Greetings Spies. My name is Bill and I reside in southwest Montana. I'm ecstatic and honored to have been selected among the thousands of who applied to test the Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie. A HUGE THANK YOU to the folks at Stewart Golf and MyGolfSpy for providing this great testing opportunity!! I find these forum-based product reviews to be very informative and meaningful. Marketing claims are "put to the test" by fellow amateur players with no strings attached. I have used these reviews as part of my recent equipment changes and will do my best to provide you all with a meaningful review of the Stewart Q Follow Caddie.
So as many of you may know, through our discussions on the forum, my preferred mode of travel on the course is walking.
18th hole at Wine Valley during this years PNW Spy Meet-up.
Unless the course does not allow walking, I rarely opt for an electric/gas cart. To be brutally honest, I just don't like bouncing around, getting in/out and traversing the fairway. Further, many courses limit where power carts can go (i.e. 90 degree rule, off fairways altogether, and green approach areas). I prefer the cadence that walking affords - allowing me to think about the upcoming shot (or blowing off steam from the previous shot ). If I want to stay in the shade of a tree line as the group makes its way down the fairway, or just mosey along enjoying the sights, I have that option. Plus, it's great exercise and helps keep me stay loose - especially on colder days. I recently upgraded from a Sun Mountain Speed Cart to a Caddy-Tek EZ-V8 (which I did an unofficial review on here).
I've seen some of the various electric walking carts on courses and always was interested in them. At 62 years of age, I'm still in pretty good shape but will admit that some course terrain is beginning to tax the legs and lungs a wee bit. Having a multi-mode, powered push cart seems like a great option. So when I saw the opportunity to test the Stewart Q Follow Caddie, I was really excited. From what I've read, this looks to be an industry leader in lightweight, compact design, and follow/tracker technology.
A few questions that immediately come to my mind and are of interest include;
- battery life and how much it drops off (or not) during a round or even 27 holes
- recharging time
- stability on side hills
- ability to power through heavy rough and uneven terrain
- do I have to switch out of follow mode when walking onto the greens and tees?
- how easy is it to drive/steer using the remote?
- and, ultimately for me, will having the powered functionality offer a seamless transition from my many years using a simple push-cart?
If you have any specific questions or things you would like myself and other testers to investigate, please reach out to us and we'll do our best to cover them in our reviews.
Final Review - Stewart Q Follow Golf Trolley
First Impressions (4 of 5 stars)
Once again, I want to open this review with a HUGE Thank You to both Stewart Golf and MGS for providing us the opportunity to test/review the Stewart Q Follow Caddie. I don't mind repeating myself in saying that these forum product reviews are of more value to me than most all other reviews I read. In fact, now when I consider buying new golf products, I always check to see if a forum, Hit Squad, or both have been done when whittling down information leading to a buy or move on decision.
My initial impression of this product was very well engineered and excellent build craftsmanship. The shipping box was heavy duty and packing protection top notch. The packing arrangement makes for easy removal and, perhaps as important, easy to repack (I had the opportunity to test this out with our move to AZ). Help instructions are in the right places - isn't that so often overlooked these days. My shipment had definitely seen some rough handling, and gave the protective packaging a serious test.
Upon getting the cart out and unfolded, I was quite impressed by its look - which I would describe as quite modern, stylish, and sleek. The "black carbon" version we received has some nice accents (wheel fenders) that give it just the right amount of "pop".
Little details like pressed-fit, sealed wheel bearings, and cooling fins on the drive motor, are not features one would see on low end products.
The key technology of the Stewart Q Follow is the Bluetooth follow mode. With that function selected, the cart is seeking the handheld pendant. When I first trialed this in the yard, it was without a bag on the cart, and I found the cart quite erratic. At first, I thought it was due to not holding the pendant still (as in clipped to my belt) but, after getting the clubs aboard, the cart became quite steady. It still makes some jerky direction changes but nothing excessive. The bottom-line is that the follow technology works as advertised. Soon into my third round, I began not really thinking about the cart too much and just felt confident my clubs would be within arm's reach when I got to my ball.
