We talk to trolley-maker's boss Derek Richford

Golfmagic Equipment
Thu, 21 Jun 2012

What will be the next big thing in trolley design?

The main change in trolley design is towards a sleeker and aesthetically pleasing finish. I see more hiding or camouflaging of components and a de-clutter of ‘electronic extras’.

When the technology allows, an electric trolley that folds like a pull cart will be on the cards. It’s interesting that since we launched as the first 100% Made in Britain trolley brand, others are now selling the “Britishness” of their trolleys. So Made in Britain must mean something to customers.

How has the recent spell of bad weather affected sales?

The whole industry was affected by the wet weather in April and early May, by mid-May some courses were still on winter rules! Club members remain committed but I would say the casual golfer, even a keen one, wants good weather in the main.

Should trolleys in future come with spiked wheels?

I am in favour of winter wheels on trolleys if it extends the season for trolleys. Most manufacturers now have a winter wheel offering.

Remote control trolleys - you either love them or hate them. What’s your view?

I can understand why their popularity might grow, but for me personally it’s not an essential function.

The development of powered trolleys has been a whirlwind journey should we be developing smaller lightweight versions aimed at both women and juniors?

Probably, although they seem to cope okay with the ‘big versions’ now. I think that development will come when electric trolleys can be folded right down like a push trolley. Now very light lithium batteries like CaddyCell are available, a lot of weight has been taken off the entire trolley and battery combined weight. CaddyCell is less than a third of the weight of a lead acid battery - incredible.

There used to be a stigma attached to the powered trolley - only for women and the less-able. Why has the electric trolley become so accepted?

For years a lot of us looked at the electric trolley and thought, “I’ll need one of those one day.” But they looked awful. And then the designs changed, primarily with the PowaKaddy Freeway, and suddenly the product became desirable and aspirational. No longer was it just for the elderly or infirm, the electric trolley is now a cool and essential part of every golfer’s kit.

Most trolleys are powered by a 200w motor - any opportunity for increasing the power?

In truth a 200w motor is powerful enough for 99% of golf trolleys on 99% of courses, even with a golf bag weighing in at 18kg. Once a golfer gets a trolley it seems that everything bar the kitchen sink gets taken along for the ride and in a lot of cases the golfer would never dream of carrying what they put on a trolley.

Improvements in performance can be gained by having a lighter load; the easiest way to achieve this is with a lithium battery.

Batteries are become more lightweight powered by lithium batteries - are even more efficient batteries being developed?

Lithium batteries are still in their infancy in the UK. In Germany for example they have been part of the standard electric trolley kit for some years. I see lithium batteries being the norm in the UK electric trolley market within five years as golfers realise what a huge step forward they really are. I would get a CaddyCell on your Christmas list straight away!

One fashion seems to be for trolleys to be designed to fit universal batteries. Is this the future?
I think that the consumer wants to be able to buy a replacement battery from whomever they want to at the best price possible, the same philosophy that we adopt for spare parts.

Manufacturers who make batteries that only fit their own carts do so at their peril. People aren’t silly and will not pay through the nose for product. The CaddyCell Lithium is a great example, it will fit pretty much any electric golf trolley ever made and if you are replacing a lead acid the performance change is very noticeable.

Visit www.golfstream.co.uk for more information.

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