Pat Gallagher, BagBoy Product Manager

pat-gallager-bagboy

In the following Golf Conversation,
Pat Gallagher discusses the BagBoy’s four-wheel push cart: the Quad XL. Also included: a video demo with a slightly well-known test driver.

Golf Conversations: I’ve been using the Quad XL that you sent me; thank you.

Pat Gallagher: What color did you get?

GC: Battleship gray and lime.

PG: Good choice.

GC: It made quite a color statement.

PG: It’s bold.

GC: It is bold. It matches my golf game: bold and reckless.

(laughter)

PG: You just want to stand out. I understand.

GC: Pat, I stand out every time I hit the ball.

(laughter)

I had been using the TriSwivel you guys sent me a few years ago.

PG: How do you like switching to a four wheel?

GC: It took a bit of getting used to because I was used to swiveling. Not to be confused with sniveling, which is a big part of my golf game.

(laughter)

But now that I’ve used the Quad XL for a few months, I’ve stopped trying to swivel and now I’m on the straight and narrow. It’s a beautiful push cart. Give me a little background on how it was developed.

PG:  We had a series of Quad carts in the past; the Quad Plus was the predecessor to what became the Quad XL. This past year, 2016, was BagBoy’s 70th anniversary so the timing worked out to launch this new body style. It’s a sleeker look, a fresh take on a four-wheel cart. Our goal was to make four-wheeling cool and appeal to those who are looking for an alternative to the traditional three-wheel push chart.

GC: What do you see as the benefits of four wheel versus three wheel?

PG: One of the main benefits of the four-wheel construction is that it offers an incredibly easy push and mobility and most of all, superior balance. You can be on a steep hill and your cart will be stable.

There are tons of benefits in terms of stability and balance using a four-wheel cart versus three wheel. For instance, for our Quad XL, we don’t even include a lower-bag bracket rung. Because of the balance of those two front wheels, you’re able to rest the bag on the lower bracket and just strap the bag at the top. You can’t enjoy that kind of stability on a three-wheel cart.

GC: Explain the reason for having the two rear wheels slightly larger than the front wheels.

PG: When you grab your golf clubs, you want the angle of your bag to be such that the rear wheels kick up higher than the front wheels. The angle of the cart is more ergonomic to the consumer. When you’re turning and pushing the cart, you’re getting the most mobility and you need that bigger wheel. If you compare an 11.5-inch rear wheel that we have with, let’s say, a 9.5-inch rear wheel, you will feel the difference when pushing the same cart. There’s no question about it: the bigger the wheel, the easier to push.

GC: The name itself – Quad XL – I have a bit of an issue with it. You know what a “quad” is in golf scoring: quadruple bogey. I’ve got enough problems with my game without being reminded of “quads.”

(laughter)

I’m just kidding you. Does the “XL” stand for anything in particular?

PG: It’s an upgraded term for us. We went from the “Plus” to an upgraded “XL.”

GC: You don’t sell the “Quad Plus” anymore, correct?

PG: We discontinued that model. One of the biggest differences, if you look at them side by side … the Quad Plus was a dual-tube cart so you had a narrow, upright aluminum frame. The Quad XL is more of a streamlined, one aluminum upright frame. The dual tube – it’s not gone away – there are still carts out there that have that look. But the Quad XL has a more modern, sleeker look with its one upright frame.

GC: Pat, there are still people out there using VCRs, ok?  Not everybody is ahead of the curve.

(laughter)

PG: Not everyone’s ready to move on. I understand that.

GC: My father in Florida … his VCR has been flashing 12:00 AM for the last ten years.

(laughter)

How long did it take to go from the Quad Plus to the Quad XL?

PG: About a year of development. It was kind of an overhaul to our entire product line. In addition to the Quad XL, we introduced the Compact 3 which has that same type of single frame. And the Tri-Swivel 2 as well. It was more of a natural progression in terms of, “let’s take our product line to the next level and modernize it and give it that beefier framework … and we’ll streamline our entire line of products.”  It looks like a family of carts when you look at them all.

GC: When did the Quad XL hit the market?

PG: This past year, the Spring of 2016.

GC: The carts are made in China?

PG: Yes.

GC: Have you been there?

PG: Yes.

GC: What’s it like over there?

PG: It’s fun; you’re working on development when you’re there. You get to see the makings of the samples with your supplier.

GC: I would venture to say that you are not fluent in Chinese.

PG: No.

GC: How do you communicate with the people there?

PG: The people we work with have plenty of people who speak English and they communicate very well. It’s just never a problem. And we have a Dynamic Brands employee in China who’s there with us so if there are any translation issues, he’s there to help us.

GC: Which city in China?

PG: It’s in Dongguan, about two hours from Hong Kong.

GC: How often do you go there?

PG: About twice a year, maybe three times.

GC: Do they put you in Business Class? Don’t answer that!

(laughter)

PG: It’s a 16-hour flight. When you see the prices of these flights, Economy versus Business … you suck it up. It can be an extra $5000.

GC: Obviously, you sell your carts in the US; what about other countries?

