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Sun Mountain Three 5

The predecessor to the Sun Mountain Three 5, the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5 received high ratings when introduced, and the new Three 5 is slightly redesigned for 2014.

The bag features the a 9.5″, 4-way top and 6 pockets, including a full-length clothing pocket, beverage pouch and a velour-lined valuables pocket. The Three 5 features the Auto-Fit Dual Strap System, of which we are fans. There is an integrated top handle and matching rainhood, found with all of the Sun Mountain stand/carry bags. The Three 5 also features a leg-lock system and cart-friendly bottom for those who prefer to ride.

Sun Mountain Three 5

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The Sun Mountain Three 5 comes in a 9 color varieties: white-grey-yellow, lime-white, red-black-white, black-shadow-orange, khaki-camp (desert golf, anyone?), black, navy, black-grey-yellow, and grey-black-red.

Retail price: $199.99
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Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G

We loved the original Sun Mountain Zero-G when it was released in 2010, and continue to be big fans of the 2015 version, now dubbed the Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G. Based on Sun Mountain’s popular Three 5 series, the bag itself is functional, lightweight, and provides a reasonable amount of storage. The differentiator is still the innovative hip belt, which redistributes the weight of the bag from your shoulders to your hips. This also helps protect your lower back, as the weight of the bag won’t suddenly lurch to one side when you turn or lean.
The caveats are that it’s not cheap (with an MSRP of $219.99), and sometimes the legs don’t pop out as far as we’d like, requiring a nudge from a foot to get them to fully extend. But the increased comfort from the hip belt make this almost a “must have” for anyone who regularly walks the course. The Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G is still one of our favorites.

SCORE
93
GRADE
A-
Club Storage
90
Pockets/Storage
84
Carrying Impressions
96
Rain Hood
93
Cost/Value
96

Retail price: $219.99
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The Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G has a 9″ 4-way top, with each of the 4 club storage areas partitioned off by full-length dividers. Another couple of storage partitions would have been helpful, as clubs had a tendency to group together and create a logjam down by the grips. The top is flared outward to make it slightly easier to pull clubs out of the bag.
There are seven total pockets – seven zippered pockets and one open beverage sleeve. It’s a lot of different places to squirrel away your goods, and the tradeoff is the additional weight you’ll lug around.

  • One large garment pocket sits on the right side of the bag and easily holds a vest, a jacket and a pair of rain pants (assuming you roll things up, of course). The zipper runs the full length of the pocket, and there is a small piece of accordion pleated fabric at the bottom to keep smaller items from escaping.
  • A smaller valuables pocket sits on the outside of the garment pocket. The valuables pocket is lined with velour to provide a bit of protection should you put in a watch or a phone – of course if you throw your keys in there too, you’ve kind of defeated the purpose.
  • On the lower left hand side of the bag is a medium sized pocket that, like the garment pocket, has a piece of accordion pleated fabric at the bottom to keep the contents from falling out.
  • Stacked on top of the medium sized pocket is the beverage sleeve. The beverage sleeve does not have any discernible insulation.
  • On the spine of the bag are two pockets stacked on top of each other. The lower of the two has plenty of room for sunscreen, insect repellent, extra spikes, et al. The upper pocket was ideal for storing a couple of handfuls of tees.
  • Also on the spine of the bag is a small webbed pocket designed to hold two golf balls.
  • Not included in the pocket count are a pen/pencil holder on the exterior of the garment pocket near the top of the bag , a scorecard and pencil/pen holder on the exterior of the garment pocket closer to the base of the bag.
Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G 2015

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The right side of the Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G also features an adjustable umbrella strap and a nylon loop for attaching a towel, laser rangefinder and/or GPS device.
The belt makes the Zero-G one of the best carry bags for those who regularly walk the course:

