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|Ogio's X4 Synergy: A high-performance, rock-solid four-wheel push cart. (Courtesy of Ogio)|
Ogio's X4 Synergy push cart is a solid first entry into the market. It brings convenience to a whole new level.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Walking is the future of golf.
Although most American courses are inescapably tied to motorized golf carts -- as a source of revenue, and because many Americans and American golf courses are just not suited to walking -- the recent return to naturalistic designs is bringing walking back into the game on this side of the pond.
And as much as younger players might like to buzz around in a cart now and then, my impression is that many golfers from 18-50 would generally prefer to get a little exercise (and save the money) by walking nine or 18 holes.
If you prefer to walk, though, it doesn't mean you have to schlep your bag on your back over hill and dale. Americans are slowly discovering the convenience of push carts. Long a staple of golf in the British Isles, the push cart is gaining popularity among American golfers who favor experiencing the game the way it was meant to be played.
There are several established push cart manufacturers and more coming each year. These carts are far better than the lousy two-wheel metal frames you see for rent at many courses. Many of these new push carts have nearly as many bells and whistles as the current generation of multi-pocket, multi-function golf bags.
And when the brilliant golf bag engineers at Ogio decided to hop into the push cart ring, you knew they'd be bringing something unique to the fray. The Ogio X4 Synergy push cart ($229) is a solid first entry into the push cart market that brings convenience to a whole new level.
The Ogio X4 Synergy is a four-wheel cart, which provides extra stability when wheeling around the aforementioned hills and dales. For those of us who hit the ball into uncharted terrain, the resistance to tipping offered by a four-wheel cart is a big plus.
The downside to the X4's wide-track wheelbase, heavy-duty solid foam rubber tires, and reinforced aluminum frame is its weight: The X4 is definitely at the heavy end of the push cart spectrum.
This heft is not so much an issue when pushing the cart around the course, but for some golfers, the X4's main engineering innovation could be compromised by it. Let me explain.
You see, the X4 is designed so that you never have to remove your golf bag from it. Once your bag is secured by the bungee straps at the top and bottom, the cart folds and unfolds with a quick pull of a lever, remaining upright the entire time. When you fold it up at the end of your round, you simply lift the cart, bag, and all into your vehicle. This is where the weight issue comes in.
I paired the X4 with the Ogio Chamber Cart Bag, which is sort of heavy itself, and somewhat taller than standard carry bags. The combined weight with clubs, balls, etc., is somewhere between 40-50 pounds. This wasn't a problem for me, but could be for golfers with back issues or lacking upper body strength.
The size of the X4 could also be a problem, depending on your vehicle. I drive a Ford Fusion, and wedging the bag and cart into (and back out of) the trunk is always a bit of a wrestling match. The fit, but sometimes it's not easy. Smaller trunks (such as the newer hybrid Fusions) would not hold the combined cart and bag; however, larger cars would, and an SUV or minivan would be ideal.
Size and weight aside, the X4 has an excellent brake system, foam-padded, bicycle-style handlebars, and a great drink holder -- all of which bespeak first-rate construction. The center console is a bit oddly shaped, though, and lacks divided sections for smaller items like tees or change.
One nice feature is that, despite being a four-wheeled cart, the X4 sits well up off the ground, so most golf towels won't drag in the dew or get caught underneath a tire.
The Ogio X4 Synergy push cart is best paired with a light-weight carry bag to reduce overall combined weight and size. If you lack patience for the multiple steps associated with loading and unloading a push cart and bag before and after each round, and have a vehicle and back capable of handling everything in one easy step, the X4 Synergy is for you. This is a rock-solid cart that should last for many, many years.
For more information, visit www.ogio.com.
August 21, 2013
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
The Big Max Z 360 is probably the most functional, most flexible golf pushcart I've tried. It's not the lightest, and there are times when the swiveling front tire might cause a bit of irritation in uneven places. But these quibbles notwithstanding, this is a cart I would highly recommend to anyone looking to return to the pedestrian roots of golf.
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