PG: We have a team of international distributors. Maybe three quarters of our sales are in the US, the rest internationally. But it’s still a vital part of our business and it allows us to have buying power to work with the suppliers.

It’s an entirely different market internationally. Interestingly enough, as the four-wheel cart picks up steam here in the US, in Europe they still like the traditional three-wheel cart.

GC: How long have four-wheel carts been around?

PG: It’s been at least five, six years with us in the market. We adapt and we learn; we know what works in certain markets. When we develop carts for the international market, we develop three wheels instead of the four. In the US, we see the trend working in the opposite direction.

GC: Do you think that there’s an age bias against using a push cart?  Maybe it doesn’t seem cool to young people to be pushing a cart … “that’s for old people.” Perhaps they would rather carry their bag than use a push cart?

PG: The look of our carts is more techie, more modern, and it’s becoming cool in certain pockets. We’re in a fitness age as well – the idea of walking a golf course instead of riding … it’s more of an athletic activity. There’s certainly a push in terms of how we want to portray the push cart industry and how we want to tackle that younger generation.

GC: Maybe you need to bling the carts up a bit more. Put some rhinestones on there and a video game console.

(laughter)

PG: We put a lot of detail and creativity into the deluxe scorecard holder. It features an integrated mobile device holder. It’s located closest to the handlebar and it’s ready to display a smartphone. It’s safe and secure; there’s a nylon strap that holds it in place with your phone facing out.

GC: I’ve got that on my XL. It’s a little green bungee cord.

PG: Exactly. That mobile device holder – no one else has it as a standard feature. If you don’t want to display your phone, the deluxe scorecard holder has a compartment, so you can place your smartphone, your wallet, your keys, golf balls, etc. in there.

There’s also an easy access storage bag right underneath the scorecard holder. And that scorecard holder also has an integrated beverage holder.

GC: I’ve seen some of the college golf teams using push carts, especially the women.

PG: Yes, we’re trying to push deeper into that market with some customized colors. It’s always interesting when you mess with colors and what China is able to do in terms of minimum orders. But the idea of tailoring a cart product line towards college colors is something we’re certainly interested in doing more of.

GC: Yeah, if you could put the school’s colors and logo on the cart, that would be pretty cool. By the way, has the pull cart gone the way of the gutta percha?

PG: A little bit. They’re still out there because of the price point. For those who are still interested in the traditional golf pull cart – the two-wheel version – they’re out there. We offer one. It’s a no-frills cart.

GC: But the majority of carts sold today from all the manufacturers are push carts?

PG: Yes. There are manufacturers that don’t even include an option for a pull cart. BagBoy has been one of the industry leaders since 1946 so to completely get rid of something that’s so traditional wouldn’t make sense.

GC: Some of the golf resorts I’ve visited — such as Bandon Dunes — you have to walk. You can either carry your bag or rent one of their carts. Are you guys getting into any golf resort markets?

PG: We have a line of rental carts as well. They’re unique in that … country clubs and resorts … all they’re looking for is a durable cart that has some kind of anti-theft capability. And it’s also important for the carts to be stackable in terms of how much space they take up. They want to nest one cart in another. Our line offers all of that.

GC: You sell directly to golf resorts and country clubs?

PG: No retailers. No big box stores. The rental carts aren’t sold to consumers.

GC: I’ve got a question for you: if the Quad XL gets wet, are there parts that can rust?

PG: No. It’s not a weather-proof cart but it’s made of rust-proof aluminum. It’s coated so it’s able to withstand being out in a rainstorm. You don’t need to go home and dry it off.

GC: Any need to oil the wheels?

PG: No. I don’t want to say it’s maintenance free but there aren’t a lot of issues that you would have to constantly upkeep to make sure your $199 purchase is long lasting.

GC: Have the sales of push carts been on the increase over the last few years?

PG: The golf industry as a whole has been down. With the introduction of the Quad XL we’ve seen a steady increase this year. I think it’s a testament to the new product that we’re putting out there. One of the things that we’ve launched this year is TOP LOK technology, BagBoy’s bag-to-cart attachment system. It’s designed to securely lock a BagBoy bag – a cart bag or a stand bag – into a BagBoy push cart. It’s a patented design and it prevents the bag from twisting and turning. It eliminates the need for a cart strap. The bag and the cart fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

One additional Quad XL feature I’d like to mention is that it’s incredibly easy to open and close this cart. The Quad XL is a simple two-step fold. After a long day on the golf course, the last thing you want to do is go through a rigorous six-step marathon to close and fold up a push cart

GC: I did notice that. And it’s simple to pick up and put it in the trunk. It’s surprisingly light for something that’s so rugged

PG: Yes. And this year we’re introducing a dedicated carry bag and a hand warmer for the colder weather.

GC: Thanks, Pat, for your time and again, for letting me test drive the QuadXL.

Robert Blumenthal Demonstrates the BagBoy Quad XL:

Robert Blumenthal Demonstrates the BagBoy TriSwivel:

This entry was posted in 5. Equipment. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *