Review: Sun Mountain “Combo” Cart

Very Nearly a Brilliant Design (4 stars)

If it makes it easier for you to get out and play, you’ll play and practice more. If you play and practice more, you’ll get better. It’s not perfect, but a cart like this one can be part of your strategy for having fun and playing well.

Summary

A lot of thought went into this cart, and it comes close to being brilliant. Unfortunately, it does have a few shortcomings. The good news is that it makes it a lot more convenient to toss the clubs in the car, and go play. So I play more. Mission accomplished. It’s also great for a car trip, because it’s easy to play cart golf or walk, as the occasion demands.

Details

Here are the details, from largest and most important to smallest:

  • Built-in seat.
    This feature is truly brilliant. It’s the reason I bought the cart in the first place.
    It’s built in, so all you have to do is flip it down. And it’s in front of the bag, instead of to the side, so you can lean back against the bag. 
    Terrific when the tee is far from the bench, or when you’re in the middle of the fairway, waiting for the group ahead. And you don’t have to take it off to fold up the cart.
  • Integrated cart and bag.
    The cool part is that you don’t have to take the bag out of the push cart. 
    You can put the whole unit into your car, in one piece.
    Of course, it’s a little heavy when everything is loaded up, but I found that I can eliminate
    most of the lifting by leaning it sideways into to the back of my van. The effective weight then becomes very small.
    I even leave the back wheels in place, which makes one less thing I have to do.
    I fold down the handle, lift the wheel-brace to lever the cart into the van, fold in the front wheel, and then slide the cart in the rest of the way. Easy-peasy! And there is a small locking-pin that keeps the front wheel in place when folded up, as well as the large that holds it in place when folded out, so it doesn’t flop around on me.
    One fellow asked me about the cart, because one minute it was there and the next it was put away! He noticed how fast it was, and wanted to know how I did it. So some verbal marketing ensued, where I told him as many of the pluses and minuses as I could think of.
  • Bag Enclosure
    The bag slides into it’s enclosure from the top, and doesn’t need to be secured.
    That design turns out to be a double-edged sword.
    The bag is easy to lift in and out when it’s empty. But it’s heavier when the clubs are in the bag, and larger when the pockets are full, both of which make it harder to get the bag in and out.
    There are velcro tabs to secure the bag to the cart. They’re not super strong, but they work well if there isn’t too much stress on them. So if you’re treating the cart and bag as a single unit, and tilt it the wrong way, the bag can slip out of position at inconvenient times. But as long as you don’t tip it forward, you’re generally fine.
  • Narrow track.
    This is another plus-and-minus kind of thing.

    • Because it’s narrow, the leg-unit just swings out, or swings in.
      There is no awkward movement where you have to bend the cart in half to get the legs into position, the way there is with a ClickGear cart, for example. And because it’s narrow, it rolls easy down narrow corridors, even with people coming the other way.
    • On the other hand, on even a mild hill, it loves to tip over. (On a surprisingly narrow hill, in fact.) So it’s great on flat terrain, and fine going uphill or downhill. But on a sidehill, you have to stay on it to keep it upright.
    • And you can’t just let it go and let it roll down a steep hill by itself, the way you can with many carts.
    • On the other hand, because the bag and cart can be handled as a single unit, and because it’s narrow enough that it doesn’t have to be folded up to be out of the way, it’s super convenient if you have a garage. Just roll it out to play, and roll it back in when done. (I roll it down narrow corridor and a small number of stairs, and it still works for me.)
  • Square Bag
    Because the bag has a square bottom, it doesn’t twist around while you’re playing.
    And it works in a riding cart, as well as the push cart.
    On the other hand, it’s easiest to get to the clubs when its in a riding cart, because it’s upright.
    In the push cart, the bag is tilted. So the clubs jumble together more than they do in a round bag. That makes it a bit harder to find the club you want, if it’s near the center of the bag.
  • Semi-useless shoulder strap.
    This is one area where the design really fell down.
    The strap is fine when the bag is empty, and it’s a good quality strap.
    But the bag is too short. When its full of clubs, the bag is top heavy,
    and the strap is nearly useless, because the bag tends to tip forward, so the clubs fall out.
    I adjusted the shoulder pad as close to the top of the bag as possible, and it almost works. But when using the strap, I still have to keep my hand on the bag at all times to keep it vertical.
  • Lots of pockets, but all small.
    Plenty of pockets to hold stuff, but none of them are large enough to hold a jacket or
    rain pants, for example. It’s good for fair weather. Not great for varying conditions. And when using the bag on a riding cart, the fact that bag is small means that the cart straps go over the top two pockets — not completely, but enough to interfere with access to them.
  • Built-in holders for a bottle and an umbrella.
    These are nice. Very convenient.
  • Poorly-implemented accessory-holder
    • The plastic box next to the handles has magnetic closures, which is nice, but it really isn’t good for much.
      When you put the handle down, to put the unit away, anything inside that is heavier than a tee tends to pop open the magnetic closures.
    • There is a space for three balls, but they aren’t held separately. So three balls or none are fine, but one or two slosh around and make a fearful racket.
    • And apparently the magnets that hold it closed are stronger than the pressure fit that holds the magnets in the plastic, because on at least one occasion I opened the box and discovered that one of the magnets from the top piece was no longer in the top piece, but was instead sitting on top of the magnet in the bottom.
    • And for all of that, there is no place to hold a scorecard or a bit of paper to take notes. So while a lot of design thinking went into the cart, but the accessory holder was given little or no thought at all.

Bottom Line

The cart fulfills its two main goals, for me: It makes it convenient to play and practice, and it gives me a comfortable place to sit, no matter where I am. Because of those two features, I play and practice more. So its a keeper, in my book. But I hope they correct the design flaws in version 2.0, and I hope somebody comes up with after-market fixes for some of the problems.

Copyright © 2017, TreeLight PenWorks

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ideas and Inventions | Treelight.com May 7, 2017 (4:53 pm)

    […] Push-cart seat for golf. I saw someone who rigged up a folding stool on the front of his golf bag. When he wanted to sit down, he lowered the seat, using the slanted bag for a back rest. Heck of an idea. That’s an invention just waiting to be sold. (One competitor already exists, in the form of a combination golf bag and cart. It’s a useful device, but there are several improvements that can be made.) Learn more: Review: Sun Mountain “Combo” Cart […]

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