Today I would like discuss the best way to move your clubs around the golf course. Many golfers will experience fatigue and/or pain on the course that can be related to the way they transfer their clubs.
The choice between using a cart and carrying your bag is one of personal preference. I believe it should also be about fitness. If you have the fitness levels to carry your bag without suffering from either mental or physical fatigue towards the end of the round it can make for great exercise. If you don’t have that level of fitness it will lead to fatigue and likely diminished quality of play. In certain circumstances it is recommend that competitive golfers to carry their bags in practice rounds so that they build their endurance and then use a caddy/cart for competition.
When using a carry bag I only recommend bags that have straps over both shoulders so the weight is equally distributed. The straps should be adjusted to a length where the bag fits in the small of the lower back comfortably. Single strap bags will often lead to shoulder and lower back pain due to the uneven distribution of weight. If you have a history of lower back pain or your pain is exacerbated with using a carry bag you should speak to a golf physio before continuing use.
Many golfers prefer to use a cart for their clubs, myself included. The convenience of having a cup and umbrella holder as well as easy access to my rangefinder and scorecard are my main reasons. When choosing a suitable cart there is one key feature to consider; is the cart designed to be pushed or pulled? Pull carts are mostly two wheeled while the push carts are 3 or 4 wheeled.
The answer is push carts are better. When walking, especially long distances, lower back pain often develops in golfers. Pulling a cart causes golfers to lean backward, putting more stress through their Lumbar spine. This leaning back causes us to not engage our Abdominal muscles as much when walking, thereby increasing the load on the back even further. Having one arm behind you holding the cart also creates a twisting through the spine while walking, again creating unnecessary stress and altering the natural biomechanics of walking.
Push carts allow you to maintain a tall upright position with good Abdominal activation and without twisting through the spine. This change alone will often help alleviate the symptoms of lower back pain in many golfers. If strength and endurance are still a concern then a motorised cart may provide even more benefit.
I hope that helps. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly via email on the contact page of the website or book an appointment.
**please consult a medical professional before commencing any physical activity if you have health concerns**