One in a weekly series of stories about golf gear to run each Wednesday.
Big Max is still waiting in the bullpen. And by bullpen, I mean my garage. And by waiting, I mean gathering dust.
I live in Pittsburgh. It is not flat. Neither are most of its golf courses. So, I don’t play golf at many places where walking is a realistic option for me, because I’ve got a stem-cell bolstered knee and two neuropathy-sparking feet. I’d love to walk and carry my bag, or, even better, bring Big Max out of semi-retirement.
Big Max is a push cart. I have the original Big Max Blade+. There are a lot of lightweight, durable, easy-to-push carts on the market, and they’re all pretty good. But Big Max Blade collapses like a South American regime.
PHOTO COURTESY OF BIG MAX
It folds up remarkably flat. Folded and stored in its carry case, Big Max Blade is less than 5 inches wide. I have stashed it in my car trunk and put a golf bag on top of it on more than one occasion.
This stunning storage trick should be reason enough to say this is my favorite pushcart, but I can’t say that. Why not? Thanks for asking. There’s a fourth-generation version, the Big Max Blade IP, that is even better.
The latest model flattens just as well as the original, like something from the International House of Pancakes. It’s better because the Blade IP is easier to operate. Honestly, my original Big Max Blade was nice, but it had a few glitches. You needed to be an Audi engineer or watch a how-to video to put it up or down the first time. After four or five tries, it became fairly easy, but on the first attempt, even Bob the Builder was going to feel like Dumb and Dumber.
The Blade IP is practically a semi-automatic. Once the front wheel is unhooked, the two rear wheels pop right out like a 727’s landing gear on approach. Another flip of a switch lets the handlebar swing up, then it locks into place, and that’s it. Folding it up for storage is a quick three-step effort: Fold in the handle, push together the two cart-body parts and lift the cart. The wheels automatically pull up under the body as easy as putting your tray in the upright and locked position.
This push cart is golf’s closest thing to a Transformers movie. I’m sure you think I’m exaggerating, so take a look at the video on the company website. The Blade IP’s slim profile and light weight – 14 pounds – make it easy to store, if not in the trunk, maybe even in the back seat. At home, it’s a cinch to slip it into a closet or against a garage wall.
I really should splurge and get the new Big Max Blade IP ($329.99 suggested retail, www.bigmaxgolf.com). It’s got more perks than the original and more places to store stuff. I like the new hidden scorecard holder beneath the handlebar (and out of the rain), a rain hood that folds over the bag opening to keep the clubs dry and a better elastic strap hook to hold any-size bag in the adjustable braces.
I won’t purchase a new model until after I get off the road. I’m in Nebraska City, Neb., this week for the first stage of Web.com Tour qualifying with Mike Van Sickle, my son. I used Big Max to caddie for Mike three times in the first stage here, and Mike was three-for-three advancing to the second stage. The only year he missed was when Big Max stayed home.
Big Max stayed in the garage this week due to a temporarily loose rear wheel, so I’m carrying the bag like an actual caddie. Mike and I aren’t superstitious, but … tell Big Max we miss him.
Gary Van Sickle has covered golf since 1980 for Sports Illustrated and Golf.com, Golf World and The Milwaukee Journal. Email: email@example.com; Twitter: @GaryVanSickle