Why hasn’t someone made a…
I bet most us have had a “million dollar idea” at some point. That moment when we think “someone needs to make THIS.” In the moment, we are certain that we have just thought of the best new product ever, and we immediately slip into fantasy daydreams about the sweet vacation home that will be purchased with all of the profits the product will reap.
Unfortunately, most of these ideas never pass that daydream design phase, and even if they do progress a bit, something probably stalls the process before the product ever reaches the consumer.
For example, at one point, I sketched out a bunch of functional novelty putters, fully convinced that the proceeds from my high-MOI fairy princess putter would be paying for my kids’ college tuitions. Such was not the case, as the sketches represented the end of the design road for me, and tuition is now coming from my mundane, low MOI day job.
But there are those who make it further along the design path than I did, taking that initial inspirational idea and nurturing it all the way to completion. Not to be a suck-up, but Adam Beach has done that, not only here with MyGolfSpy, but also with his new TrueGolfFit venture. He had the ideas, and the endurance to get those ideas to the consumer. High-five boss!
The PGA Show Periphery
Every year, lots of other individuals try to bring their amazing innovations to the golf marketplace. Golf is a powerful crucible for inspiration because it is so damn difficult to play! Golf’s inherent difficulty creates the incredible innovation impetus for products that will make the game if not easier, at least more enjoyable to play.
If you check the outlying areas of the annual PGA Show, you will see tens, if not hundreds of folks who have bet their life savings that their new product is the best thing to ever happen to the game of golf. Some products do become massive successes like SuperStroke grips, but most of these dream products will end up relegated to the realm of camouflaged golf balls, the Golf Elevator, and the golf club urinal. Even against these long odd though, every year the dreamers and their dream products return to Orlando.
Today, I have for you the story of one such dreamer and his innovative golf product. Will this one have the legs (wheels?) to become a staple in a golf shop near you. Will 2019 be the year when the Transrover all-in-one golf cart breaks through into the golf market? Let’s take a look at the dreamer and his dream.
Thinh Tran: The man behind Transrover
A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Thinh Tran, the creator of the Transrover cart. Not only was it very cool to check out the prototype cart, but it was also quite enlightening to meet and talk with Thinh. The word passionate definitely describes Mr. Tran’s relationship with the cart that he as designed, but I think that I’d also describe the relationship as objective.
Thinh believes that he has a revolutionary product on his hands, but he is also dedicated to making the design as perfect as possible. The design processes started in his backyard, with Thinh literally hacking out conceptual prototypes from used stroller parts, broken toys, and random hardware from around the house. While we chatted, Thinh explained how parts of the Transrover have changed since the initial incarnation, with each updated element improving the overall design and playability. He wants this to be the ultimate system for transporting your clubs on the course, and for enjoying your round of golf as well. That’s why there is an insulated six-pack holder in the top of the unit, and when I jokingly mentioned that it was missing a bottle opener, he took the idea seriously as a potential feature. All of the innovations and endless improvements do come with a cost though. At the top of his graphic design career, Thinh decided to give it all up and go all in on his dream. With his savings dwindling, he emptied his 401K and later refinanced his house to keep things moving.
Execution is Key
In the simplest of descriptions, the Transrover is a combination of a golf bag and push cart, and yes, I know that this is not a new concept. I’ve run a few of these through the review paces over the years. I’ve reviewed the Duo combo cart from Alphard, and Sun Mountain Combo cart as well. Those prior experiences lay the foundations for my excitement about the Transrover. I know what’s been out there before, and that knowledge allows me to comfortably proclaim that this Transrover cart is better than previous combo units I’ve tested.
Looking at the prototype, I could tell that Thinh was on to something unique with his design. From the way that the outer wheels folded flat to the body, to the way that the front wheel disappears completely inside the bag, the Transrover takes combo in a different direction. This difference in form allows the Transrover to function in ways that weren’t possible with previous combo systems.
Loyal readers know that here at MyGolfSpy we do not just arbitrarily lump praise on products. Praise without evidence doesn’t help much when one is deciding to buy something. With that in mind, here are the reasons that I think that the Transrover has the potential to make it in the golf arena.
Key Element: Simple Folding and Unfolding
Take a look at these two short videos showing how to unfold and refold the Transrover cart. The design is such that you pull one handle to release the wheels, lift the bag to lock the wheels in place, secure the console and the stabilizer bars, and you are off and running. It’s intuitive and easy and should take you less time than unfolding your traditional push cart and attaching your golf bag. It will probably take you more time to change into your golf shoes than it will to open up the Transrover and get rolling toward the first tee.
Key Element: Power Cart Versatility
At its core, the Transrover is a push cart, but we all know that there are courses that we play where riding carts are mandatory. Previous combo carts had no hope of lashing to the riding cart’s bag compartment. They were just too big and bulky.
