What you need to know before you buy a golf push cart to walk the course
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What you need to know before you buy a golf push cart to walk the course

Golf push carts are more popular now than ever.

With many states and local governments requiring golfers to walk when they play golf or limiting the number of riders per golf cart, more golfers are turning to walking carts -- push carts, pull carts and electic golf carts -- to make walking the golf course a better experience compared to carrying their bag on their back.

With products from Clicgear, Sun Mountain, Big Max, among others offering convenient features at varying price points, there's no reason a dedicated golfer can't have a push cart that matches their budget, even one under $150.

We turned our expert, Ryan Ballengee, to learn more about the basics of what to look for when purchasing a push cart

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Ballengee answers the basic questions for any golfer thinking of buying a push cart.

1. What should a golfer expect to pay to purchase a golf push cart?

Golf push cart prices vary pretty significantly, largely based on the kind of feature you're getting with them. You can get a basic push cart with two wheels and almost no storage for as low as $75. With a more stable base, better braking features and a build which stores in a more compact space, you can spend $300 for a golf push cart. When you add electric features that turn these carts in motorized caddies, the cost starts at closer to $750 and go to $2,000.

2. What should a golfer look for in terms of how many wheels their push cart has?

Most premium golf push carts either have three wheels or four wheels. Three-wheel carts tend to offer more mobility because the third wheel allows the golfer to steer, while the back wheels drive the cart forward. Four-wheel carts allow for a smaller base and are a little easier to push, but they aren't usually as easy to steer since the front two wheels (which are typically smaller) work together. Generally speaking, go with a three- or four-wheel cart if you can afford the small bump in price. If you purchase a two-wheel cart, you're more likely going to pull the cart behind you than push it.

3. What should a golfer look for in a push cart braking system?

Most golf cart braking systems are at the foot level. Push a lever up or down to set or release the brake. Some carts have a brake for each of the back wheels. Some have it for just one. Generally speaking, they'll work just fine. However, if you're on a hilly course, you may have to adjust how you park the cart to make sure the brakes kick in and the cart stops moving.

Some brands, including Clicgear, offer a hand brake attached to the handle and storage area.

4. How much on-cart storage should a golfer want in their push cart?

Deciding how much -- and what kind -- of storage you want on your push cart is probably the biggest decision. Typically, the more expensive the cart, the more (and better designed) the storage. The bare-bones carts basically have a spot for a score card, maybe a couple of balls, and that's it. The more premium carts offer some kind of container storage for myriad things, like tees, balls, a glove, scorecard and a distance-measuring unit. The storage may be a molded plastic, which won't drain well in the event of rain, or it could be supported netting, which will drain better and offer some flexibility.

Premium carts often come with a cup holder of some kind. However, if that cup holder is molded into the storage area, that may not work well for taller golfers who will need the telescoping handle to be more steep to fit their hands. Getting a cup holder that sits on the side and swivels independent of the storage is better.

The rare cart offers additional storage at the wheel level, underneath where the bag sits.

5. How do golf push carts store, and should that factor into your purchase?

Typically, I would say how well your golf push cart stores in your home or trunk of your car isn't a big deal. So long as there's a space in your home or your car or your club's bag room to store it, that's all that matters. However, right now golf facilities are generally not allowing members to store their carts on-site. That means golfers have to keep push carts in their cars and potentially at home in between rounds. With everyone at home, that space probably matters.

Even the most basic push carts fold down to take up less than a square foot on the ground. Basic carts will fold a telescoping handle and store that way. More advanced carts will fold up into compact spaces that are just a few inches deep and about two feet wide, ending up just a few feet tall. If you're living in a crowded space or still doing a lot of driving with your cart in it, that's a good feature.

6. What about electric carts? Should I look at purchasing one of those?

Getting an electric cart, which is basically a walking caddie, is a bigger purchase by at least double the price of a push cart. Batcaddy is a popular brand because it is more affordable and typically reliable.

These electric carts use a battery to power the cart, and you'll need to charge it between rounds. Since the battery is fairly heavy, that may mean storing it in your garage or at your club. More carts are starting to come with on-board charging units, including with USB plugs, so the battery doesn't need to be removed after use for re-charging. But that can mean a storage concern.

These carts typically have a remote control to allow the golfer to steer the cart without hold the handles. Some of the carts use the remote control as a beacon for the cart, and the golfer can set how closely the bag should follow the player, who has the beacon on their hat, belt or in their pocket.

Typically, the storage on these carts isn't as good as on push carts. That could, in part, be because the golfer can put a heavier, bigger bag with more storage on the electric cart and store what they need in the bag.

7. What accessories should golfers look at getting for their push cart?

There are a number of add-on accessories golfers can get for their push carts, designed to fit carts from pretty much any manufacturer. They can include cup holders that swivel with the cart, GPS holders, umbrella holders, more storage and seats that can be folded down to help during waiting times (which is a great idea right now with courses removing benches and seating). Some companies also offer cooler bags, which are great ways to keep drinks (and empties) with courses removing water stations.

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