I love to walk when I golf, but with a bad back I don’t carry my bag that often. So I like to use a push cart (“trolley” for my friends in the UK). I’ve had the BIG MAX Auto-Fold FF unit in play since this summer and put it through a very rigorous test battery. Yes, being one of the world’s top golf bloggers can be rough. You know, having to play golf and “evaluate” great golf equipment, apparel, and accessories. I do it for you, the HOG patron. Now let’s take a look at the BIG MAX Auto-Fold FF cart/trolley.
Big Max Auto-Fold FF in all its glory
The BIG Max Auto-Fold FF (okay that’s taking a lot of typing, so let’s call it the BMAF from this point on) is a 3-wheel push cart/trolley designed to make walking the course easy. The two rear wheels are large and wide and the front wheel a little smaller but still a wide tread. The wheels and wide wheelbase help the unit push very easy and ride very smoothly. I have a few other trolleys which shorter wheelbases and smaller wheels, and those designs seem to accentuate bumps and hills. The BMAF handles bumps and hills much better.
BIG MAX Auto-Fold FF Push Cart/Trolley
The frame of this unit is extremely solid and sturdy. Big Max makes many push carts for the rental pool of courses, and those must be tough. That knowledge and experience in design carries into the BMAF. That said, the unit is still quite light and easy to lift into the trunk of my car. When folding up, the two rear wheels can be easily removed.
The handle is big and solid with nice padding. That helps to make pushing the unit and steering it easy.
The golf bag is secured onto the cart with some nice and easy to use thick bungee cables with solid hooks. It’s a good way to secure the bag. The unit can cary bags up to the large “tour” size.
Speaking of the trunk, the unit folds for storage and transportation. Folding is very easy. In fact, no “latches” or buttons or anything else need be manipulated to fold it. Just grab the front wheel and pull up and it folds nicely.
I don’t have a large space in my trunk yet the folded unit still fits easily with my clubs (photo below).
In the trunk with the clubs
The accessory compartment (photo below) is located underneath the scorecard holder, conveniently behind the main handle. The pouch is very large. I bet it would easily hold 3-4 dozen golf balls. I put my GPS, phone, camera, sunglasses, cigars, cutter, tees, glove and small children in there.
Accessory storage, drink holder, umbrella holder
There is an umbrella mount (main photo). That’s great to have for not only when it is raining, but when it is bloody hot here in the desert. I’ll put up the umbrella to give myself shade.
A drink holder connects to the side of the handle with a “quick lock,” along with a GPS holder. Both are conveniently located for easy access.
The overall experience of using the Big Max Auto-Fold FF trolley is fantastic. It is extremely easy and enjoyable to push, despite its large footprint. It rides smoothly and provides a very solid and stable platform for my golf bag and all the rest of the stuff I bring onto the course.
On my next Scotland trip I might ship my Big Max there in advance!
I’ve played different versions of “Vegas Golf,” the game where you have casino chips representing different good and bad situations that happen on the golf course. Recently I put the Vegas Golf VIP version into play with my group. $42 later I think it worked out quite well. Let’s take a look.
Vegas Golf VIP Edition
This is a golf game played between 2-4 golfers. It wouldn’t be possible to play more than four due to the players being in different groups. The game comes with 19 casino-style chips. Each chip represents an event that can occur on the course, like making a birdie or 3-putting. Some events are positive, like the eagle, birdie, 3-pars-in-a-row chips. Some events are not good, like the water hazard, 3-putt, anger, lost ball chips.
During play the “chip keeper” will hand out chips to players as the events occur. In my round yesterday for instance, I hit a tree on the first tee shot. Yes, I captured the tree chip. If another golfer hit a tree after that, he/she would get the chip. There are certain chips that are very active, like the 1-putt chip.
The group decides on a bet value per chip. In the case of my group, we decided on $1.00 per chip. So if a player ended up with say the birdie chip at the end of 18 holes, he would collect $1.00 from each of the other players in the group. If a player ended up with one of the bad chips, like the 3-putt chip, he would pay each of the other players in the group $1.00.
