Carry, Trolley, Buggy - What Should You Use?
When we arrive at the golf club excited to start our round, we are tasked with a simple question before we begin – should I carry my clubs, use a trolley or rent a buggy?
It’s a question that every golfer has to contend with. Naturally, everyone is different and each of the options will be dependent on the individual. Below, we list the positives and negatives of our transportable choices.
Pros: increased exercise and strength building
Cons: potential injury, physically demanding, wet equipment
Undoubtedly, the greatest method for fitness is to carry your clubs. The average golfer will burn 721 calories whilst carrying their clubs, as opposed to 718 when using a trolley, proposed by sports scientist, Neil Wolkodoff. Whilst the disparity does not appear to be much, the health benefits – aside from eradicating calories – are sterling. Through carrying your clubs, with a bag typically weighing around 20 pounds, you are improving your strength and conditioning. This alone can aid in building healthier bones, improving posture and even raises metabolism. Carrying is quick and simple; there is no setting up process, just grab your bag and head towards the first tee.
A negative, however, is that you may tire sooner from lugging around the heavy bag. Through carrying, you put a lot of stress on your upper body and considering you’ll be required to carry those 20 pounds for several hours, a consequence of this choice could be injury. Moreover, if you physically tire, your mental concentration may dip during the latter stages of your round. On a miserable day, transporting a bag through bad weather can often lead to a frustrating experience as your equipment can get wet and even damaged. A careful selection of what resources are needed for your round is imperative when carrying; if it’s a hot day, you’ll need to load up with refreshments – posing further risk of injury, as adding items quickly increases its weight.
Pros: increased storage, weather protection and less risk of injury
Cons: advised to avoid greenery during poor weather - resulting in longer rounds
The trolley option is typically the most favoured and intertwines the best of both worlds. Instinctively, the physical demands are still evident – especially when climbing hills or uphill cart paths – and you’ll burn nearly as many calories as carrying your clubs. While you will not benefit as much from a strengthening perspective, you will surely conserve much-needed energy for the final stretch. There are multiple options to choose from and with the electrical trolley market growing in substance, it’s important to split both manual and electrical into two separate categories.
If you are looking to dispose of those extra calories during your round, then the manual trolley would be the optimal option. They provide the same amount of burned calories as a carry bag does and considering you’ll be pulling or pushing your golf bag for the course of four hours, you’ll reap the additional benefits of strength training. The downside, however, will be the fatigue that pushing such a weighty trolley for an extensive amount of time will produce. If you are looking to play golf and enjoy the walk without strenuous external factors, then an electrical trolley could be for you.
Most electrical trollies offer more storage for refreshments and equipment - if you are caught in a nasty storm, your waterproofs will be ready for use. Furthermore, using an electrical trolley can help prevent injuries. Although carrying or pushing your clubs poses little risk of damage, the strain that you are inevitably putting on your body for three to four hours will certainly add up over the course of a year. Minimising potential harm to yourself should be just as much as a priority as breaking your personal record – your game won’t improve if you’re unable to play. Modern electrical trolleys come equipped with an umbrella stand, resulting in your clubs staying dry during extreme weather periods or providing some much needed protection from the sun.
There is only one indisputable negative from employing a trolley, which mainly materialises during the winter season. Throughout the poor weather conditions, it is advised that you stick to the paths that typically run along golf courses. If you deviate away from the walkway, you will end up with a dirty trolley that will need urgent cleaning before packing up – an inconvenience that no one wants to stay out in the cold for. However, manufacturers have found a solution for this drawback with winter wheel options – also known as hedgehog wheels. Devised purposely for the winter season, these wheels grip the ground and offer further stability. Most golf courses will not allow you to use a trolley through the winter without these wheels fitted, so they are highly advised if you wish to play during the wettest season.
Pros: protection from severe weather, assists vulnerable players
Cons: no exercise away from the golf swing
Usually, using a buggy for fitness purposes would never be advised during your round of golf. However, there are a few exceptions where utilising a buggy can be beneficial. If you were to play during the height of summer then a buggy would provide excellent protection from the sun – and will shield you from inclement weather as the year unfolds. Additionally, for less-able golfers who may struggle to walk 18 holes, a buggy will allow these players to share the tremendous game experience with their partners – resulting in further inclusivity which is a major bonus for renting out buggies and more importantly, increased golf participation for all.
If you are able-bodied, however, then it is advised that you either carry your clubs or use a trolley if you wish to prioritise your fitness. The health benefits from these two options are unrivalled in comparison to using a buggy; only under extreme circumstances would using a buggy be worthwhile over the opposing options.
Moreover, cart bags have grown in popularity. A cart bag is typically larger than stand bags and come with increased storage. Be wary, however, as lugging one around the course without a buggy will become problematic in windy conditions.
Whatever you choose as the best fit for you, safety is paramount.
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