Talk long enough to anyone who regularly walks when they play golf and they'll eventually tell you two things. First, walking is the best way to play golf. The fresh air, the feel of the ground beneath your feet, the perfect rhythm it creates. And second, that sometimes 14 clubs, a dozen balls, a rain jacket, an umbrella, a bag, and miscellaneous other goodies can be an awful lot to carry.
Trolleys or carts - be they of the push or pull variety - have long served as a great compromise. Golfers could walk and enjoy all that offers them while shedding the load from shoulders already burdened with making par at the last to relieve their friends of a few bucks.
Earlier this year, Sun Mountain rolled out the Micro Cart. The cart is positioned, both in terms of size and price, as a direct competitor to the Clicgear cart we reviewed about a year ago. What did we find out about the Micro Cart? Read on to find out.
Design, Setup, and Specifications
The first thing you'll probably notice about the Micro Cart is that, unlike virtually every other push cart you've seen with three wheels, the Micro Cart has four. Sun Mountain says that the extra wheel eliminates the need to tune the cart to travel in a straight line - and if you've ever had an improperly-adjusted three-wheel push cart you know what they mean. Additionally, the added wheel increases stability when you're traveling on sideways slopes.
Sun Mountain made sure that you'd notice something else as well: the incredibly small size of the Micro Cart. The Micro Cart folds down to 2.7 cubic feet and doesn't require any assembly. The cart folds up or out in one or two basic moves. Those 52 cubic inches break down as follows: 12" x 17" x 25" (Those are my measurements. Officially it's 24" x 16" x 12"). This leaves the Micro Cart marginally larger than the Clicgear, which clocks in at: 13" x 15" x 24". An inch here or there, so basically you take take this away: they're virtually the same size when folded.
But the the Micro Cart wins in another "micro" way: weight. The Sun Mountain offering tallies a svelte 13 pounds. Compare that to the Clicgear at 18 pounds. Now, a few pounds is not a lot of weight when you're talking about things with wheels, but five pounds is bordering on significant simply because you've gotta bend into your car to pull the cart out from time to time.
The Micro Cart's four wheels are standard, low-maintenance solid foam, both as a space and weight savings and convenience - no flat tires (and no pump necessary). The front tires are mounted on an adjustable axle to accommodate the largest of golf bags. The frame is anodized aluminum, is available in four colors (black, silver, red, blue), and folds in one easy motion. The Micro Cart offers two handle-height positions, a strapless bag bracket, and a console with a padded valuables tray, ball and tee holders, a magnetized scorecard holder, and a drink holder.
The Micro Cart also boasts what Sun Mountain has billed as "a totally new, contemporary look." Uhmmm, okay. It's a push cart, fellas. Let's not get too carried away in the marketing department! It looks nice, but, well, okay.
MSRP is $239, but you can find the Micro Cart for $199 pretty easily.
Setup, Operation, and Performance
From its folded up position, unfolding the Micro Cart is a simple process. First you unlatch the handle (the latch is part of the cupholder), then you lift. The cart unfolds outward and upward with that one motion, and is virtually ready to use. The second (or third) step is to flip a latching mechanism over and click it down to lock the cart in place. Oh, there's a fourth step as well: flip up the foot upon which your bag rests.
To fold the cart, you reverse the steps: flip the bag-rest foot down, unlock the clip, and push down, making sure that click one of the clips onto the proper area of the cupholder. This clip locks the cart in a folded position. You can carry it about by the handles in this folded, locked position pretty easily.
In either direction, the process takes about ten seconds, and that's if it takes you six seconds to start and stop the timer. It's at least as easy to fold as the Clicgear cart, and likely a bit easier.
Like Sun Mountain's other carts, the bag doesn't so much "attach" to the cart as it rests upon it. The two frame rails at the base of the cart support the cart bag while the aforementioned flip-out foot supports the weight of the bag. Near the bag's collar, two flip-out plastic clips squeeze the bag to hold it in place. These clips are adjustable via a simple thumb screw, and do all that's necessary. Except for the rare occasion when the golfer (me, in this case) acts like a complete buffoon and rolls his cart down a steep hill with a tree or two in the way to topple the cart, the bag remains securely resting upon the cart at all times, without any worries, no need for bungees or straps.
On the course, the Micro Cart was a joy to use. On fairways and shorter rough, the foam tires rolled quite smoothly. Foam wheels don't always feel better than their inflated brethren on cart paths or in taller rough, but I'll take foam wheels for their simplicity and their decreased impact on the grass, particularly in moist conditions.
Sun Mountain's claims about the lack of a need for tracking adjustments seemed correct in my testing: the cart would veer slightly with slopes, but that's simple physics. On even terrain, the cart went straighter than Moe Norman's golf balls. Furthermore, the advantages the fourth wheel offers in navigating side slopes was an unexpected bonus. The extra four inches or so of lateral stability comes in handy several times around Lake View and several other golf courses.
Like other Sun Mountain carts, the Micro Cart uses a lever brake near the handles. Unlike the Speed E Cart's tension-based brake, the Micro Cart employs a pin brake: a metallic pin pierces a disc on the left rear wheel to prevent movement. The Micro Cart's method works better.
The handle adjusts to two heights, and they vary by about eight inches: 34" and 42" from the ground. My only complaint with the Micro Cart involves the handle. Not only did I find myself wishing for a position in between - one feels too high and the other too low - but I also found that the handles would often "slip" when I pushed down on the handlebars to lift the front wheels of the cart to jump a curb or something. I learned to be a bit more careful and to apply a bit more pressure backwards rather than down to avoid "slipping" the handles, but it doesn't seem like something I should have to worry about. I suppose there was no room for Sun Mountain's typical fine-grained teethed handle locking mechanism.
The console is a nice touch that contains just about everything you'd need: spaces for tees, your pencil, a spare ball, and a magnetic clip to hold your scorecard. Beneath, plenty of room for your wallet, a spare pair of sunglasses (in a soft pouch), your car keys, etc. The cup holder will fit a 12 oz. can and smaller plastic bottles, but if you carry a 32 oz. Gatorade, you're out of luck, just as you would be in a full-on golf cart.
Durability of the cart was good, and I can attest to the fact that the weight savings found in the Micro Cart are indeed a plus: not just for getting the cart out of the trunk of a car, but down from a hanger on the wall or even just moving it about while cleaning the garage.
Finally, two things I never found myself using, but which are nice. The Micro Cart comes with their standard umbrella holder. It's a tube, it's stored beneath the handles, and it threads into a screw on the center of the handles to keep your clubs and you, when you're pushing the cart, dry. Second, the adjustable front wheels. You can slide each wheel out a few inches to widen the space, but I put an Ogio cart bag on it and still had plenty of room to spare in the "narrow" setting, so I'm not sure how many people have bags so large they'll need this, though the option is there if you do.
MSRP is $239, but the retail price is $199. The Micro Cart is available in black, silver, red, and blue. Each cart comes with the cart and a screw-in umbrella holder. The cart weighs 13 pounds and folds down to about 12" x 16" x 25".
Though I've never taken the Clicgear cart around 18 holes, I can't imagine it could perform any better than the Micro Cart from Sun Mountain. The Micro Cart folds up to the same small size, weighs five pounds less, comes with all the same features, and a fourth wheel which eliminates tracking adjustments and improves stability.
At $199 - the same price as that other cart - this one seems like a no-brainer for those in the market for a light, small push cart. The Micro Cart does everything I could want, economically, and with that "totally new, contemporary look." If you walk and like to take a push cart, consider the Sun Mountain Micro Cart one of the best available.