When it comes to getting around the golf course, the choice used to be as simple as walk or ride. No longer. Now there are a variety of methods for transporting your clubs over 18 holes: electric or gas carts, carts with fancy exteriors that look more like a classic car you would see on the street, motorized bikes that get you to your ball quickly and easily, and even a motorized device that allows you to walk without having to carry your clubs or push a cart. The choice is yours.
Golf carts make the game enjoyable for a large number of golfers who, for a variety of reasons, simply don’t want to hoof it. Carts are also becoming increasingly high-tech. A USB port was considered a big-time amenity only a few years ago but is now pretty much standard fare. GPS and entertainment systems with speakers are now wanted by many, but our Editors’ Choice in electric carts gets the nod for more practical reasons. Club Car’s Tempo Lithium-Ion utilizes, as the name suggests, lithium-ion batteries that have an estimated eight-year lifespan and can hold a charge over multiple rounds. Better yet, they’re maintenance-free and can produce up to a 50-percent reduction in electricity costs for charging while charging twice as fast as lead-acid batteries. By using fewer, lighter batteries, the overall weight of the cart is reduced by more than 200 pounds, making for less wear and tear on the course. And for those who care about looks, the molded-in colors hold up well, and the diamond-cut stitch seats add an extra touch of class.
It used to be that gas carts were not considered a classy ride, but Yamaha’s Drive2 with QuieTech EFI will change people’s minds. Our winner in the gas golf-cart category for the third year in a row, this environmentally friendly vehicle (with a focus on producing fewer hydrocarbon emissions than other gas carts) makes its way around the course at a noise level considerably below other gas carts. It also has a range of approximately 260 miles, meaning it can go plenty of rounds before needing to be gassed up.
Not as efficient as the previous two vehicles but far more eye-catching are the cars in Streetrod’s Vintage series. There are six body types to choose from, ranging from luxury carts to more sporty options, and the carts can be created with different color schemes as well as hard tops, convertible tops or no top at all.
Electric: Club Car Tempo Lithium Ion
Gas: Yamaha Drive2 QuieTech EFI
Luxury: Streetrod Vintage/Lux
Alternative Transport, Riding
In the alternative space, the Finn Cycle from Sun Mountain is an electric motorbike; your golf bag is held in place in the middle of the bike by supports and straps. Topping out at 15 miles per hour (the same speed as most golf carts), the biggest benefits—besides being a pretty fun ride—are a rapid pace of play (Sun Mountain estimates you can easily play 18 holes in under two hours) and less damage to the course because the Finn Cycle produces about half of the psi pressure that a typical golf cart puts on the turf. The bike has front and rear disc brakes, a slow, smooth starting acceleration and, when the bike is at rest, the kickstand keeps it upright and the bag positioned at a perfect height to grab a club. About the only problem you might face is catching up to the group in front too quickly.
Joining the Finn Cycle in the alternative-riding category is the Phat Scooter, an Arizona-based startup that made our list last year. The Phatty HD and Sport HD can be equipped with a rack on the rear to hold your bag and can cruise at 13 miles per hour in golf mode—more than fast enough to tool around the course in less than four hours. The scooter has plenty of ground clearance and features front- and rear-wheel suspension for a smooth ride. The scooter also comes equipped with removable and rechargeable electric batteries that last approximately 36 holes.
Finn Cycle MORE INFORMATION
Phat Scooter Phatty HD/Sport HD
Alternative Transport, Walking
For those wishing to play at a more leisurely pace, Club Car’s Tempo Walk eliminates this oft-heard complaint of many golfers: “I want to walk but don’t want to push a cart or carry my bag.” The Tempo Walk is a three-wheeled mini vehicle that runs on a lithium-ion battery that can easily last for 36 holes or more. It also has a GPS yardage system, coolers, a spot for divot mix and other accessories, such as a USB port to charge your phone. How it works is simple. After loading your bag on and strapping it in, you place a small remote control on the back of your trousers, shorts or skirt, and the Tempo Walk follows you around at the same pace you’re walking (up to 7 miles per hour, which is more like a full-blown trot). Once at your ball, just turn off the switch so it won’t move while you’re doing that Sergio-like run and scissors kick after hitting a great shot.
Club Car Tempo Walk MORE INFORMATION
If you're unfamiliar with the Big Max brand, it's likely because you didn't grow up playing golf in Europe. The popular European company continues to integrate its pushcarts and bags into the American golf market. The Blade IP, its newest pushchart, features the fourth generation of Big Max's flatfold technology. Aptly named, because you'll see that these pushcarts really do fold down flat. The Blade IP folds flatter than any of Big Max's previous versions, down to a slim five inches high. This, coupled with the fact that it weighs less than 15 pounds, makes it easier to transport and store. The new three-step folding system makes folding and unfolding a smooth, simple effort. The Blade IP has three wheels and adjustable straps to secure your bag, no matter what size it is. The minimalist frame also has storage space and the ability to attach an umbrella. It's available in five colors.
Sun Mountain's newest pushcart was built for ease of use: The opening and closing of just one latch is required to fold and unfold the Pathfinder 3. Bungee cords are positioned to secure your bag to the cart, and the supports that the bungees are attached to are adjustable so you can fit a wide range of different size bags on the pushcart. With the new design, your golf bag sits more upright, making it easier to put clubs in and pull them out. At 16 pounds, this pushcart is also lighter than other Sun Mountain models. The Pathfinder 3 will be available in June, in eight colors. The line of accessories that can be attached to Sun Mountain pushcarts also continues to grow. You can attach anything to the cart that you might need, from a cooler to a cigar holder.
Big Max Blade IP, $350
Sun Mountain Pathfinder 3, $200