Long gone are the days, at least in Australia, when we could trust in our ever dependable caddy to give us valuable course information, help us with a read on a putt or two, and of course carry our golf clubs around the course.
Luckily, technology has come a long way in filling the gap.
We now have devices to give us all the course information we need. We are now spoilt for choice on motorised golf buggies to effortlessly get our clubs around the course. No tipping involved.
But which is the best motorised golf buggy for you? And what should you look for when choosing a buggy?
I've included answers below to the most common questions my customers have asked me when looking to buy a motorised golf buggy. Maybe you also have a few unanswered questions of your own. The information below will help answer your questions and get your decision.
How much power do I need?
Motor size, or power, is measured in Watts and buggy motors typically range from 180 to 250W in power. The smaller the number the less power the motor will deliver.
Most motors in that range will be able to get you around most courses no problem, but there are two factors that might make you want to err on the large side when it comes to motor power.
First, if you regularly play a hilly course then you should think about getting a larger motor. Also, If you plan to lug a large bag plus lots of accessories around the course then large is the way to go.
What type of battery should I get?
This one should be easy. In a word -- Lithium.
You may come across a range of battery types but in the end, there are only two main types of batteries. lead-acid, and lithium-Ion.
Lead Acid, Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) and Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are all varieties of the of old-school lead-acid battery family.
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) and Lithium Cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) are varieties of the newer lithium-ion batteries.
Lead acid batteries are cheaper, and that's where the advantages end. Lithium-ion batteries are a fraction of the size and weight of an equivalent lead-acid battery and last about three times longer.
Plus, you never have to worry about dangerous gases being released while charging lithium-ion batteries as you do with lead-acid.
What size battery should I get?
Battery size, or capacity goes hand in hand with motor power. There is no point in having a powerful motor paired with a battery that leaves you powerless halfway through your round.
Battery capacity, or how long a battery will hold a single charge, is measured in Amp Hours (AH) and battery capacity for buggies range from 10AH to about 30AH.
The larger the buggy motor, the larger the battery capacity you need. This is because larger motors will draw more current (amps) and will deplete batteries faster.
If you have a choice and you can afford it, go with the higher capacity battery. Yes, it will weigh more than a battery with less capacity, but you will be able to play more golf between charges and will never have to worry about losing power mid-round.
Should I get three wheels or four?
There is a very good reason why cars tend to have four wheels: more stability. Granted, you won't be breaking any speed records with your buggy on the course and the fourth wheel will add a bit of weight to your buggy.
So, I would say that this is a personal choice. But if the course you play is moderately hilly you may be better off with the added stability of a four-wheel buggy.
Will it fit in my car boot?
I have not seen a buggy that does not fit in your average-sized car boot. The question is whether you will be able to fit both your clubs and your buggy in at the same time.
Buggies fold down into a range of sizes and shapes so if you are concerned about space then there are definitely some buggies like the QOD Q1 that will work, no matter how small your boot.
What should the buggy frame be made of?
Buggy frames are typically built from one, or a combination of three materials: Aluminium, Steel or Titanium.
Aluminium is extremely light which is a good thing. The downside is that aluminum is soft which means it may dent easily.
Steel is a common option because it is strong and durable, but it does add more weight than aluminium.
Titanium is both lightweight and strong and would be perfect, except that it is expensive. Because of this, titanium is only used sparingly on golf buggies.
How much should my buggy weigh?
Most motorised buggies will weigh between 9kg and 12 kg without the battery. This weight will depend on what materials the frame is made of and their design.
Lighter buggies are of course going to be easier to get into and out of your car and can get you around the course, even a moderately hilly one, with a smaller motor and battery.
A buggy may be heavier because it offers a higher level of sturdiness in its design that you are happy to trade for added weight.
Should I get one with a remote control?
I get it. Remote control buggies do fulfill the dream of having an autonomous caddy that can take your clubs around the course unassisted. In reality, there is some level of fiddling around needed to guide your buggy and all remotes are not created equal.
Some will only give you forward or reverse motion control while others will give you full directional control. Look out for this key differences when shopping around.
Also, some remotes require active control while other, blue-tooth enabled remotes are designed to track a device that you keep on your person.
There are a few downsides to having a remote controlled buggy that you should be aware of.
The most obvious one is cost. Remote controlled buggies cost about 20% more than your standard motorised buggy.
Then there is the fiddliness I mentioned before. Many people complain about always having to think about controlling your buggy remotely during their round.
That takes away from thinking about their game, or just enjoying the outdoors. Though, I'm sure that it is a skill you get better at and will get more used to with time.
Finally, every golf club has a story or two about buggies that make the wrong turn and end up at the bottom of a water hazard. Whether it is user or machine error is unclear, but this is an added risk with remote controlled buggies.
What if I want to push my buggy?
There are times, particularly in tight spots, when you might want or need to manually guide your buggy.
Most motorised buggies will have a free-wheel mode that allows you to push the buggy as you would a manual buggy.
Some buggies will have this option available at all time so you can seamlessly go from motorised to manual. Others may require a small adjustment before pushing so that you do not damage the motor.
If your buggy provides a seamless transition, this could also mean that there is no built-in brake once the buggy has stopped and will roll if you happen to park on an incline. Something else to think about.
What are some of the bells and whistles I can expect?
In addition to some of the features I've mentioned above, here are a few other features you can expect to see on most motorised buggies:
VariableSpeed adjustment -- You should be able to adjust the speed at which your motorised buggy advances either through a knob or buttons to increase or decrease the speed
Interval advance -- Some buggies will allow you to advance your buggy unassisted 10, 20 or 30 meters ahead in the direction you point it. This will be handy if you are about to play your shot and want the buggy out of the way. Or you are looking for a ball and you want your buggy to meet you down the fairway once you are done.
Adjustable Handles -- On most buggies, you should be able to adjust the height of the handle to fit your height.
Seat Attachment -- Like their non-electric cousins, some motorised buggies do come with a seat attachment that comes in handy if you want to take a rest during your round.
Accessories -- There is a wide range of accessories that are either included with your purchase or purchased separately. This could be a differentiating factor since the number of accessories that are available for a particular make of buggy does vary and many accessories are not interchangeable across brands. Accessories that you should expect to see available are umbrella holder, drink holder, scorecard holder, attachable seat, and accessories pouch for your balls & tees.
Motorised buggies do take strokes off your game by increasing your focus and energy levels during a round.
But... if this is the first time buying a motorised buggy, we understand how overwhelming it might be to make the right choice.
If there are still some unanswered questions you have, leave a note below and one of our team will be sure to answer it for you.
About Zoom Golf
Zoom Golf Australia sells affordable golf gear that we guarantee will help you play better golf.
Click here to see our range of motorised buggies.