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Remote Control Caddies Just Got Smarter

Imagine having your own caddy, carrying your clubs and letting you enjoy walking the course. Freed from lugging a heavy bag or push and pull a cart, you'd stroll from tee to green, enjoying the view or chatting with your partner, and getting exercise along the way.

The reality is, only golf pros and the very wealthy can afford someone to carry their clubs, but there is an alternative: the remote control caddy.

Taking the effort out of walking the course

Battery-powered remote control caddies came out a few years ago, and revolutionized the game for golfers who like to walk. No more pushing or pulling up and down hills, and no more walking back around the green to fetch the cart while the next foursome waits. Instead, you'd just use the remote control to bring the caddy to you or send it on ahead, saving time and boosting your popularity with fellow golfers.

"Follow me"

Now these caddies have become even more useful, with the addition of "follow me" capability. "Follow" means just that: the caddy rolls along behind as you walk. No need to steer, or even think about where you want it go, it's just a few paces behind. It stops when you stop, and it matches your pace. And not just in a straight line down the fairway, but up and down hills, over bridges and along winding paths.

How does it work? Essentially, there's a Bluetooth connection between the remote and the caddy. The caddy knows how far away the remote is, and in which direction, and it changes speed and angle to suit. As one reviewer said of the high-end Stewart X9 Follow, it's as if it's joined to you by an invisible elastic band. To have it follow you, just press the link button. To have it stop following, just disconnect.

Limitations

Don't expect these caddies to deal with serious rough – long grass is fine, but shrubs, fences and trees might cause problems. Don't take it into the sand either – it's on wheels, not tracks. And if you want to be let out on the course a second time don't ask it to follow you across the greens!

As with other remote control carts, there's a battery that needs recharging periodically. The manufacturers are confident that it will get you through at least 18 holes on the longest, hilliest course you'd want to play, but it might be prudent to invest in a spare.

Advantages

A follow caddy might sound like an unnecessary toy, but golfers who've tried it really like it. They say it takes very little time to get used to, and it frees their hands and mind to concentrate on their game.

It's less judgmental than a human caddy too. There's no narrow-eyed appraisal of your swing, no raised eyebrow when you play a hybrid off the tee, and no eye-roll when your 50 yard chip drops straight into the sand.

Models available

Motogolf currently offers two "Follow me" caddies, the FTR Caddytrek CT2000R2 and the British-made Stewart X9 Lithium Follow. Both provide similar "Follow me" capability, and fold down to fit in a trunk, although at 31.3 pounds the Stewart weighs 2 pounds less, has a slightly lighter lithium battery, and comes with a two year warranty versus the 12 months of the Caddytrek. On the other hand, the Caddytrek has more powerful motors, (440 Watts versus 280,) which might be beneficial on a hilly course.

The biggest difference between the two is how they look. The Caddytrek is clearly a motorized golf caddy while the Stewart looks like a Roomba on steroids, or when loaded with a golf bag, a little like R2D2. On the other hand, it costs more too. There's no guarantee they'll lower your score but whichever you pick, they'll add pleasure to your game.