Trolley Test 2015

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Top Gear
Top Gear
Top Gear

It wasn’t long ago that electric trolleys were considered a purchase for the over 60s or those who needed extra help completing a full 18 holes. Today that’s all changed. 

Over half of UK golfers use one to take the strain out of carrying a heavy bag, and help them stay fresh and competitive over the latter holes of a round. More serious golfers who play 36-hole competitions also use a trolley to maintain a competitive edge for their second round. But with prices ranging from a few hundred pounds to well over £1,000, which should you consider? Should you go for lead acid or lithium battery? 18 or 36 holes? Standard or remote option? 

To help you make a more informed decision, we put 11 of the leading models to the test, to give you a shortlist worth consideration. 

 

How we did the test

We asked the leading manufacturers of electric trolleys to send us their most popular models. We divided them up among TG’s playing staff to make sure each was put through its paces over a number of rounds. Each battery was charged a number of times, each had to be lifted in and out of a car boot and each got to strut its stuff on the course in different conditions, so that we could bring you the most valuable buying advice. 

Equipment Editor Simon Daddow also evaluated each model during assembly, photography and playing to ensure fairness between testers.

 

The Trolleys

Powerbug Ultra V
(27-hole lithium)

Trolley Test 2015

£599

Weight excluding battery: 10kg
Weight of battery: 1kg
Contact: www.gpsgolfbuddy.eu

What you need to know
The Ultra V comes with a built-in UV sensor in the handle to alert you to when UV rays reach dangerous levels on the course. Both battery and trolley are covered by a five- year warranty. Powerbug says its 27-hole lithium battery is the smallest and lightest available – it’s just 13cm x 9cm x 8cm. The LCD screen shows battery level, distance measurement, a clock, a round or lost ball timer and speed settings. Wide tyres offer lots of grip.   

Our first impressions
A pretty conventional electric trolley, a couple of folding mid parts need to be negotiated to get it upright. We like how the trolley can be locked in the folded position which makes it a lot easier to load into and get out of the car. Comment must be given to the battery. We know it’s not all about size, but Powerbug’s lithium battery is tiny and, unbelievably, can keep you going for 27 holes on one charge. 

Living with it
With a relatively hefty price-tag for a lesser-known brand the Ultra V had its work cut out to impress, but impress it really did. It’s as easy to assemble and use as any trolley I’ve come across with an exceptional level of functions that are quick and easy to understand. The ability to measure shot yardages is both useful and fun, while the round timer ensures you don’t fall behind. But I’d argue that the UV sensor, while working well, is arguably a gimmick too far. I tested the trolley with both a stand and cart bag and both were given a secure, smooth ride. The tyres coped well in all conditions, impressive given the undulating nature of my home course and, as promised, the impressively tiny battery breezed through 27 holes. 

 

PowaKaddy FW3
(18-hole lithium)


Trolley Test 2015

£499

Weight excluding battery: 10kg
Weight of battery: 2kg
Contact: www.powakaddy.com

What you need to know
PowaKaddy bill the FW3 as a great entry-level trolley. You get a choice of four battery types (18, 36-hole lithium and lead acid) so you can tailor the cost to your budget. There’s a “whisper-quiet” motor, plug-and-play battery system, low profile wheels and tyres, and a simple on/off LED indicator along with integrated bungees on both upper and lower bag stays. Folded the trolley measures 86cm length x 57cm wide x 38.5cm height.  

Our first impressions
A sleek looking machine, and though it’s pretty basic in terms of raw features, it doesn’t miss out on looking the part. Basic doesn’t mean bad either – in today’s technology laden world it’s often what people are looking for. The folding mechanism is easy to operate, and the integrated bungee straps make it really easy to lob your golf bag on and get going quickly. 

