Last Saturday I played in a disc golf tournament at the Jolley’s Ranch Course in Springville Utah. While mingling with friends and waiting for awards, I realized that I had my mini marker in my pocket and so walked over to my black disc golf cart to put it away. While reaching for the mini disc pocket on the putter pouch, I realized that I had the wrong black cart. Parked near the pavilion there were half a dozen other Zuca Disc Golf Carts of various designs and colors, but none of them were mine. I panicked for a second, looking all around among the sea of Zuca carts until eventually I spotted my cart in the pavilion by the tables.
If you’ve been to a disc golf tournament recently, you’ve probably noticed the large number of disc golfers who use carts. Disc golf carts are the hottest thing for disc golf fanatics since disc golf backpacks hit the market several years ago. With so many disc golfers using disc golf carts, the question is, Do you NEED a cart too?
I’ve had my cart for nearly 10 months now and have played with it in about a dozen different tournaments, so I’ve had a few experiences that give me a solid opinion that can help you decide if a disc golf cart is right for you.
Advantages of Disc Golf Carts
There are several advantages of using a cart, especially for tournament play.
- You can hold more discs. The reality is that during most rounds of disc golf I don’t use more than about a dozen different discs, but there are instances where having the luxury of carrying more discs is really nice.
- Excellent for practice rounds. I like to play practice disc golf rounds early in the mornings when nobody else is on the course. On most of the holes, I throw multiple drives. With a cart that holds 35 of my discs, I am able to throw 15 drivers all on the same wide open hole. Improvement comes from repetitions, so having a cart that holds so many discs is a great way to get more reps and practice faster.
- It’s nice to have back-up discs and back-ups of back-ups for tournaments. I have some discs that I only occasionally use, but have a specific use for rare instances where that is the only disc that will work. When you’re away at a tournament, it’s usually pretty difficult to find a replacement disc on the fly. In addition, many discs take some “beating in” to get them to fly the way you want. With a Zuca cart, I have enough space to carry back-ups of all my discs as well as back-ups of the back-ups for the discs I throw most often. If you’re playing a course with high disc loss probability, carrying a few “I don’t care if I lose this disc” discs is also pretty nice for those super dangerous throws. I lost 5 discs during my round at Olpe Lake during the Glass Blown Open last year, so I really appreciated having plenty of discs to throw.
- Hold more stuff. In addition to an overkill supply of discs, my cart also holds a thin rain jacket, a sweatshirt, snacks, a clipboard, pencils, keys, my phone, extra towels, a dirt bag and two large water bottles. And, if there’s potential for rain, I slip a large umbrella down the back side of the Zuca cart. If I’m playing a course that has water hazards, I can also slip in a disc gator retriever. Having all of these accessories doesn’t make toting the cart around any more difficult.
- With all the extra stuff, you don’t kill your back. It’s really not that inconvenient to carry a light disc golf backpack. However, when you have a life supply of discs and all the optional accessories, a guy of my stature is bound to break his back and be unable to finish the round if they try. The simple machine advantage of rolling wheels make it possible to carry all the necessities and luxuries for your disc golf rounds.
- Always have a place to sit during slow tournament rounds. If you’ve played in a disc golf tournament before you know that tournament rounds are slow, and standing for hours at a time can be tiring on the legs. Sure you can bring a tournament seat with you, but a three legged stool is just not as convenient as the always set up Zuca cart seat. With a traditional bag and tournament seat I’d pull out the chair on backed up tee pads, but with the cart I take a short sitting rest between almost every throw.
Disadvantages of Disc Golf Carts
While Zuca Carts are pretty awesome, there are a few instances where a normal large bag is substantially more convenient.
- Not as easy to fit the cart in your car, especially if you have a small trunk. I drive a 2007 Toyota Corolla. With my disc golf bags, I still have lots of room for other stuff in the trunk. My cart not only takes up substantially more space, but it also requires extra open space to allow it to roll in and out at the perpendicular angle required to fit it through the trunk opening. When my cart is in the trunk, there is not room for any other large items. Using the cart has also been inconvenient for distant tournaments where I carpool with other disc golfers. To accommodate all players and their disc golf equipment, we sometimes have to sacrifice the carts. Getting the cart inside and outside of a vehicle is a little more time consuming than just throwing a bag in the trunk. Every time I load/unload the cart I need to adjust the handle, remove/install the putter and accessory pouches.
- Inconvenient for very rugged terrain. While rolling your cart on flat well manicured grass is at least as easy as carrying a backpack, the convenience level reverses when in rugged wooded hilly terrain. Hit a bump wrong, and your cart may tip, do a 180 degree pirouette and cause you to spill 30 discs. I’ve been on some cliff like hills that are so steep rolling isn’t possible. In these cases I have to pick up the cart and carry it. When the cart is full with all those extra discs and extra stuff, it’s not light. In instances of thick mud, shrubbery, or crossing streams, you also have to pick up your cart and grow your muscles. When you get too many cart carrying instances in the same round, you’ll usually wish you had just brought a backpack.
- Really inconvenient if you get a flat tire. Yes, this did happen to me and on one of those not so cart friendly courses. At the Glass Blown Open a guy in my buddy’s group also got a flat just before his round playing Olpe Lake (which is not a very cart friendly course). There are ways to prevent flats, such as using Styrofoam tubes or flat repair goo, but just realize that a flat tire is a potential downfall of a cart that you don’t have to think about when you use a bag.
The obvious answer of course is NO, you don’t need a disc golf cart, but if you are a serious passionate disc golfer, I highly recommend investing in one — especially if your home course is cart friendly and if you play lots of tournaments.