  • Weight. While the name of the bag is clever marketing, that’s all it is – the Sun Mountain Three Five Zero G does not weigh 3.5 pounds. Our testing revealed that it is 4.66 pounds without the belt (but including the rain hood), and 5.37 pounds with the belt attached (and including the rain hood). The average weight among the carry bags we have tested is about 4.9 pounds, so it’s a tad above average with the belt.
  • Hip padding. The bag itself isn’t overly generous with padding at the hips and lower back, but the belt is heavily padded and almost an inch thick, so as long as you have the belt in place (and why wouldn’t you, if you decided to invest in this particular bag) it’s pretty cushy.
  • Straps and Belt. Sun Mountain’s Auto-Fit Strap System is a central back pad with four points at which the straps are attached, and the length of each of the four straps is adjustable. Our sense is that the “auto fit” aspect of the system is that the left shoulder strap can slide along an arc at its attachment point. As a result, gravity will move the bag into the right place without you needing to adjust the length of the strap. The belt is improved over the 2010 version – instead of fastening the belt via Velcro (which started to wear out in our 2010 test model,) there is a simple plastic buckle that clicks the ends together. The belt is adjustable from 30 inches to 50 inches.
  • Legs. The legs hold tightly against the bag when you are carrying the bag. As noted above, on some slopes they don’t pop out as far as we’d like, requiring a nudge from your foot to induce the proper angle. The triangular rubber feet provide a stable platform and prevent the legs from sinking into soft wet terrain. There are two elastic loops to secure the legs to the bag when you’re driving a cart.
  • Handles. The Sun Mountain Three Five Zero-G has the three standard handles that are found on virtually every carry bag: a plastic handle that is integrated into the top rim, a nylon handle on the spine, and a handle built into the bottom pocket near the bottom of the bag.

The rain hood of the Zero-G (Sun Mountain calls it a “Dry Hood” is well designed for quick deployment. Four buttons go into strategically placed snaps, with a tab that slips through the handle at the top of the bag and then Velcros into place. It took less than a minute and a half to get the rain hood secured despite not having bothered to read the instructions (and putting the wrong side on first). The hood is coated with Teflon, which is supposed to repel water and stains.
Other than the belt, which draws some odd glances now and then, the Zero-G doesn’t really attract too much attention for its looks. It comes in four different color combinations: White/Grey/Orange; Cobalt (blue)/Black; Black/Red/Gunmetal (gray); and Gunmetal(gray)/Black/Citron (yellow).
At a retail price of nearly $220, the Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G is one of the most expensive bags that we’ve tested. While the storage options are relatively simple, the carrying belt elevates the Zero-G to the next level. The belt may not be for everyone, but it is a differentiator that for regular walkers is well worth the premium.
Retail price: $219.99
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Caddytek CaddyCruiser ONE V3

Caddytek (or is it CaddyTek? Not even their website knows…) iterates on their lone 4-wheeled push cart with the Caddytek CaddyCruiser ONE V3, alternatively known as the “CaddyTek One-Click Folding 4 Wheel Golf Push Cart – V3.” This 3rd generation Caddytek retains roughly the same size (17.5″ x 14″ x 25.8″) and weight (approximately 17 pounds) as the prior generation, and has the same elements that led to a high rating when we reviewed the initial release – a push cart that folds to compact size (with just a single button click to release), front wheel suspension, and a reasonable price, just a Hamilton less than the competition. But if you are looking for the cart in orange, you’re out of luck – the company has retained only red, silver, green and black options in the current version.

Caddytek CaddyCruiser ONE V3

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The cart’s features remain largely the same in this latest generation, with good-sized front (10.5″ x 2.4) and rear (2.6″ x 11.5″) wheels, a 27″ wide body when unfolded, umbrella holder and storage, and scorecard holder, storage compartment for balls, tees and GPS devices, beverage holder, basket with cooler, and a mesh net (previously optional, now included).

The brake is style where you use your foot to press-to-brake and press-to-release. We prefer hand brakes, but so it goes. The front handle offers multiple position options, and the front wheels can be aligned. And as mentioned earlier, has suspension – the only push cart on the market with this feature.

Caddytek CaddyCruiser ONE V3

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Note that Golfsmith no longer carries Caddytek push carts, but Amazon still does.