Living with it
If you’re looking for a trolley that only does the basics – but does them extremely well – look no further. It’s quick and easy to assemble and fold away, and simple to secure your bag – whatever its size – using the two bright yellow bungee straps. An extremely sturdy ride gives you confidence that it won’t tip over, even traversing severe undulations, leaving you free to concentrate on your game. There’s no display to speak of, other than a single dot to show it’s in standby (red) or active (green), and no fancy features, but in terms of simple usability and performance, you can’t knock it. You could have this out of the box and happily riding along the course within a minute, without ever needing to consult the user manual.


 

GoKart Automatic (lithium)

Trolley Test 2015

£429

Weight excluding battery: 9.5kg
Weight of battery: 3kg
Contact: www.gokart.co.uk

- What you need to know
Each trolley is made by GoKart in the UK and the company has won two design awards for innovation. It couldn’t be simpler to use. There’s an on/off switch and to move you simply grab the handle and the trolley will match its speed to your pace. There’s no LCD display and no connectors to fiddle about with because the battery is the connector between the top and bottom of the trolley. The treaded wheels can be removed to pack the trolley down.   

- Our first impressions
You’ve got to hand it to GoKart – as trolleys go they don’t get much easier than this to set up. It’s really intuitive, simple, straightforward and “gadget free” which for technophobes can be a real plus. The design challenges the idea of a traditional trolley, but we were pleasantly surprised. 

- Living with it
Top marks go to the GoKart for its compactness. It really makes an effort to fold as small as possible, which has to be a consideration if your car has a tiny boot or storage space is at a premium at home. In theory the automatic handle which matches the trolley to your walking pace is a great idea – for us it just wasn’t quite as seamless as we hoped. It also means your hand has to be in constant contact with the machine, which stopped me from taking my glove off while walking to the green or grabbing a drink from my bag. In summary the GoKart is really simple to set up and use, and works well. But when put up against stiff competition I’m not sure I’d choose this model over some of the others in the test.

 

Motocaddy S7 Remote


Trolley Test 2015

£799.99


Weight excluding battery: 13kg
Weight of battery: 2.5kg
Contact: www.motocaddy.com

What you need to know
The first remote controlled trolley in Motocaddy’s range uses two motors to provide a blend of power and precision. A rear anti-tip wheel and some pretty hefty treaded tyres mean the S7 is well suited to rugged terrain. Some nifty electronics mean you also get downhill control, lateral slope compensation, forward/left/right and reverse controls and a simple manual control mode. Folded down the trolley measures 101cm length x 610 width x 335 height.

Our first impressions
This is a bit of a beast. The chassis is a bit bigger, the tyres look a bit wider and they’re heavily treaded. There’s a swivelling front wheel and a rear anti-tip wheel gives the impression it’s got some power under the bonnet. It felt unusual in this day and age to need a screw driver to take the remote control apart to insert the batteries. I’m not sure why this can’t be clipped together for ease, but once they’re in you’re ready to go.   

Living with it
It took me a while to get used to walking onto the green and sending the trolley off to the next tee, but it’s very neat. I’ll admit I did have one mishap which resulted in the trolley being upended in a bunker, but that, I’m happy to admit, was entirely operator error. It took me a few holes to get used to the sensitivity of the remote control buttons, but once I had, using the trolley was a walk in the park. If I had one gripe it is that the trolley doesn’t fold up that small and it is pretty large to lift in and out of the car boot. If you can live with this, though, the S7 is guaranteed to put a smile on your face
 

Hill Billy (18-hole standard)

Trolley Test 2015

£259 - £359

Weight excluding battery: 9kg
Weight of battery: 7.5kg
Contact: www.hillbilly.co.uk

What you need to know
The height of simplicity – there is one model in the range and it comes with a lead acid or lithium battery. You get a two-year guarantee on the trolley and lithium battery and a one-year guarantee on the lead acid battery. There’s a 28-day no quibble trial, so if you’re not entirely happy with it they’ll pick it up and take it back. Folded the trolley measures 92cm length x 56cm width x 33.5cm height.

