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Golf Week Magazine Cover
Golf Week

March 2009
Article: Push Carts: Enjoy the Walk
Written by James Achenbach

What is responsible for the rising popularity of push carts in golf? Part of the explanation is a desire for physical fitness. Walking 5 1/2 to six miles during an 18-hole round is good exercise.

There is, however, another reason. A backlash against carrying a golf bag has surfaced in recent years. This is particularly true in junior golf.

Why would the American Junior Golf Association decide to allow push carts after three decades of outlawing them? Because nobody wants young golfers to suffer short-term or long-term injuries or physical aggravations.

Neil Wolkodoff is program director of the Rose Center for Health & Sport Sciences in Denver, and has been conducting studies on golfers for 15 years. In much of his work, Wolkodoff divided golfers into three categories – motor-cart riders, push-cart users and bag carriers.

“There is no doubt,” Wolkodoff said, “that golfers who use push carts don’t have the stress with their shoulders and back. Golfers who carry their bags must deal with this stress throughout a round of golf. Back fatigue and shoulder fatigue are factors that are very prevalent in golf.”

Golfers who carry their bags without any apparent difficulties might argue with Wolkodoff, but he offers another insight.

“The average heart rate and peak heart rate were significantly less with those who pushed carts compared to those who carried bags,” Wolkodoff said.

Translation: Carrying a golf bag is hard work.

Wolkodoff is considered a sports expert in the areas of breathing and energy expenditure. After years of studying golfers, he said: “It’s made me a believer in pushing a cart, and clubs and associations that prohibit them are, in my opinion, making a mistake.”

The skinny: Bag Boy has two new aluminum three-wheel push carts. Both have lightweight, foam-filled tires and a handle-mounted parking brake, plus a scorecard holder and valuables compartment.

The Automatic folds and unfolds in one action. The Mini GT is Bag Boy’s smallest fold-up model.

“We’re all about educating the public,” said Bag Boy president Craig Ramsbottom, reflecting on Bag Boy’s sponsorship agreement with the American Junior Golf Association. “We’re selling a couple of hundred thousand push carts a year, and we believe that number will grow as more golfers realize the benefits of using a push cart.

“We’re working hard to make push carts acceptable among the juniors and college kids. I remember when stand bags first came out, and nobody would touch them. Then suddenly it became cool to use them. We want the same thing to happen with push carts.”

Cost: Automatic $199, Mini GT $229
Availability: Immediate