Some golf courses strongly favor, or require, that you to use their electric carts. Many build it into the course fees, but if you have a choice, walking can save you $15-20 (each) in addition to being better exercise by far. Walking the course can be one of the prime challenges of golf if you are over 75.
If you are considering walking the full 18 holes, you will probably have some physical decisions to make. Your body will help you make the initial decisions.
If you are in very good physical condition, and intend to stay that way forever, you may choose to carry your clubs, (as many young golfers do). To do that also takes some artful planning: with a three-pound bag, 8 balls and a maximum of 8 or 9 clubs, you can be carrying less than 15 pounds comfortably slung over both your shoulders. Walking is also easier with that upright posture. But still, carrying clubs is not for everyone.
A good roller cart can cost you anywhere from $50 to $200. It allows you to walk while taking the load of your clubs off your shoulders and back, but it is some extra effort to push or pull, especially on hills – both up and down. And then…One tends to carry all sorts of extra clubs and balls and sandwiches and several extra pounds in a roller bag.
Finally, on the very near horizon, are the electronic “trolleys.” They are a lot like having a caddy, without the good (or bad) advice on each shot. And without the gossip among caddies about how poorly you played today.
The trolley is the newest way to carry clubs, with an electric motor and, at best, a remote that allows to to walk along at some distance from this e-caddy. The best – and most expensive of these trolleys – will actually follow you along, like some homeless dog, across the acres of golf, and approach with the next club just when you need it.
Remote controlled trolleys, however, cost over $1000 now. That is a lot of cart rental. However, they will probably go down a cost curve to less than $400 in the next few years, Just in time for you to tire of pushing your roller up hills.
Whether you chose to ride or walk or push, your knees will tell you they are aging. But you have in your bag the excellent means of lessening the stress on your knees, whether you are carrying the bags the whole course, or just leaving the roller or the cart downhill with two clubs. Approaching the side of a green may still take some effort on your knees, but with the trekking technique you can glide up those steep hills like a fit young mountain climber. Here’s how:
Pull out your putter and a wedge. That’s probably what you will take up to the green anyway. Use them as the European “trekkers” have used two hiking poles for years, pushing off with your arms in rhythm with your stride. It originally came from cross country skiing, where Laplanders would cover 10 miles to school on icy trails, without breaking a sweat!
The hikers realized they could take at least 25% of the stress off of their legs simply by pushing down on their two sticks as they walked.
That may well be your solution to playing Golf until you are 100. OR NOT! Stay tuned and I’ll go in to detail in the next Blog, Golf Trekking – Part 3.