During the round it is quite fun to razz your opponents and hand them the tree chip or the lost ball chip. It’s great to get rid of that one. It’s also great to capture the birdie chip, and hope to be able to keep it for the whole round.
This version of the game comes with a nice accessory bag to store the chips in. It clasps onto the golf bag for easy use and access.
Vegas Golf VIP is quite fun. My group had a blast playing it, except for the guy who ended up with the tree chip, worm burner chip, and water hazard chip. I don’t think he was too thrilled. But I digress.
This $50 valued golf game is $29 on Amazon and is a very fun and reasonably priced golf gift for the holidays, Christmas, Father’s Day, birthdays.
I’ve now been to St Andrews, the Home of Golf, on three separate occasions. I plan to return in 2018 and I know where my group will be staying, Albany Apartments. It’s the best combination of price, convenience, location, and quality of the many places I’ve stayed in the “Auld Grey Toon.” Let’s take a look:
Location Location Location
Albany Apartments is located on the famous North Street in St Andrews. North Street intersects with Golf Place, the primary access road to the Old Course. I would guess the total yardage from Albany Apartments to the Old Course is length of a short par-4. A long iron to Golf Place, then a 9-iron to the 18th green. It’s all of maybe a 90 second walk. Albany is a 45 second walk from the most famous pub in Scotland, the Dunvegan.
If one heads the opposite direction of the Old Course, the center of St Andrews is a 3-5 minute walk. Shops, restaurants, golf shops, golf shops, pubs, golf shops, pubs, are all very close by. Did I mention golf shops and pubs?
One minor drawback to Albany’s great location is that it could be “too close” to the pubs, if you know what I mean. On a warm summer night with the windows open one might be subjected to the horrendous and embarrassing sound of 10 drunk americans singing “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” at 2:00 a.m. like I was.
Albany features three bedrooms, located on the 3rd floor of the structure (see outside photo). They’re accessed via a rather fun spiral staircase, as is the 2nd floor from the street level. The bedrooms upstairs are spacious and feature a bathrooms with showers.
On the main level, one level up from the street, is a kitchen, spacious reading/sitting/TV room, restroom with bath, and a back deck which is located in a secluded garden (first image). The kitchen is fully appointed with a dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, microwave, and washer/dryer. There are even some staples in the cupboards.
The building was built in the late 1800’s, but renovated and modernized in roughly the mid-2000’s. The inside is very nicely appointed with quality furniture, carpeting, fine woodwork, and lots of great golf memorabilia to enjoy. The space is warm, clean, inviting, classy, and extremely comfortable.
Current pricing runs 50 pounds per person, with a four person minimum and three night minimum. This is a very reasonable price. Consider that a single room across the street at the Ardgowan Hotel ran me 120 pounds per night in 2012, and the rooms there are barely bigger than a sardine can. With a group of four or more golfers the cost per golfer, especially considering all of the great offerings I mentioned above, is unmatched. What a great value. To bring the cost down even more, a group of six could comfortably occupy the Albany Apartments.
Location, amenities, quality, space, price… No hotel in St Andrews can come close in any of those categories. If you are putting together a golf buddy trip to Scotland of four or more golfers and are looking for St Andrews hotels, look no further.
Albany Apartments website
Ardgowan Hotel St Andrews Review
St Fairmont St Andrews Hotel Review
Kingsbarns Golf Links Review
Carnoustie Golf Links Review
Balcomie Links at Crail Review
St Andrews New Course Review
For the first time in history, I spelled “aficionado” correctly without needing spell check or google… Yay me.
Today’s review is of a very unique golf and lifestyle product that not many golfers will get an opportunity to try, Pete Dye cigars. But since HOG is all about delivering unique and useful content which isn’t found elsewhere, I bring you this incredible bit of golf blogging.
First off, one must know who Pete Dye is before going much farther into this review. For those who don’t know, Pete Dye is one of golf’s all-time greatest golf course architects. Dye is known for his “Dye-abolical” designs around the world. Some of his most notable courses include TPC Sawgrass which is home of THE PLAYERS Championship. Always write “THE PLAYERS” in ALL CAPS! It’s what they do. Other courses Dye is famous for include PGA West, Trump National LA, Harbour Town, Kiawah Island, Whistling Straits, Casa de Campo, Southern Hills.