Our first impressions 
This is the cheapest trolley on test, but first impressions wouldn’t necessarily disclose this. Yes, there’s an extra folding part (over some of the competition) to get the trolley upright, but once up it’s just as stable. The big difference we saw was in the battery weight. The standard lead acid battery weighed a ton compared to super lightweight lithium alternatives. Operating is a simple on/off click, and a rotating speed wheel selects your desired pace. 

Living with it
The Hill Billy really is the height of simplicity… if you’re not one for masses of technology it is a great option. Two folds and the trolley is up and ready to head for the first tee and the manual controls couldn’t be easier to fathom. If you’ve used older style electric trolleys before (the ones that threw your bag off after a few holes over rough ground) you’ll love the integrated bungees which kept your bag secure. It was on this particularly hilly terrain the Hill Billy showed both its brilliance and weakness. Yes it powered up the hills with ease, but it was also prone to tipping backwards, spilling clubs everywhere. If you played on a hilly course you’d certainly learn your lesson and take precautions.

 

Golf Stream Duo


Trolley Test 2015

£379 - £549


Weight excluding battery: 10kg
Weight of battery: 2.5kg
Contact: www.golfstream.co.uk

What you need to know
A two-point folding mechanism is combined with a rubberised T-Bar handle. A digital display lets you know how quick you’re moving (up to 9.5mph) and Gulfstream says it’s ideal for those who just want a start and stop function. There’s also a 200 watt motor, 10, 20 and 30-metre distance controls, security code and plenty of optional extra accessories. Folded down the trolley measures 88cm length x 59.5cm width x 33cm height. 

Our first impressions
The structure feels really stable and well put together, even if it does have a pretty traditional look. Unfolding the trolley for the first time, the joints need to be clicked into position which was noticeably different to some of the others which clicked themselves into position. The handle really is a no nonsense affair – click the speed wheel for on and off and twist to set your speed...what could be easier?

Living with it
Folding and unfolding was very straightforward, taking only a matter of seconds. I needed to fit everything in the car boot for a weekend trip, so removing the wheels quickly and easily helped get the trolley to a manageable size. Fitting the bag was easy enough – with a clip strap at the top holding it firmly in place. I’d have preferred the same attachment for the base, rather than the elastic strap that didn’t feel quite as secure. The base plate for the small lithium battery could fit the battery more snugly,  but again the strap fitting held it in place perfectly well. The battery managed 18 holes and once I’d got the speed setting adjusted correctly the start and stop control was perfect.


 

EZiCaddy 3 Digital (lithium)

Trolley Test 2015

£299

Weight excluding battery: 8kg
Weight of battery: 2.5kg
Contact: www.ezicaddy.com

What you need to know
The EZiCaddy is designed and assembled in the UK. Its three-way folding system is very similar to the Hill Billy, and every trolley comes with a two-year warranty and 28-day trial period. EZiCaddy says the motor is a 200-watt whisper-quiet design and the battery is a simple plug-and-play design, so you never need to be fiddling about with any wires and connectors. EZiCaddy only sells direct to the consumer so they believe they can offer the most competitive prices. Folded the trolley measures 92cm length x 56cm width x 33.5cm height.

Our first impressions 
A really simple, honest construction. It won’t win any design awards, but I guess that was never what the trolley was created for. It’s been designed to get your clubs around a course and it will do that very well. It’s not the most compact trolley we tested, but it does lock down and stand up really nicely for easy storage, once the battery has been removed. The digital display is clear and bright (but effectively costs an extra £50 over the more basic EZ1) and a USB slot may come in handy to charge a GPS or phone. 

Living with it
Did the EZiCaddy live up to its name? First signs, albeit visual, were extremely encouraging and it fitted easily into the boot of my car even though it already included my golf bag and a suitcase – required for a short golf break. The trolley met its match on a particularly undulating back nine at Mannings Heath GC, where it had a tendency to tip backwards on severe slopes. That said I particularly like the simplicity – its either on or off and then set the speed dial to your walking pace. For technophobes I’d recommend it. 

