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|Sun Mountain's four-wheel Micro-Cart has been updated with extra storage and a more adjustable handle. (Courtesy of Sun Mountain)|
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who divide people into two groups and those who don't.
I'm one of the former.
In golf, there are players who ride and players who walk. This second group can be further subdivided into walkers who carry their bags and those who use push carts. And, once again, the latter group can be split into three-wheel cart fans and four-wheel cart fans.
See what I mean? This dividing into groups thing can be addictive.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to bring the sides of this minor debate closer together, I've been testing and comparing two push carts by Sun Mountain: the three-wheel Speed Cart SV1 ($259) and the four-wheel Micro-Cart ($219), both of which have been upgraded from previous models for 2011.
Three-wheel carts sit higher off the ground, and the Speed Cart SV1 is no exception. It rolls easily over all sorts of ground, even in the roughest of rough (where lots of my shots end up). Best of all, in the SV1 my bag sits so far off the ground that my golf towel doesn’t get tangled in the wheels, as sometimes happens with the Mico-Cart.
Other great features on the SV1 are the totally redesigned console, which is divided into three separate sections and allows golfers to separate and divide various electronic devices and accessories. This new console also conceals a slide-out tray for a scorecard and pencil. The SV1 also comes standard with a cargo net that sits below the console and offers a convenient place to hold head covers or a layer of outerwear.
The SV1 does have a few flaws, however. Like all three-wheel carts, it doesn’t fold into a particularly small package -- it's large enough, in fact, to make it sort of hard to fit into my car's trunk along with my clubs. It's pretty heavy as well, a good 8-10 pounds more than the Micro-Cart. Also, like all three-wheel carts, it can be prone to tipping backward.
The pencil holder slot in the slide-out scorecard tray is wide enough to hold thicker pencils, but this also means that smaller pencils slip all the way inside, and they're a real pain to try to get back out. This might be a minor problem, but it happened to me the very first time I used it, and it irritated me through about three holes until I was finally able to extract the pencil.
The one feature that I found least appealing, however, is the drink holder. It comes separately from the frame and just hooks on. The idea, I'm told, is to allow it to swing freely, thereby causing less spillage. But to me, it looks and feels a bit like an afterthought. For someone who enjoys a frosty beverage or two on the course, a drink holder that is in danger of getting lost or, worse yet, slipping off and spilling a beer ... well, that's just too horrible to contemplate.
I wrote a review of the original Micro-Cart when it debuted in 2009. The 2011 version is pretty close to the original, but with a few significant upgrades.
The new Micro-Cart has an added standard Micro-Paq for additional storage at the base of the handle. The 2011 models also has multiple variable handle-height positions, thanks to the new for 2011 E-Z Latch. (The 2009 model only had two positions.) The console still includes a padded valuables tray, ball, tee holders and a magnetic scorecard holder, and the drink holder is permanently attached and holds all sorts of beverage containers.
The 2011 Micro-Cart still folds down to the size of a largish microwave oven, and it's extremely light as well, both advantages over the SV1. On the other hand, the Micro-Cart can be dwarfed a bit by really large staff bags, although it comes with a hex wrench to adjust the front wheel width to fit bags with wider bottoms. The four wheels, although very stable, are smaller than the wheels on the SV1, so it rolls just slightly less smoothly, and occasionally, sticks can get wedged up into the undercarriage. And, as noted above, the lower profile leaves golf towels in danger of getting run over or tangled in the wheels.
Which sounds better to you, three wheels or four? You can't go wrong with either one, really. Golfers who drive smaller cars might prefer the Micro-Cart, as it folds up smaller and weighs less. Taller golfers or those who traverse extra-rough terrain might prefer the SV1.
For more information, visit www.sunmountain.com.
August 3, 2011
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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