Personally, I found trying to hook the pendant onto my belt or pants/shorts pocket each time I selected "follow" a pain. Upon arriving at the ball, you can stay within the "no follow" zone, and it won't attempt to move to you. But, on a several occasions, I would just get outside that range while setting up for the shot and the cart you suddenly swivel and move towards me. What worked best for me was simply carrying the pendant in my hand as I walked to my ball, then place it on my bag, take the shot, pick up the pendant and start walking. My testing showed the carts steering to be nearly identical whether on my belt or in my hand. I even swung the pendant around while watching and the carts steering was hardly affected at all.
Aesthetics (5 of 5 stars)
I really like the look of the cart. As I mentioned above, it has a very modern look with just enough bling in the right places. The light grey rubber handle inserts and bag strap, the exposed carbon fiber basket-weave fenders, grey wheel rims, and red inner wheel covers blend really well. Overall, it is quite compact folded up and not as large as one might think a "battery powered" cart would be.
The battery nest fits perfect and simply blends into the cart base for a streamline look.
The Numbers (4 of 5 stars)
Unlike the accuracy of a range finder or carry distance for clubs, this category for a bag cart is a bit challenging. But, I will touch on a key thing that can definitely effect "one's numbers (scoring)" and that is fatigue. I've used non-motorized golf push carts for the better part of 45 years and while their designs have evolved to make them more compact and feature rich, they still require manual labor. As we get older, that effort becomes more and more noticeable. On courses with significant elevation and slope changes, I've really started to notice that my stamina wanes as the holes roll along. Add in some heat index and that just makes manual carts feel heavier with each passing yard.
The rounds I have played using the Stewart Q Follow Caddie have significantly reduced the level of fatigue I feel as compared to my manual push cart. I cannot yet equate better scoring with the Stewart Q but it stands to reason that being less fatigued over the course of a round will more likely than not help ones scoring.
On The Course (4.5 of 5 stars)
The Stewart Q Follow worked better than I expected in both manual drive and follow modes. I say better than expected because I had visions of looking back for my clubs only to see them some distance back and off-track. I used the follow mode about 90% of the time and it always kept up with me. With the exception of it finding a pothole as it left the cart path and falling over, it never had an issue.
The first course I tested on had a really good mix of terrain. The carts paths are mostly gravel and some not so smooth. There were plenty of bumps and lumps which did tend to knock the steering off course a bit, but the tracking technology did a very good job of making corrections. It did get a bit jumpy at times when this happened, but nothing all that drastic.
While the cart does well going up hills, going down steep hills isn't so good - particularly if you walk at normal pace. What I found worked was to just walk slow and kind of guide it along close behind. On a few grades, I noted the brakes having to engage to slow travel and skid the wheels. Of course the instructions suggest using manual steering and use of the handle in these situations, but what fun is that? .
The course also had plenty of side hills and I purposely walk up the slopes and in a zig-zag manner to see how the tracking worked. It did a good job making steering adjustments but definitely was working the two wheel motors pretty hard. Still, I was quite impressed with its ability to keep up.
The Good, the Bad, and the In-between (3.5 of 5 stars)
The "good" points are:
- The cart is very compact folded up which will really help those driving cars with limited trunk space.
- It is very easy to unfold and refold once you get the sequence down.
- Battery life is as advertised. We received the 36 hole battery and, following each of my 18 hole rounds, the app showed close to 60% remaining.
- The battery app is easy to use and provides status whether connected to the cart or charging cords.
The quick dis-engage design of the rear wheels, for full manual mode, is very easy.
- Removing and replacing the battery is easy and the recharge time for it and the remote pendant as described in the user manual.
- The cart adjusts well to the players walking pace. I found this really helpful when slowing down and "helping" the cart through odd terrain. This even works on moderate downhill grades.
- Switching to manual/pendant steering is easy and one quickly gets the feel for how much left and right arrow is needed to make course adjustments.
The cart had very ample torque and climbing power. I took it up a few quite steep inclines and it had no problem. The two "wheelie wheels" do a great job at keeping the cart from tipping over backwards.
The "bad" points are:
- The handle is a bit on the flimsy side. On several holes with moderate contours around the greens and tees, I dis-engaged the rear wheels from the motor and pushed the cart. I found the amount of flexing in the handle a little concerning. When using my current cart, I sometimes will give it a pretty hefty shove going over curbs. I would be concerned about this handle holding up under similar situations. To be fair, maybe it will sustain way more flexure and stress than I think... but it just made me nervous.
