There are plenty of ways to get around the course, from riding in a buggy with fully-stacked cart bag to carrying a seven iron and nothing else (yes, really, I do this now and again!) However, for me, golf has always been about enjoying each hole as much as possible. Riding in a buggy takes away some of the experience. Carrying is fine and I do this regularly, but having 14 clubs and all the rest in a stand bag can make for a sore back the next day (and no golf for a while!)
So what can you do? Maybe take a half set in a carry bag. This is fine, but I also like using all my toys and might well have over the 14 club limit if I am playing for fun. The obvious solution here is to get a trolley. And if you are talking golf carts, then clicgear might well be the first brand on your list. They are rightly known for quality, made by golfers for golfers. But which one should you choose? Here is the lowdown so that you can make the best choice for your game and just as importantly, for your budget.
Of course, the first question you might be asking is “why choose a clicgear (or any other non-budget) push cart at all?” This is actually a pretty fair question, and one I asked myself about 5 years ago when I bought m first trolley. I wanted to keep walking the course but carrying was giving me a sore back and shoulders.
Why You Should Avoid Budget Hand Carts
Off I went to the local sporting goods store and I ‘invested‘ something like the equivalent of $80 in a basic tubular steel folding cart. After all, a cart is a cart, right? Ok, I’ll admit it, I am stupid! Right from the first time out, this cheap option gave me trouble. I could never get my bags (either cart or stand) to stay straight and they were constantly twisting. This seems like a small thing, but it used to drive me nuts every time I needed to get a new ball (with my wayward driving, this happens a lot, but your mileage may vary.)
It was a pain to fold and unfold, difficult to clean and the flimsy plastic clips quickly broke. But honestly, I could have lived with all of this stuff if it hadn’t been for two things:
- The annoying squeaking that appeared after a month or two.
- The fact that it hurt my back more to push/pull this damn thing than it did carrying in the first place!
I still have this contraption. It sits in the corner smirking at me (although that might be my imagination) and will never see the course again with me a t the helm.
So to me, going really cheap when buying cart might be the perfect definition of ‘false economy’. Of course, spending more doesn’t guarantee a better user experience either. It comes down to matching the features with what you really need on the course.
The Clicgear Range
The clicgear range has evolved over time and currently, there really are a lot of choices. Each version also has several sub-versions which can make things even more complicated! When you add in the various color schemes as well as all the possible add-ons you might want to purchase to pimp your cart, well sometimes it can actually get pretty tempting to hire a buggy and be done with it!
Don’t worry. Perhaps the most important thing to say is that there really aren’t any bad choices. Any one of the products in the range is going to be well-made and functional and is unlikely to leave you regretting your choice.
The Clicgear 3.5 Range-Still Going Strong
I hesitate to use the term ‘budget’ for any clicgear product. it isn’t that they are especially expensive, but it just implies a lack of quality and care to detail. In my experience, this is precisely the opposite of what clicgear does. I haven’t loved every one of their products, but I can’t remember ever thinking that the quality was sub-par.
The clicgear 3.5 would be what is often described as an ‘entry-level’ product. Once again, don’t think basic. It is essentially a great push cart minus a couple of the bells and whistles of the higher-end versions.
So what are you getting for your money? Well you get 18lbs of cart that you can fold away with one hand (without having to give it a kick) for starters. As always, the tubes are high grade aluminium and won’t buckle or bend as you bounce around the course.
There are a couple of details that I like too. The first one might seem unimportant. It is simply the choice of colors available. I know, I know, but I like a little color on the course. This might be shoes or even my bag, but being able to pick from 8 colors, from bright to sober, does make a difference to me!
Practical Details that Make a Difference
The other detail is a practical one. As a tall golfer, trolleys can sometimes be a pain. The handle is just those couple of inches too low which actually means that I have to stoop and finish the round feeling stiffer than if I had actually carried! I would guess the same is true for any shorter golfers. The 3.5+ handle has a nice adjustability feature that changes the angle and takes this problem away.
Everything else is pretty much as you would expect. Any size bag sits firmly in place with the traditional clicgear strap system. Obviously, a cart bag will always work better with a trolley, but it will be fine with a stand bag or even a spineless carry bag.
The roll is nice and smooth on the three airless tires and the push button brake on the front wheel is easy to engage and keeps it from rolling away, even on a slope.
One thing that is quite noticeable is that the bottom of the bag sits fairly close to the front wheel. This is especially true if you use a stand bag. However, there is never any danger of contact between bag and wheel.
What Accessories Will I Get?
There are the other usual extras, like a score card holder and umbrella clip. The most useful for me is without doubt the simple net that sits under the handle. you might think that you have plenty of storage room in your bag, and this is undoubtedly true. however, I never realized how nice it is not to bend down to get a tee, a drink of water or a ball (after yet another OB) from my bag! Yes, before you ask, I am horribly lazy, but small things like this do make a difference and once again, it is one of the things that I really appreciate in all clicgear products.
The key thing for me with any cart is at the end of the round. If I haven’t thought about it at all when I tap in on 18, it has done its job. I used to spend more time cursing my cheap trolley than thinking about my game and with the 3.5+, I will put the bag on it by my car and probably not even think about it again until I unhook the bag again to go home. To me, that makes it a solid product. Given that it folds down into a compact cube too, I can simply leave it in the car without it taking up too much space until the next time.
