Craig Ramsbottom: President, Bag Boy Company

The Bag Boy Company has the perfect push cart for the golfer who wants to enjoy walking the course: the BagBoy TriSwivel. Company President Craig Ramsbottom sent me a factory-fresh model to test drive in early April. Two weeks later, during Masters week, we had the following golf conversation:

 

Craig Ramsbottom

GolfConversations: Hey, Craig. I was just watching some of the Masters coverage on ESPN.com and they were talking about how they want to get rid of the caddies at the Masters and have the players use BagBoy push carts.

(laughter)

Did you hear this?

Craig Ramsbottom: I love that idea!

GC: If they did that, I’ll bet you guys would supply the Bag Boys for free.

CR: I think we would.

GC: Ok, Augusta National, just kidding. I made this up, I sprang it on Craig, so leave him alone! Now … I’ve been using your TriSwivel push cart and I really like it.

CR: Glad to hear it. It’s designed to make the walk easier, make the pushing easier. It’s supposed to roll better than the competition.

GC: I used to have a Bag Boy pull cart. A couple of my friends started using the push carts and I asked them what was the difference between pull and push. They said it was a lot easier on your back and shoulders. And until I used their push carts, I didn’t realize that they were right. So that gave me the incentive to put the arm on you to get a test model.

(laughter)

I like it, Craig. It’s lightweight, it pushes easily. And I really like two things: 1.) The hand brake is in a very accessible place. 2.) That little switch that locks the front swivel wheel when you go uphill and downhill.  It’s a well-designed cart; I tip my golf visor to you.

CR: Thank you. I’ll pass that on to the product development team. Yes, the industry has changed from a pull cart industry to a push cart industry. That’s well over 10 years ago. We continue to see new golfers come into the push cart category … and new courses allow push carts.

There are quite a number of carts on the market; we do have a lot of competition. When we looked at the market, we challenged ourselves to come up with a better product. Something that would be easier to maneuver and push around the golf course. That was the thought process behind the TriSwivel.

GC: What prompted the move from the pull cart to the push cart?

CR: Quite honestly, it had something to do with the baby stroller industry.

GC: Babies and golfers: they’re usually crying and complaining about something.

(laughter)

CR: As your friends told you, it’s so much easier … it’s ergonomically friendly to push a cart. Especially with three or four wheels because it’s gonna roll for you. When you’re pulling a two-wheeler, you’re pulling all the weight. You’re not getting any benefit from the rolling motion. So it’s a lot easier to walk the course with the cart in front of you.

GC: Plus when you’re going downhill, you can let go of the cart and watch it go careening out of control. That’s a lot of fun.

(laughter)

CR: That’s always fun, exactly!

GC: Now let me ask you a political question. Have you ever received any pressure to call your company – instead of BagBoyBagPerson?

(laughter)

CR: No, we haven’t. Certainly with the name BagBoy, our brand hasn’t translated as well into the woman’s golf market as maybe we’d like. So that’s something we’ll work on. But the brand does translate into other categories: our bag business is good and our travel cover business is very, very good.

GC: How about push carts in colors like pink and magenta? They’re doing that now with golf clubs, painting them in all sorts of wild colors.  How about hot pink with rhinestones for the ladies? And that’s a FREE idea, Craig!

CR: I’d love to give you credit for it but we are coming out with a pink cart later this spring.

GC: Oh, sure. As soon as I mention it, you tell me it’s in the works already. My attorneys will be in touch with you, sir!

(laughter)

When did the design process begin for the TriSwivel?

CR: That probably started about three years ago. I would say it was an 18-month development process. Making the swivel lock-out work efficiently and easily as it does, that took a little bit of time. The balance position of that front wheel also took some time. And a big part of the walking cart market right now is how compact can you make a cart? Here we have a very full-sized, full-featured push cart … and at the same time, we realized we had to make it as compact and small as possible.

GC: When did the product hit the market?

CR: It was about 18 months ago.

GC: Craig, do you play golf?

CR: I do.

GC: You know the old saying about how the cobbler’s children have no shoes?

CR: Yes.

GC: Thus: do you walk and push a cart when you play golf?

CR: I do. I walk as often as possible. When I joined BagBoy 12 years ago, I might have pulled my clubs around the golf course maybe once in my life. I wasn’t a cart user at that point. But once I started using a walking cart, I can say I don’t know why anyone who gets a chance to use a walking cart would ever carry their clubs again. It simply doesn’t make sense. Maybe on the last 3 or 4 holes, when I’m carrying my clubs, there can be some fatigue involved. I’m not gonna swing as well, I’m not gonna play as well if I’m tired.

But pushing your clubs around, it’s so much easier. I would certainly encourage anyone who’s a walker to try a push cart.

GC: I think Izzo came out with that dual bag strap 20 years ago and some people started carrying their bags. I think it was a macho thing. This is what the college kids did. I never understood it. I carried my bag for a while but I thought, “This isn’t any fun. This is work schlepping this bag up and down the golf course.” And when you’re carrying two dozen golf balls in your bag — this was early in my career — that bag is heavy!

(laughter)

Is there a particular demographic who’s buying the TriSwivel?

CR: In general, the walking cart market follows that core golfer – the 40-, 50-, 60-year old player. A lot of the Europeans are comfortable with the push cart, pull cart. For some reason, the American high school and college golfers just don’t think push carts are cool yet. So we’re working on that. We’re working  on the AJGAs of the world and junior golf associations, trying to get kids to pushing earlier.

GC: Ok, here’s marketing idea for you to reach the younger generation: I know you sell an attachment for the TriSwivel where you can place your smartphone, correct?

CR: Yes.

GC: Ok, maybe you work out a cross promotion with each individual smartphone manufacturer. You have an official iPhone attachment, an official Samsung attachment, an official Droid attachment.

(silence)

Yet another reason why I’m a failure in Corporate America!

(laughter)

Ok, Craig, I want to put the TriSwivel through its paces for a few weeks. Then I’m going to do a little video report and I’ll be accompanied by my semi-loyal dog, Wolfie. Thanks for sending me the TriSwivel.

CR: You’re welcome.

****************************************

The following video review of the BagBoy TriSwivel

was recorded on May 31, 2013:


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