- Storage is pretty much non-existent. I found myself really missing the mesh cargo net bag, storage tray, and zippered storage pocket on my current Caddy-Tek cart. For me, this was a big negative that affected scoring.
The "In-between" points are:
- The cart folded is a bit heavy and I could see this maybe being an issue for older folks (even more so for women) lifting in/out of car trunks.
- It seems the "glide stop" mode should be the default. The carts stops quite abruptly if this mode is not on, and I should think most users will want this on... so why not make it the default?
- The cart does work fine with lighter than optimum weight bags, but the tradeoff is that the cart tends to pop wheelies a bit more when starting off and when following up steeper inclines.
Play it or Trade it? (4 of 5 stars)
To be brutally honest, I'm on the fence on this one. I walked one of my (new to me) courses today using my cart and was taking note of all the uneven surface changes I went through moving from greens to tees. Most of the cart paths stand several inches higher than the ground and I could see myself having to do quite a bit of "helping" the Stewart Q cart through this - whether in follow or manual steering. Staying on the concrete paths would be a solution but there are a good many more direct/shorter paths through packed gravel that the walking folks use. I need to get a few rounds in with it on the courses here to make this final decision. I do think it will help reduce fatigue, especially on hot days, and that is a BIG incentive. While my Caddy-Tek cart is quite light and easy to push, I still feel it towards the end of rounds. I'm definitely going to put the Stewart Q through more paces and testing here and see how it works out.
One factor I'm interested in is battery life and and adverse effects of use and storage in hot climates - like Arizona hot in summer months. They recommend charging at near room temps, which is fine and doable, but what about use and storage in a garage that's near 100F?
I'm quite sure I would not have spent the MSRP for this cart. I had previously looked at battery powered, manual steer units and opted not to invest the $700 to $1000 for some of those. I do think the build quality and technology are excellent, and the follow mode a really helpful feature, but the price seems a bit high IMO.
In a nutshell, the Stewart Q Follow Caddie is the real deal and does what it was designed to do. With the exceptions noted above and two key design aspects (weak handle and virtually no storage), the cart manual and follow steering modes work very well. It works well over moderately uneven terrain; gravel paths, over tree roots, and low curbs (say up to an inch). Straight out of the box, the cart is assembled and, with the help of fantastic instructions, requires only a few base and handle movements to be ready to load your bag and head off to the tee. After the round is done, the fold and store sequence is very easy and surprisingly compact. It is a little on the heavy side and could be an issue for some lifting into and out of deep trunks.
The ability to quickly disengage both the rear wheels is great in the event of either the cart or pendant batteries running out, a system malfunction, or forgetting to bring the pendant with you (which I nearly did ). With the wheels disengaged, the cart feels very much like any other push cart. It rolls along fine but keep in mind the weight of the battery will require expending a few more calories. It's also worth noting that the handle is no where near as rigid as most carts and tends to twist/flex a bit if pushing forward over curbs, cart paths, etc. There are other reviews on this product where handles breaking have happened - so just something to consider and remember when using.
It seems to work well with various golf bags. I used my Sun Mountain Four 5 kickstand bag and it had no issues. Stewart Golf does recommend using a bit heavier bags to minimize "wheelies" during drive motor starts, but I did not find that an issue. While perhaps not optimum, it's nice to know the cart can be used with a pretty wide range of bags.
The $2699 to $3099 MSRP (depending on options) is pretty high as compared to other battery powered, manual pendant steer carts. Because I'm not real familiar with the competing products, I won't try and justify the cost of this product except to say I think the Stewart Q Follow is a top-shelf product with respect to engineering and build quality.
I think the bottom-line is that if you really love to walk but are finding doing so with a manual push cart too taxing, and you want a high end, quality built cart with state-of-art follow mode feature, the Stewart Q Follow should definitely be on your list. I must say that the follow mode is quite cool. Simply walking from shot to shot with "Stewey" tagging along and having your clubs there when you get to the ball could be habit forming.
Thank you for reading this review. Be sure to check out the "comments" section with the many posts we testers made chronicling our experiences using this product. Also, check in periodically as myself and the other testers will be adding more findings in the comments section as we get more experience using the product.
Final Score (25 out of 30 stars)