The Rovic-Lightweight but Complete
The latest addition to the stable is the Rovic range. In fact, this 2016 model hasn’t even found its way onto the official clicgear site yet, but you can already get your hands on it through online retailers like amazon. Something like the Rovic RV1C isn’t exactly an upgrade over the 3.5, but does offer something slightly different.
So just what does it bring to the table.? Whilst the 3.5 certainly wasn’t hard to fold, the Rovic is super easy. No need to even turn the wheel, you just pull the locking handle and it springs open. Again, this might not be a deal breaker (after all, the 3.5 is hardly difficult to open and close,) it can be particularly good for seniors who need (and probably deserve!) that easier option. It might also be good for the rest of us too.Given that I am pretty good at breaking things by trying to force something that doesn’t need to be forced, easy open is perfect for me.
The Rovic seems slightly more sparse when set next to the other models in the range. almost like a stripped down version, in fact. Actually, it is only a pound lighter (17lbs) but folds down to a minuscule 13″ by 15″ by 24″ block. You can also add the usual array of clicgear accessories to the basic frame, but I think this could be the best option for anyone who is looking for something simple.
Which Trolley for a Staff Bag?
This means that if you are looking for the perfect choice to push that Tour Staff bag, I would look towards the 3.5 or better yet, the 8.0. Can the Rovic do the job? Sure, but honestly, there are better options. This might be perfect for someone who likes to carry but prefers pushing when the ground is wet or muddy, for example. The front wheel doesn’t swivel on the RV1C which means that it is harder to change direction with a heavy load. There is a swivel wheel version, the which makes this easier. Apart from this difference, they are essentially the same model.
Once again, there are some nice details that just make this a pleasure to use on the course. For example, the foot brake. I am usually a fan of a brake on the handle simply because I have found that a foot pedal can be a bit awkward. Manufactures have this annoying habit if putting them under the bag meaning that I need to do some sort of limbo to actually access it!
No problem at all with that here. The brake is easy to access and operate and holds fine even on a slope. Once again, just a simple to use, reliable piece of kit that does what you want it to do.
The Clicgear 8.0-Top of the Range Performance
Without a doubt the most complete handcart solution is the clickgear 8.0. This is the most up to date version of the product first released in 2014. Unsurprisingly, it is a multi-award winner. As a tester of all things golf, I am actually usually pretty skeptical when a product has won any sort of award-it generally fails to do any of the things I expect and can even show some fairly shoddy construction and design.
With this manufacturer, I knew this wouldn’t be the case. I have had enough experience with the company over the years to be confident that the 8.0 would be solidly made and well-engineered.
Is the Clicgear 8.0 Worth it?
So the real question is “what else am I getting here?” “and “Is it worth it?” Both are good questions. Let’s start with the first. What is the 8.0 offering?
Well, the first and more obvious thing is that it is a 4 wheel cart. The company said that they have had a lot of requests from golfers who loved their carts but wanted something with four wheels. It would have been easy to rush out a four-wheeled version of the 3.5. Of course, clicgear didn’t do this. They actually built the 8.0 from the ground up and spent two whole years getting it right. unsurprisingly, the result lives up to expectations in all sorts of areas. Let’s look at some of the details.
With two front wheels instead of one, the challenge was to align both wheels and have a double braking system that remains simple to operate and problem-free. The result is that both front wheels have brakes and there is a handle-mounted hand brake that is easy to engage and keeps both wheels locked. You simply tilt on the back wheels and raise the handle.
How to Fold a Clicgear Cart-Video
It can be tough to imagine just how simple it is to fold and unfold the clicgear 8.0. You might be having visions of putting together Ikea furniture-the instructions make it look so simple and yet you know at the end of the day it will take you hours and you will have a few mysterious parts left over!
Don’t take my word for it, have a look at this video.
Looks easy, doesn’t it? That’s because it is! But the real trick that clicgear has up its sleeve is making it easy without being flimsy. When you push the clips closed, they stay closed.
Good-Looking and Practical
As you might have noticed, I do like to look good on the course (or at least have a bit of color on display) The 8.0 does look good with a choice of colors. I really like the blue frame with black wheels but you probably have better taste than me and will choose something a little more sober! Regardless, it is a good-looking piece of kit.
You can also ‘pimp your cart’ from the clicgear accessory range. The accessory mounts are already there and you won’t be searching for a place to attach that umbrella. There are, of course, quite a few things already there. For example, you will find twin cup holders, one standard and one xl.
I’ll admit that I didn’t see the use in that straightaway, but it certainly made sense when I played with a buddy who was carrying. It is also good for keeping the bottle of water next to any other beverage that you might enjoy on the course (hey, golf is a game for adults too!)
The net by the handle is great. It holds plenty and saves hunting through the various bag pockets for whatever you might need, from pitch repairer to another glove.
Premium Products at Affordable Prices
It would be tempting to say at this point that you get what you pay for and that clicgear produces a premium product for a premium price tag. Except that it doesn’t. The 8.0 is, in my opinion, as good or better than anything out there currently. It looks good, runs smoothly, is easy to fold and won’t fall apart under heavy use.
When you look at cost, this is really one of the most reasonable golf purchases you can make. There really is relatively little difference between my original ‘hunk of junk’ cheap cart and something like this. when you set this next to the other things we buy as golfing addicts, from putters to laser rangefinders, this isn’t going to get anywhere near the top of the list.