 

Greenhill GT


Trolley Test 2015

£239 - £329


Weight excluding battery: 9.5kg
Weight of battery: 2.5kg
Contact: www.greenhillgolf.co.uk

What you need to know
You get a choice of four battery types (18 & 36-hole lithium and lead acid) so it’s possible to tailor the trolley cost to your budget. Greenhill has its own “Z” Folding chassis, which has a fold under front wheel to help improve compactness. The GT series comes with an ergonomic handle with a simple on/off switch and rotating dial for controlling your speed.  

Our first impressions
First impressions really do count and the tubular construction of the Greenhill doesn’t feel quite as modern as some of the beautifully sculpted bodies of some of the other trolleys on test. Where others have bungees to secure your bag the Greenhill has the functional but not quite so attractive webbed straps and click clips. We particularly like how the battery comes ready to use. 

Living with it
If we only judge the trolley on how it gets round the golf course the Greenhill does the job reasonably well. But in the modern day we like our gear to look good and be desirable, and this is where the Greenhill loses some of its appeal. Its construction is nowhere near as sleek as some of the others on test and likewise the traditional snap clip and webbing straps for holding the bag in place are just not quite as good as the modern integrated bungee straps used by others. Functionality is a really simple affair – an on/off switch and speed wheel are a doddle to use. I like how the front wheel folds away to allow the trolley to fold down as small as possible for transportation and storage. But when you compare it against the stiff competition in this test we would struggle to recommend it in front of some of the others.


 

Stewart Golf X9 Remote

Trolley Test 2015

£999

Weight excluding battery: 15kg
Weight of battery: 2.5kg
Contact: www.stewartgolf.co.uk

What you need to know
You can remotely control the X9 from up to 50 metres away so it can go round the green while you walk across it. An onboard electronics system speaks to the remote handset via Bluetooth to ensure a smooth, responsive passage around the course. Because of the price and the investment in some expensive electronics you also get a 24-month warranty. Folded the trolley measures 82cm length x 66cm width x 31.9cm height. Each trolley is hand-built in the UK. 

Our first impressions 
There’s no getting away from it – the Stewart is a big machine. Carrying it from our office to the car was no mean feat, but of course you wouldn’t ordinarily need to carry it such a distance every weekend. Stewart has given huge amounts of thought to the shape, styling and the electronics behind the X9 and it has to be said it looks every bit the part. On its first appearance at my local course it certainly caused a stir, I just hope the novelty value doesn’t wear off. 

Living with it
I found the X9 Remote incredibly easy to use. It folds and unfolds easily and is just about light enough to lift out of a car boot without much hassle. Bungee straps keep your golf bag securely in place during the round. The remote is also rechargeable, so you don’t need to carry spare batteries with you. Manoeuvrability was easy with the remote, and the reaction time between the two was instantaneous. The trolley wasn’t the smoothest to start and stop and lurched forward a few times. The battery housing looks very smart, even if it was a bit flimsy. 

 
 

Motocaddy S1 Pro

Trolley Test 2015

£349.99 - £499.99


Weight excluding battery: 9kg 
Weight of battery: 2kg 
Contact: www.motocaddy.com

What you need to know:
Motocaddy says their S1 is one of the easiest trolleys to assemble. Its Quikfold mechanism should have you on the course in no time. You get a choice of four battery types (18 & 36-hole lithium and lead acid) so it’s possible to tailor the cost to your budget. The Pro also boasts of a USB charging port, nine speed settings, a speed indicator, battery indicator and the all-important ergonomic handle. Folded down the trolley measures 86.5cm length x 59.5cm width x 33.5cm height and you also get a 24-month warranty.

Our first impressions
Motocaddy has come a long way since they first started out 10 years ago and you can see they’ve learnt loads as their trolleys have updated with each generation. It wasn’t long ago that “stylish” and “electric trolley” would not have been entertained in the same sentence. But Motocaddy’s S1 is a product that’s desirable, it looks great and performs with the best of them.