With the Transrover design, you can fit two Transrover carts on the back of the riding cart with room to spare.
With the wheels up, the Transrover has a narrow enough profile to fit in the back of the power cart, and it even has design features to facilitate snug strapping once it’s there. It’s an impressive feat of engineering, especially since the cart didn’t seem small to me at all when it was in its unfolded, rolling configuration.
Riding cart usage was not an afterthought with the Transrover. It’s designed to be a functional golf bag when driven around. You can access the pockets, including the cooler, and the club holding system keeps your clubs from knocking around as you drive. Now you can finally toss out those unsexy iron covers.
Key Element: Ergonomics
When it comes to bags and carts, I view the concept of ergonomics simply as things being where they should be, and the ability to easily access those things with ease. Fighting with a cart, or struggling to get into a bag’s pocket is a sure fire way to add a little stress to a round, probably hurting your scoring potential that day.
The most important positive from my ergonomic experiences with the Transrover was its stability and maneuverability when pushing the clubs around the grass. It is very stable, and yet turns easily when you need it to. Based upon my experiences with the prototype, you will not be fighting this cart for directional dominance.
The small stuff is all ergonomically sound as well. Though not huge, the console has enough storage for the stuff you use during play, and the combination of pockets and webbing systems should handle most of your other gear storage needs. Some of the lower pockets are not quite as easy to access, and you won’t find the giant pocket that runs the length of most golf bags, but I’d still say that the storage is sufficient for standard needs.
The hideaway front wheel necessitated arranging the clubs around the perimeter of the cart. While this looks a bit unusual, this design challenge actually opened the door for innovation as well. First, you’ll see that the clubs are locked in place with a rubber gasket-like holder. This prevents your clubs from clanking during usage. This is a necessary feature. Without it, you’d have a ton of iron on iron action. The design also left a big empty space at the top. It was in this space that Thinh incorporated the ever-welcome cooler. A sixer will slide right into that gap.
The Transrover folds and unfolds very quickly, and with minimal effort. Lift the bag up, and pull a couple of rings, and all of the wheels pop down and lock into place. Reverse that process, and you are wheels up and ready for transport. It is so fast and easy. Unfolding a standard push cart, and strapping a bag to it will take you way longer. You will go from the trunk to the tee in seconds, not minutes.
Key Element: Weight Appropriateness
One of the killers for the other combo cart systems was excessive weight. Once you load the bag with gear and clubs, those combo units become quite heavy. The Transrover is much lighter than the other combo cart systems, and it’s more compact profile makes for easy trunk in and outs. For me, awkward loading was the ultimate deal breaker with the other combo carts. Golf can be stressful enough without the blood pressure going up because of a heavy, bulky-stuck-in-trunk club carrying system.
Key Element: Increasing Golf Access
Golf has a whole bunch of amateur rules officials who want to tell other people how to play the game. Not play the game in terms of the rules, or how to actually hit the ball, but rather they enforce the other important things like only scratch players can wear white belts, or real golfers carry their clubs on their backs. That second one kills me. The most elite golfers in the world don’t carry their clubs on their backs!
The truth of the matter is that many people would need to stop playing golf if they couldn’t push their clubs in a cart, or strap them to the back of a power cart. Most of us even play better when the clubs come off the back. I know that my scores are lower when I push rather than carry, and that’s the ultimate goal for me. It’s not just for older golfers either as many college programs are having their players push rather than carry for the same lower-scores reason.
Like any push cart, the Transrover will help golfers walk a round of golf rather than ride, with the design helping in other situations too. It is so easy to unload from the trunk and get rolling that it will help people get their clubs to the driving range for practice sessions, or even walking from their cars to the cart barn to pick up the power cart. Older golfers, or those nurturing injuries, know that just carrying a golf bag across the parking lot can be an ordeal. The Transrover makes club transport so much easier in all situations.
New Gear Giddiness
I own my tendency to get a touch over excited about golf gear. I think that it comes from visualizing the possibilities that come with playing new gear. Maybe that new driver will help me to hit the ball longer and straighter; the new putter will definitely sink more putts. With the Transrover, the entire playing golf experience can potentially be improved, and I find that exciting.
If you share my excitement, head over to the Transrover Kickstarter page and get in the queue for one of these carts. Early bird pricing is $395, with the price increasing to $445 after the initial 48-Hours of the launch. Your pre-orders will directly help get Transrover into production.
If you are a rider, you’ll likely offset the costs with healthcare savings over time. If you carry, you’ll appreciate getting the bag off of your back. If you push already, good for you, but you’ll still want to check out the Transrover. Thinh’s innovative combination of bag and cart could simplify, and likely improve your club pushing experience.