Retail price: $189
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Caddytek CaddyLite EZ

Caddytek goes straight-up against the Clicgear 3.5+, one of the top-rated push carts in our tests, with their latest top-of-the-line 3-wheeled push cart, the CaddyLite EZ. We mention this comparison straight-up as this is how they market the CaddyLite on their site as well. So let’s get some key differences out of the way…

Caddytek CaddyLight EZ

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The Caddytek CaddyLite EZ is less expensive ($40 less retail), a bit heavier (by half a pound), and larger when folderd (by nearly 5″ in height!). The Caddytek sports a foot brake, though we prefer the hand brakes as found on the Clicgear 3.5+, and has slightly smaller wheels than the Clicgear (we prefer the larger).

The CaddyLite EZ has all the basics you’ll need – an adjustable handle and storage tray, beverage holder, umbrella holder, front wheel alignment, and a basket with a built-in cooler.

Caddytek CaddyLite EZ

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Note that Golfsmith no longer carries Caddytek push carts, but Amazon still does.

Retail price: $179
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Swingbyte 2

The upgraded Swingbyte 2 continues to provide a 3D visual of your swing along with key data immediately after your swing, pairing with iOS and Android devices and the use of a free Swingbyte app and allowing you to see real-time feedback. All the better to hone your game at the range…or that kickass home golf studio you’ve been dreaming about building in your kid’s room after they headed off for college.

The new Swingbyte still connects via Bluetooth, and records your swing (and also has in-app video capabilities now!), allows you to view your swing data, track swing history, and tailor your online “golf bag” to track training by club. This allows for your review of data galore: backswing and downswing path, clubhead speed, face angles at address and both face and club path, lie angle, and club loft. You can easily track your sessions by day, sorting by club used to see your history over time. Improving? We hope so!

Swingbyte 2

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One last note…thank goodness Swingbyte has come out with an improved twist-resistant design, as the original Swingbyte was an absolute disaster, rotating off the club shaft all too frequently to make the product worth using. Here’s to this one not rotating as much!!

Retail price: $169
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For a good overview of how it all works:


Zepp Golf Kit

Zepp moves from their sport-specific GofSense device to an updated Zepp sensor that can be used for golf (purchasable as a Zepp Golf Kit, see links below), and if you really want to do something else other than hit the course, can also be used for tennis or baseball, merely by purchasing additional sport specific mounts (at relatively low cost, about $10), and downloading the sport’s free app from the Apple App Store or Android Google Play Store.

Zepp Sensor – Golf Kit

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The wearable multi-sport motion sensor features dual accelerometers and a 3-axis gyroscope, and connector wirelessly via Bluetooth 2.1 to your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android device. You’ll be able to get instant feedback with a 360 degree analysis, as well as video showing club plane, hand path, the ability to compare to a pro, and also check out your swing data. The data will give you a “swingscore” to see how you are moving toward your goals, track the club head and hand speed, and review the shape of your swing in space – both for backswing and downswing, including club and hand path. And tick-tock…it will measure your tempo, as well as your backswing position and, with your smartphone in your back pocket, hip rotation (cool….).

Zepp Sensor – Golf Kit

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As with other motion capture devices referenced on Critical Golf, remember to keep your expectations in check. You may get lots of data, but with data all derived from the position of the motion sensor, don’t expect Trackman. Then again, a Trackman will set you back $10K, and you can get into the Zepp Golf Kit for just $150.

In addition to the only swing analysis device to measure your hand path, and the ease of attaching to a glove (with no additional weight on the club or sensors to attach), how can one not like the size of the Zepp sensor, which is only 0.3 oz (with glove mount), pared way down from the GofSense device, and now a mere 1.1″ x 1.1″ x 0.4″, with the mount extending the device to 1.5″ x 1.2″ x 0.8″.

Zepp Sensor – Golf Kit

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The device can capture up to 2,000 swings with the built-in flash storage over 3.5 hours (go for it, Vijay!), with a full charge to the Lithium Ion battery taking 2.5 hours. Like the Model-T, the sensor is available in neon green and neon green. It also carries a 1-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee. So fire away…

Retail price: $149.99
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And, to check it out in action: