OVERALL RATING: 85. GRADE: B. The Bag Boy Automatic is a perfectly reasonable golf push cart to consider purchasing, but it didn’t strike a chord with our review staff in any way that makes it a “must buy.” The area in which it excels is the ease with which it can be unfolded (which is the reason, we presume, for the “automatic” moniker). This is nice, considering that the complexity of unfolding some carts can make your head explode.
On the flip side, the Bag Boy Automatic is a bit bulky when it’s folded up, and has a distinct shortage of storage space for all of the various accoutrement that golfers lug around with them.
It might be a good pick-up if quick unfolding is of utmost importance to you, or if you find it at a great price, but otherwise it doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the field.
Retail price: $199.95
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Bag Boy Quad
- Piece of cake to unfold and get rolling
- Brake is easy to engage
- Not much additional storage space
- Somewhat bulky when folded up
At 17 lbs. (as tested), the Bag Boy Automatic falls into the middle among the push carts we tested (compare this to the lightest cart, the Tour Trek Tahoe, at 10.5 lbs., and the heaviest cart, the Sun Mountain Speed Cart V2, at 20 lbs.). It’s pretty bulky when it’s folded up, so you may need an engineering degree to figure out how to stow it in your trunk along with a couple of sets of clubs and all of the other junk that you keep back there. Our solution was to toss it in the back seat, although this leads to the danger of smearing mud, dirt and other grit and grime on your soft Corinthian leather seats… Side note – did you know the term “Corinthian leather” had no intrinsic meaning (or association with Corinth)? It was just something made up by the marketing folks at Chrysler – probably because it sounded so exotic when rolling off the tongue of Ricardo Montalban. Which reminds us – “Quien es mas macho – Ricardo Montalban o Fernando Lamas?” Montalban…o Lamas…Quien es mas macho?”
EASE OF SET-UP
The Bag Boy Automatic is tops among the carts we tested in terms of how easy it is to set up. You simply pull on the handle – as you do so, the cart will unfold until it automatically locks into the fully deployed position. The only additional step is to secure your bag to the cart with the upper and lower velcro straps. Our only complaint is that the lower strap seems to be ridiculously long – when we cinched it snugly around a standard lightweight stand bag, the end of the strap was dragging on the ground. Still, kudos to the designers at Bag Boy for making the set-up process so simple!
ON COURSE IMPRESSIONS
- Our review staff generally felt that the performance of the Bag Boy Automatic was fine as we tooled around on the course – we experienced no concerns about tipping over, and the cart was on par with its competitors in rolling through different terrain. We note that Bag Boy’s marketing literature touts its “G-Force” performance wheels as having lower rolling resistance than two unnamed competitors, and that there was up to 56.45% of additional resistance in one competitor. We didn’t attempt to replicate their tests, so we’ll leave it to you as to how seriously you weight Bag Boy’s data in your buying decision…suffice it to say that we didn’t notice any real difference in how easy or hard it was to push the Bag Boy compared to the other carts we tested.
- The brake lever is positioned underneath the right side of the push handle. Pull it all the way back to release the brake, or flip it forward to engage the brake.
- Instead of a friction-based bicycle brake, the Bag Boy Automatic has twelve gear notches around the right rear wheel and the brake is a pin that inserts into the nearest notch to stop the wheel from rolling. Other carts we tested that used similar brake mechanisms could be fussy, requiring you to push the cart slightly forward or pull it slightly back to position the gear notches where the “brake pin” could be inserted. Not so the Bag Boy Automatic – the sheer number of notches made it a cinch to engage.
- The tires are made of solid foam, so there is no danger of winding up with a flat.
- The handle is unique in that the angle of the handle cannot be pivoted up or down. Instead, Bag Boy accounts for users of different heights by making the length of the handle adjustable by up to an additional 8 inches – i.e. the handle telescopes up and down. Interesting way of solving the same problem – it seemed to work just fine on the course. Note that like all of its competitors, the Bag Boy Automatic requires finicky users (or just tall users) to re-adjust the handle every time they unfold the cart – the cart cannot maintain your prior handle height (in order for the Bag Boy Automatic to sit properly when it’s folded, the handle must be retracted all the way down).
The storage and accessories available on the Bag Boy include:
- an extremely small valuables tray with a magnetic lid. The tray is so small that it’s almost useless – by way of example, we were unable to fit a SkyCaddie SG5 in the tray by itself, and there was absolutely no WAY it was going to fit our “test case” of 2 golf balls, a GPS device, an iPhone, a set of keys, and a wallet . Thumbs down from us on this front – don’t the folks at Bag Boy realize that we’re extremely disorganized people who have a pathological need to store junk everywhere? (See, e.g., the proliferation of mini-storage facilities throughout this great land of ours.)
- a metal clip attached to the lid of the valuables tray that is designed to hold down a scorecard and secure a pencil
- 2 brackets on the underside of the push handle that will hold a single golf ball each
- an umbrella mount that holds an umbrella upright to provide you with shelter when it’s raining. The design of the Bag Boy Automatic requires the user to first unscrew a “nut” from the bottom of the holder, then pass the holder through the mount, then tighten the “nut” to secure the holder. This struck us as an odd way of doing it – the competing carts allow the user to just screw a holder directly into the cart.
- a small cup/bottle holder – we had problems fitting wider bottles into the holder.
We found the Bag Boy Automatic to fall significantly short in this category, not only because of its lack of storage capacity, but also because it lacked simple luxuries such as holes to provide quick access to extra tees and a strap to store an unused umbrella.
We had mixed feelings on the styling of the Bag Boy Automatic – the aluminum tubing looks rugged enough, but the 3-spoke wheels are reminiscent of those you would see on a jacked up Scion. On the plus side, the Bag Boy Automatic is available in some reasonably cool-looking color choices – black (with red trim), red (with black trim) and silver (with blue trim).
The Bag Boy Automatic’s retail price of $199.99 placed it in the middle of the pack among the units we tested. And while the Bag Boy is a nice enough cart, at that price, there isn’t enough “oomph” to it to provide any sort of extraordinary value for the money. But if you find it heavily discounted somewhere, it might be worth a look!