Living with it
The no-nonsense digital display shows speed control, battery life and a really handy 15, 30 or 45-yard distance control. This year’s “quikfold” system is a massive improvement over more dated models – assembly time is a mere three seconds, and folding the trolley back down for storage is just as quick. The test trolley came equipped with an 18-hole lithium battery, but I would suggest paying an extra £50 for the 36-hole lithium option for occasions when one round isn’t enough. Overall the trolley offers modern styling, superb reliability and ease of use at a competitive price. I have no hesitation in recommending it.


 

PowaKaddy FW7 (18h lithium)

Trolley Test 2015

£599

Weight excluding battery: 11kg 
Weight of battery: 2kg 
Contact: www.powkaddy.com

What you need to know
PowaKaddy says the FW7 combines market leading engineering with superb digital functionality. You get a choice of four battery types (18 & 36-hole lithium and lead acid) so it’s possible to tailor the trolley cost to your budget. The LCD display gives a wealth of information from distance measuring, to a clock, timer, odometer, speed display, battery fuel indicator and has the ability for you to set an “anti-tamper” security pin. There’s also a useful USB charging point under the handle and the folded dimensions are 86cm length x 57cm width x 38.5cm height.

Our first impressions
Comparing the FW7 to the more basic FW3, it’s evident where the extra money has been spent. Yes, there a little bit of carbon fibre which adds to the cosmetic appeal, but it’s the extra functions that are available which will grab you. Integrated bungee straps make it really easy to position and secure your bag on the trolley if you’re in a rush to the first tee. 

Living with it
The FW7 is a serious piece of kit – it has the bells and whistles that lots of modern golfers crave. Doing the simple things well means more to me, so I like how the battery stays in situ even when the body is folded and locked down. It means I put the battery in at home and don’t worry about plugging in or connecting anything until I get back home after the round. There are tons of gadgets to show you everything from how long your round takes to how far you’ve hit it and what the time is. It is really well constructed (we used it over some pretty rugged ground) and it performed superbly. It also easily fits into the boot of my Ford Focus with both wheels attached.

 

Things to consider before you buy

An electric trolley isn’t an insignificant purchase, so after spending two months testing the latest models, here’s nine things you need to consider before buying one...  

Weight
It’s essential you’re comfortable lifting the trolley into and out of the boot of the car. Obviously the lighter the better, especially if you also have to carry the trolley from a garage or shed to the car.

Folded size
Firstly the trolley has to fit in the boot of your car. It’s also worth considering how much space is left for your golf clubs, especially if you use a large cart bag.

Does it stand up when folded?
In our opinion this is really important when it comes to storing the trolley. It’s better to stand the trolley out of the way against a garage wall as it takes up less floor space.

Electronic features
How much do you really need your trolley to charge your phone or tell the time? If you already have a GPS and rangefinder you probably won’t need it to measure shot distances. But UV sensors, USB slots etc all come at an extra cost, so if you’re not going to use them much, opt for a more basic model. 

Check the warranty
Electronics have the capability of failing at any time, so to protect yourself and your wallet as much as possible it’s worth looking at models that give longer guarantees.    

Battery life
Whether you go for 18 or 36 holes is difficult for us to answer, but how do you usually play your golf? If it’s one round at a time go for the 18-hole battery. If your playing habits change, buy another 18-hole battery to keep you going for 36.

Should I buy a new bag?
Some trolley manufacturers offer cart bags that are designed to fit perfectly onto their own trolley bases. Experience tells us not all bags sit well on all trolleys. Check when you buy it that your existing bag fits properly – or look for deals with a manufacturers’ bag thrown in. 

Be comfortable with the speed controls
We often hear stories of trolleys leading people around the course, rather than the other way round. Check the speeds before you buy – if your pace is particularly slow or quick, make sure a setting matches. 

Lead acid or lithium? On average lithium batteries are £100 plus more expensive than lead acid ones. But there are many advantages to the new tech: