It seems inevitable that every golfer will, at some point in the life, decide that carrying their bag four or five miles around a course is too much work. Luckily for the modern golfer, there is a vast array of trolleys designed to be lightweight, compact and easy to use.
For those who don't fancy forking out for an electric trolley, a push trolley can be a simple, cost-effective way to transport your clubs around the course. Whilst Stewart Golf are known for their high-end electric trolleys, they do offer push trolleys in their Z-range. We got hold of their latest model, the Z3, and took it out for a spin.
The Stewart Z3 trolley comes in four colours and will cost around £189 to buy. Whilst I'll admit that is a lot of money for a push trolley, Stewart are confident that the performance, features and ease of use will convince golfers that the Z3 does offer value.
Right of out of the box, the Z3 looks and feels strong. At 8kg it is relatively heavy for a push trolley, but it didn't feel heavy on the course. The frame is made from lightweight aluminium and is paired with several plastic joints and attachments.
The three wheels are very light and feature a quick-release system that allows you to remove or attach them with a quick "click". You can remove them to store or transport the trolley, but I found this more hassle than it was worth.
Trolley manufacturers know that how small and easily their trolleys fold down will have a big influence on how golfers view their products. Thus, they all strive to make the simplest, most compact trolleys possible. And to be fair to Stewart, the Z3 was very easy to set-up and break down.
The system revolves around two clips, once on the base of the handle and one on the middle of the frame. Flipping the clips open allows you to fold the trolley down, and securing the clip on the frame locks the trolley in an easy-to-carry size and shape. Here's how I got breaking down the Z3.
Having learnt how to set-up the trolley, it was time to strap on my bag and head to the course.
Like the Z1 before it, the Stewart Z3 features two sets of "bag jaws" designed to secure the top and bottom of your bag. The jaws and straps that reach around your bag are very flexible and will fit any golf bag you will find. In fact, Stewart will give you a full refund if your bag doesn't fit the Z3.
With £189 on the line, I did try, but I couldn't find a bag that wouldn't fit. Tour bags, cart bags, stand bags and even pencil bags fit comfortably in the jaws, with the elastic straps holding it tightly for your round.
With my bag securely fastened, it was time to head to the first tee.
On flat ground, the Z3 is very easy to handle and felt extremely stable. Despite my fears over its initial weight, it did feel light on the move.
The large, rubber Z3 handle is extremely comfortable to hold and is easily suited to one or two hands. You can easily adjust the height of the handle using the same clip used to break down the trolley. It is worth playing around with the height to get the most comfortable and efficient position for you.
Just below the handle is the Z3's dashboard. Generously sized, it contains space for a water bottle, notches for additional accessories and a small compartment on which you can clip in your scorecard. Whilst some brands charge extra for it, the Z3 trolley comes complete with its own umbrella holder, which is screwed into the dashboard.
Whilst it is fairly basic and did flap a bit in the wind, it is a god-send if you find yourself out in the rain.
Inside the dashboard's compartment there is room for three balls and space for tees, keys, pencils or other small items. The inside of the door also features a clip in case you'd prefer to keep your scorecard private or away from the elements.
And before you ask, Stewart do sell an device holder, for £25, that will hold your phone or handheld GPS via one of the four additional notches on the dashboard.
As anyone who has used a push trolley knows, moving tends to be pretty straight forward, but stopping can often be more challenging. For that reason, the Z3 features a convenient foot brake behind the rear right wheel.
Lightly tap the grey paddle with your foot, and the rear right wheel will lock keeping the trolley in place. Having played a couple of times on a relatively hilly course, this was a much-needed, often-used feature. Only on the steepest of hills did the foot brake struggle, but for the most part it held its position wherever I needed it.
It would be nice to see the brake work on both rear tires, as on the occasions the brake wasn't strong enough, the right wheel would lock whilst the left wheel carried on sending the trolley on a sort of handbrake-turn to the right.
So, having used the Z3 for a couple of rounds, what did I make of it?
The biggest compliment I can give to the Z3 is that I didn't think about it much during my rounds. It is easy and light to manoeuvre and felt stronger and more stable that the majority of push trolleys I've used.
Breaking down and setting up the trolley was very simple and after doing it a few times, it became second nature. I do think some older golfers may find the weight of the trolley heavier than they would prefer, but for the majority of golfers it shouldn't cause any issues.
All that being said, I had a hard time noticing any real difference between the Z3 and the Z1 that Stewart released three years ago. They look the same, fold the same and have the same handle, dashboard, jaws and straps. Take nothing away from the Z3, or the Z1 for that reason, I was just expecting a little more progression.
As far as push trolleys go, the Z3 is the Rolls Royce. But like a Rolls Royce, it comes with a steep price tag. £189 is creeping very close to the lower end of the electric trolley market. For that type of price, I expect a lot of bells and whistles which the Z3 didn't seem to have. However, if you don't fancy the cost, maintenance and battery re-charging of an electric trolley, the Z3 is a good alternative.