Recently I played and reviewed a newer Dye course in Indiana at the French Lick Resort, named the “Dye Course.” I must say that was probably the toughest course I’ve ever played, and by a large margin. The picture above right is of me and Mr. Dye at French Lick.
At the conclusion of the $350 round, the Dye Course at French Lick rewards the golfer for surviving by giving him and his group a goodie box with whisky and Pete Dye cigars inside. Thus, this Pete Dye cigar review.
Pete Dye Cigars
First one might think that a course giving out cigars is going to be giving out crap quality smokes. Honestly, I expected that too. But one must realize that Dye has a lot of courses, and even a house in the Dominican Republic. Depending on who you talk to, some say Dominican cigars rival Cuban cigars. I love them both. So these cigars are no cheapos. No way. They’re actually VERY good.
Pete Dye Cigars
This cigar is smooth and enjoyable. I’d call it a medium strength smoke. Through the life of the cigar, down to roach-clip-range, it was consistently flavorful. It didn’t get nasty at the end like come cigars do.
During one recent round I handed out these cigars to my pals. My golfing buddies who were with me that day enjoyed them very much. And as I usually do, I played my best golf with the cigar in action. I was EVEN PAR on the day. Thanks Pete. I can call you Pete, right?
I haven’t researched to find out if one can buy the Pete Dye cigars, or if so where they are available. The only place I know to get them is by playing golf at French Lick’s Dye Course. As good as these cigars are it just might be worth the $350/round cost to get them!
Golf balls can be insanely expensive. $40-$50-$60+ per DOZEN? $5.00 per ball? Damn. At that price I could lose $50 in golf balls on the first 4-5 holes on my tight, hazard-ridden home course if I don’t hit it well. That’s why I had to institute a “3-premium-ball lost limit” there. That’s a blog post for another day.
When I used to live next to the 1st tee on my home course I could sneak onto the course after hours and find literally hundreds of balls. I knew all the places to look because, well, I hit them there. Now I don’t have that luxury since moving a little farther away from the course.
There’s nothing better than finding a nice Titleist ProV1, or Bridgestone B330, or TaylorMade tour ball in the bushes. It’s like found money. No golfer other than perhaps PGA Tour pros is above playing that newly found ProV1 either. Hand raised.
So if a person is more than willing to play that pre-owned ball in the bushes, a look at LostGolfBalls.com is probably a good financial decision. LostGolfBalls.com has every model golf ball a golfer would ever want, slightly used, for a fraction of retail.
LostGolfBalls.com Golf Balls
LostGolfBalls.com offers several “levels” of used golf balls.
Refinished golf balls are balls that have been reconditioned at a factory that actually makes new golf balls. This is as close to a new golf ball as one can get without it actually being new.
AAAAA/1st Quality golf balls are mint used balls, not reconditioned. One may not be able to tell the difference between this and a new ball.
AAAA/2nd Quality golf balls are still in very good condition and may appear to have a little wear, similar to a ball that has been played for a few holes.
AAA/3rd Quality golf balls are still very playable but may have some smudges, scuffs, and blemishes.
Pricing for the different levels of balls is proportionate to their quality level. I chose to go with a couple of boxes of my current gamer ball, the Bridgestone B330 or B330-S. Let’s do some comparing.
On Bridgestone’s website a brand new box of B330’s costs $44.99, plus shipping.
The highest quality AAAAA/1st Quality B330 from LostGolfBalls.com’s website is listed at $23.99, about HALF of retail. For a golf ball that performs the same, the golfer can literally be paying around half the money. Great deal.
The next level ball is the AAAA/2nd Quality. These balls are priced at $15.99 per dozen.
Finally, there are refinished B330’s available for $12.99.
As a decent amateur golfer with a low single digit handicap, I see no difference in playability or performance between the AAAAA/1st Quality balls, and a brand new B330 I’ve played for a few holes. Well, there is a difference actually. It’s in my wallet.