If carrying your bag is a non-starter, that's where carts come in. Pushcarts aren't overly techy, but the ability to fold them to fit easily into your car trunk is a must. Riding carts appeal to our culture of convenience, with the best fueled by electricity with even acceleration, comfy seats, a steering wheel you don't fight and built-in connectivity. Technology continues to advance, leading to the New Age category, where you can surf across the course with your bag.
Our winner in Push Carts, the Big Max AutoFold FF, checks all the necessary boxes. It's lightweight, stable on hilly terrain, has maintenance-free tires, firmly secures the bag and produces an easy roll. The bonus is at the start and end of the round: All three wheels fold down at the same time with a single hand motion, resulting in an incredibly compact fold (about the size of a briefcase). Easy to store in your trunk? Hell, it's flat enough to put in your locker. For those who want a bunch of extras, the company offers a wide array of accessories, including a cooler bag for stocking your favorite adult beverage.
Riding carts make the game enjoyable for a large number of golfers. For those who can't handle the heat of a summer day, hilly conditions or simply don't want to hoof it, carts are a welcome option. Although the Club Car Precedent i3 is available in gas and electric, we're recommending the latter for two reasons: a new battery charging system that reduces energy consumption, and the fact that gas cars aren't exactly a classy ride. Our choice appeals to players (and justifies the cart fee) by being the first golf cart with built-in connectivity as a standard feature. GPS with precise yardages to the flag and hole flyovers that allow you to get a sense for the hole and let you know where danger awaits combine with the tour-pro feel of real-time tournament leader boards to enhance the experience of the competition on the course. Facilities win as well. Not only do they reap the dollars and the goodwill of a satisfied customer, but when players email the scorecard to themselves, facilities can capture those emails for future marketing efforts.
Our winner in the New Age category is Golfboard, a combination of electronic snowboard and golf cart that allows you to traverse the course by maneuvering the device while standing on it, with your clubs right in front of you. Golfboard is fun, and it provides a bit of a workout for those feeling guilty about not walking.
Pushcarts: Big Max AutoFold FF, $270
Riding Carts: Club Car Precedent i3, $564-a-year lease
New Age: GolfBoard, $6,500