Why Golfers Should Not Be Using A Trolley This Winter

Golfers who are able to have a responsibility to carry their bag this winter for the greater golfing good.

Why golfers should not use a trolley this winter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amidst all the negatives, 2021 has been a positive year for golf with data coming in from various sources indicating more people around the world have been taking to the fairways, hitting shots and joining clubs. New research figures by The R&A and Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) show golf has enjoyed a significant increase in popularity worldwide since 2016 with over five-and-a-half million additional golfers taking up the sport.

Related: Golf's worldwide popularity soaring
Related: New report on golf participation in Europe

More people playing golf is fantastic news, but it does mean more traffic across our golf courses. Over a busy summer and then a wet autumn in 2021, the golf courses of the UK have taken something of a pounding. Many could do with a bit of TLC over the winter months so they’re in better shape for the start of next season. 

They’re not going to get a complete break of course. Many of us rightly want to keep playing and we should be able to. We’ve seen the mental and physical health benefits golf has delivered through the pandemic and it’s important people continue to get the exercise and the social interaction the sport provides as we go into another Covid winter.

What can we do then to help our embattled greenkeepers and overstrained golf courses? We could start by not being selfish and trudging out over muddied, frozen fairways behind overloaded trolleys that churn up soft ground, cause compaction on cold ground and generally leave all-too-obvious trails of destruction across our beloved golf courses. 

If you want to be a responsible golfer this winter, and you’re physically capable of it, you shouldn’t use a trolley. If you carry your clubs, your impact of playing in winter conditions will be significantly reduced and the golf course will benefit because of that. Even bone-dry links courses could do with a little rest this winter but our inland tracks in particular, need a breather. For those golfers not able to carry, they should still play using a trolley (when permissible according to a club’s policies on frost damage.) But those who can carry, should do so. 

There’s been a massive increase in trolley usage in recent years. Once the preserve of the older golfer, electric trolleys are now used by a huge % of players, from the junior ranks upwards.

Why golfers should not use a trolley this winter

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The major trolley manufacturers have reported record sales over the last couple of years as increasing numbers recognise the benefits of trolley usage.

In spring/summer weathers, they’re brilliant – taking the strain, allowing you to better focus on your game. They allow you to take a larger bag and more equipment. Many modern electric trolleys come with built in GPS systems and are impressively compact when folded down.

The electric trolley is a great piece of equipment for use in the right conditions. But when the conditions aren’t right, our opinion is – get yourself a lightweight stand bag or even a pencil bag and carry. There are some excellent options out there, many at a very reasonable price.

Related: Best golf pencil bags
Related: Best golf stand bags

You might choose to take a half set of clubs to lighten the load. In the winter, often on shortened courses, it’s all you really need. And taking fewer clubs will help you improve your shot-making as you have to be more creative and learn to manipulate the ball. The requirement for versatility will serve you well when the playing season begins again properly next spring.

Another benefit of carrying is that you’ll burn more calories – rather useful at a time of year when we all tend to hunker down and over-indulge a little.

Related: How many calories does a round of golf burn?
Related: 17 top winter golf hacks

Carrying is quicker. There’s less faffing and you can walk more directly. On a chilly January morning, you want to keep moving and keep warm as you make your way round. Carrying will help you do that.

If you’re able to do so then, for the sake of your golf course and the greater golfing good, it’s your duty to carry your clubs this winter. Put the trolley and tour bag away until spring and turn to a lightweight bag, perhaps a reduced set, to facilitate zipping round the winter course, getting some good exercise and leaving minimal imprint on the fairways.

Fergus Bisset
Fergus Bisset

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?