all courses allow walking and some that do don't allow pull or push carts. It is one of the more mind-boggling rules in a sport full of them.

Make sure you put the parking brake on. I didn't once, and a gust of wind caused it to take my leashed up dog for a walk straight towards a pond.

If you play a wet course, you'll probably want to clean the wheels off a little bit before putting it in your car.

The Nitron's MSRP is $249.99 (Global Golf currently has it for $229), so it's about the cost of a new fairway metal. But not only will you save on cart fees at the course, you'll still get in all your steps. I can get about 15,000 steps over 18 holes at my 6,000-yard muni. And the Nitron is a simple design that should hold up for quite some time.

For 2019, I'm all in on Push Cart Life, and look forward to joining my fellow pushers out there.

2 Min Read
May 30, 2018
Some NCAA Championship viewers, including pro golfers, didn't like the look of the push/pull carts on their TV sets. But Brandon Tucker has recently become a believer.

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
27 Comments
Default User Avatar
Commented on

Thanks for the push cart article Brandon, well done. I can relate to the no self owned push cart allowed at private golf clubs, namely TPC Rivers Bend. They (the fore mentioned TPC) will allow you to rent their push cart, but then again it is 700 - 800 yds. from the club house to the first tee, and nearly the same up hill distance from 9 green to 10 tee! It is a pretty housing development.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I carried my clubs until I was 69 years young. Push-carts are not the answer. Go all the way and get an electric cart. I one that I purchased has a follow-me feature. I put my bag on the cart, plug in the battery and attach the remote control to my hip pocket. The cart follows me where every I go. I usually walk down the fairway talking to my playing partners. If my ball is in the rough, I stop the cart at the edge of the rough and walk a short distance to the ball, no pulling or pushing a push-cart.

Staff
Commented on

What's the model? Sounds like this will be my retirement present, not a Rolex.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

If you can find one, check out the Clever Caddy, formerly called the Caddy Racr... Four wheels and an upright position that allows a cart bag to preform the same way it does on a motor cart, in an upright position with the pockets facing out. It sells for under $200 and last quite well. I am on my second one, the last made it through 8 seasons and I gave it to neighbor...

Default User Avatar
Commented on

While I have been considering a push cart recently for the health/fitness aspect, my real takeaway from this read...where are you golfing that allows dogs?? I would love to take my pup along but thought it was taboo. I started golfing late in life, six years ago and I'm 54 now, so I am not the most knowledgeable on rules and etiquette. But I've always had dogs and always thought about how cool it would be taking my fur buddy along. Are there a lot of courses around that allow critters??

Staff
Commented on

Greg, the Austin munis all allow dogs on a leash. A few other area public courses do as well like Delaware Springs (an awesome muni in Burnet).

If it's a walkable municipal course you may be able to bring them but definitely ask. Or, you could just bring one and see if anyone says something. Let me know!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

What happened to pull carts? I had one years ago and found it worked very well and I believe was easier to pull than push! You don't see them anymore! There are still some municipal courses that rent them for a few bucks, but even they are wearing out and disappearing.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I agree that 2-wheels pull carts (like the good old Bag Boy Dual Tube) require less effort, and as a bonus, they can easily be pushed if you want to push. You can use one arm, then switch to the other arm.

Push carts have gained prominence because of the myth that they are easier on the back.

My experience with 3 or 4 wheel push carts is also that they are more tiring, more unstable (tipover-prone) on sloped terrain and feel like pushing a cart at the grocery store. And you always have to think about using the brake even on slight slopes.

The only clear advantage of the push cart is that some models have a holder for an open. umbrella.

Let's hope that 2-wheel pull carts make a comeback.

Staff
Commented on

Interesting. I find pull carts to be miserable!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I don’t understand why! You ever see a horse push a wagon or a dog push a sled? There’s a reason, pulling easier than pushing!

Staff
Commented on

I am actually imagining horses and dogs walking on their hind legs pushing things and it has been the highlight of my Saturday so far.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

You must have way too much time on your hands! Perhaps even try it!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Ever see a horse or dog pull with their front legs? A pull cart would be great if you used a harnesss like a horse or dog. Other wise you are pulling with your back twisted.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Really? You can't put your hand behind your back, grab a handle and pull? Life is tough!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I am 70. Even a push-pull cart kind of destroys my back. I went hard over to the dark side with a Stewart Follow cart. I can easily walk 18 without back problems which at my home course is around 6.5 miles and 18000-19000 steps (The shortest distance....). It is a different level of investment but what it allows in terms of health, back-pain, etc. makes it well worth it.

Staff
Commented on

Mike, not the "dark side" whatsover. I view the smart, autonomous push cart to be the modern ideal. My retirement present will surely be one of these, no question.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

A push cart looks bad, but a gas powered cart is cool? Give me a break. I won a Sun Mountain cart over twenty years ago. I've replaced the brake cable and wheels ( wheel bearings went out). I can put extra clothes in the bag for changing weather. Cart has an umbrella holder and a drink holder. I play a muni and other public courses and in this area push carts are a majority over power carts and bag carrying. In rain (we get some in the Pacific Northwest) just blow the cart off with air by the clubhouse.. The umbrella holder is the ticket for sure. In the hot weather I even use the umbrella now.
I totally get that some can't walk, but that is a very small minority. I nearly 100% avoid cart only courses. The walking is the best part of my game as I am 70 and the walking on nice soft turf is perfect exercise. The push cart makes the walking game MUCH more pleasant.

Staff
Commented on

Nice intel there. And you're right: i don't think there is a healthier activity for the human body than walking. at any age.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Just gave it up, walking that is. Turned 78.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

I've got a sweet MacKenzie carry bag w/trestle sticks. I'll take it over the cart every time. Frankly not having to walk all the way around green and bunker complexes or aound a variety of commonly encountered golf course obstacles really shortens the walk. Often the walk between tees is routed through tall grass where a cart just can't go. And a push cart when it's wet, muddy, or on a steep up-hill...no way for me!

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Fascinating Tee--you can walk across a green while carrying your clubs but you can't push a cart across? Is that a local rule?

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Pushcarts are also much better for the environment. If your course only uses gas powered carts, as mine does, the noise and fumes definitely disturb an otherwise bucolic experience. They allow you to walk up to your ball, assess the lie and have all your ‘weapons” with you. When I lived on clatter Long Island, and played public courses, I used a pushcart, but when I joined a private club, they only allowed walking at 2 pm and you had to carry your bag, which I did. Now that I live in northern Westchester. Which is extremely hilly, I use a walking cart that’s assisted by an electric battery. I walk 6 miles of hills 6 days a week, and I’m faster than any of the people who sit on their rear dnds in carts. Walkers who are accurate hitters are MUCH faster than people who hit far, spray their balls, sit i the Carr instead of getting out while their partner hits, to walk to their balls. With a couple of clubs.
Golf was invented as a walking game. Try it.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Well, accurate hitters in power carts are MUCH faster than an accurate hitting walker.... period. For instance... 300 yard hole, we both hit next to the green, I'll be chipping before you get to the 150 yard mark... you disagree??

More from the author
9 Min Read
September 23, 2021
We've crafted a Dream 18 from the most exciting holes in American public golf.
7 Min Read
September 21, 2021
Large buddies groups love playing Ryder Cup-style, multi-day team events on their golf vacations. And what could be more epic than playing a Ryder Cup match on a former (or future) Ryder Cup venue?
2 Min Read
September 21, 2021
Bernhard Langer recalls the turning point that led to a European wave at the Ryder Cup matches
4 Min Read
September 10, 2021
Pete Dye's golf course designs set the bar for innovation, creativity and challenge. We've compiled his top courses as rated on Golf Advisor by regular golfers like you.
4 Min Read
September 7, 2021
A recent visit to a trio of Midwest courses was a reminder that there's a lot to love about playing golf on campus.
3 Min Read
August 27, 2021
USA and Europe's finest women prepare to face off on a Donald Ross Midwestern classic. Here's a hole-by-hole guide to venerable Inverness.
Popular
1 Min Read
September 17, 2021
R.I.P. to a legend.
4 Min Read
September 13, 2021
With a radical concept and engaging design, The Match golf course at PGA National Resort & Spa points toward a more creative future for the game in America.
1 Min Read
September 10, 2021
Play early, play often.
3 Min Read
September 14, 2021
New clubs dropped by Mizuno, WHOOP unveils its most advanced band yet, and Ryder Cup-inspired golf sandals?
Load More
Now Reading
Is it time to become a 'push cart guy'?