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|The Sun Mountain SV1 Speed Cart glides along so effortlessly that it's almost like having a caddie. (Mike Bailey/TravelGolf)|
HOUSTON -- There are two different types of golf experiences -- riding in a cart and walking a course. The latter lets you see the course the way the architect intended. That is, if it's a walking course, and those do still exist.
The trouble is that walking usually involves carrying your bag. And in the summertime, that can be quite a chore.
Aside from having a caddie, though, using a push cart is the next best thing. Fortunately, the push cart has come a long way in the past few year, and nowhere is there a better example than Sun Mountain's SV1 Speed Cart.
I can remember my father's pull cart, a bulky metal contraption that was difficult to fold, heavy and quite rickety. It also had just two wheels.
Now there are three- and four-wheel push carts. The SV1 was the first of the three-wheel carts.
I put the SVI to the test at historic Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston on a warm summer day. Riding is easier, but this wasn't unbearable. Play early in the morning, and it's actually quite pleasant.
Memorial Park is an old John Bredemus design with greens and tees close together. That helps, of course. It's also fairly flat. But as easy as it to maneuver the SV1, I would imagine a hilly course wouldn't be that much of a problem, especially with its good braking system.
Features include an E-Z Latch system, which makes it easy to fold and unfold.
There's an upgraded accessory tray that included a retractable scorecard tray as well as three separate storage compartments, one of which you could use for a rangefinder. And there's a mesh tray, perfect for holding head covers.
The cart also has a swiveling drink holder. And it features large diameter foam tires that require no maintenance.
Some of the other features you'll find on the SV1 (as well as some other models) are an umbrella mount for an open umbrella as well as straps for a closed one. It also has a handle-mounted parking brake so the cart won't roll away.
There was a time that good players, when walking, carried their bags. Only hackers used hand carts. But these days, at any amateur tournament where golfers are required to walk, it's not uncommon to see as many players with push carts as there are players carrying their bags.
My question after using Sun Mountain's SV1 Speed Cart is why would you ever want to carry your own bag, unless you're taking just a half dozen clubs and three or four balls?
The SV1 makes toting your own clubs easy. It glides effortlessly, has plenty of little useful gadgets and holders and balances well. It's also fairly portable (not as much as the lighter micro-carts), so while you can't fly with it, it's easy to take on a road trip in your car.
The best part about using the SV1, however, is that it brings golf back to its roots. Being able to walk from the tee directly to the fairway and the green is the way golf was meant to be played -- not from the sides of the course and the cart path.
Of course, you have to play a course that's designed for walking, or at the very least, allows it. But it's an experience that transforms golf into a different game, no matter what anybody tells you.
If you play golf, and you're physically able to walk, you owe to yourself to get a good push cart, and the SV1 is as good as any on the market.
September 5, 2012
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.
One writer who travels more than nearly anyone I know said his Sun Mountain's Club Glider Meridian Golf Travel Bag was a "game changer." He said he'd never travel again without it. After this jaunt to Northern Ireland, I have to agree.
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