Remote-Controlled Bat-Caddy X4R Does Most Everything But Line Up Your Putts

The Bat-Caddy X4R is a back-saving, cost-effection alternative to carrying your bag or riding

For golfers whose backs can no longer lug their bags and whose shoulders seize up after 18 holes of pulling and pushing manual carts, remote-controlled battery-operated golf buggies are just the ticket.
Perhaps you’ve considered making the switch to a hands-free electronic cart in the past but sticker shock convinced you otherwise. If so, the Bat-Caddy X4R is worth another look. Among the new generation of moderately priced remote-controlled gurneys, the Bat-Caddy takes some care and feeding. But once you establish who’s boss — and take some cues from your new purchase — you’ll find the cart meets most of your club-hauling needs.
The aluminum frame itself is the latest in snappy, sleek designing. It’s elegant, light, and folds up into a compact bundle for manageable storage. The back wheels are wide, which enables easy navigation, and all three tires require no air pumps.
The long-lasting battery12V, 35-36 Ah Sealed Lead Acid battery lets you play 27 holes on a single charge of four to six hours. You should get between 150-200 charges over the lifetime of the battery — depending on how often you charge it, storage conditions, and a variety of other factors.
All of which is not to suggest that it will be love at first sight between you and your new pack mule — especially if you’ve never had the pleasure of remotely operating a 24-pound buggy with a 25-pound battery and a golf sack stuffed with 14 clubs and a bag-load of balls. Recognize there will be a learning curve, treat your X4R like a puppy requiring obedience school and you and your new toy should get along just fine.
After almost an entire season of putting my Bat-Caddy X4R through some challenging paces, I’ve provided a brief primer to help you get the most from yours.
Wide-open spaces. The X4R is not a fan of rugged surfaces like potholed dirt roads or branches-strewn shortcuts through wooded areas. When forced to deal with such environments, your cart will rock from side to side; if you’re navigating from the grip, you’ll get your daily workout by trying to keep the bumps and grinds to a minimum.
To ease the strain, push down on the handle and raise the front tire off the ground. That technique will help you avoid the whiplash that can occur when the lead wheel slams into a rock or tree limb blocking its path. It’s usually best to take the long way around, across grassy fields or along well-traveled cart paths.
I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not always wise to rely solely on the X4R’s remote capabilities. One particularly nasty spill after the cart ran over a drainage ditch caused the wires connecting the battery to the cart to rip loose. Fortunately, a friend with a soldering iron came to the rescue — but that was after I had to push the powerless conveyance over hill and dale for two long holes.
To forestall such accidents, grasp the handlebar and travel slowly over the rough terrain. Company president Peter Hanneforth suggests you not tighten the nut — which Hanneforth says is not essential and that Bat-Caddy will eliminate from the cart’s next iteration — to the threads. “These are aerospace type plugs and the connection will not come loose during normal operations,” says Hanneforth, head of the Bat-Caddy Division of SpaCom LLC, “but in case of an accident the cable will unplug without damaging the cart.”
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. On a separate occasion from the one above, the cart, which was barely moving over a slight slope, did a slow-motion tip and once again tore out the wires. A new battery lead should fix the immediate issue (it helps if you’re handy with a wrench, pliers, and screwdriver), the result of which has made me even more conservative with how I manage the X4R (because I am decidedly mechanically illiterate).
Indeed, for rougher topography and hillier territory, Hanneforth suggests his firm’s X3R model. “It is heavier, wider has a lower center of gravity and thicker wheels, in other words more of a work horse,” he says. At $695, it also costs $100 less than the newer unit.
Mountain climbing. Eschew the remote when climbing steep hills. The pram is wont to make a 90-degree turn along the fault line, no matter how tentatively you ask it to steer. Maintain a controlled, steady pace and keep a firm grip on the handle to guide it up the mountain.
For sure, don’t panic the first time your cart rears up like a spooked horse. It is somewhat alarming to walk behind a mechanized gig that suddenly lifts its front tire off the ground and appears to be falling backward on top of you, but it won’t. That little metal wheel in the back that looks like a tail serves as a rudder of sorts, keeping the Bat-Caddy from pitching rearward.
You may be tempted to let the Bat-Caddy run wild down hills and hope you can remotely apply the breaks before it runs full-force into your playing partner or topples over sideways. A better idea is to play it safe by turning the manual rheostat control knob to slow, turning the power off completely, or switching off only the remote power and guiding the cart warily down the incline.
Loop-de-loop. That loop extending from the top of the remote is an antenna (which you already knew since you read all the accompanying paperwork), not a hula hoop for your wrist. A BC user discovered that the hard way by twirling the item around until its wires popped out. A bit more soldering and it’s as good as new, but you may want to avoid the need for out-patient surgery by treating the mechanism with care.
An actual hanging strap would be handy and the company promises a type of carry case for next year’s model. Lacking that, I (very gently) hang the antenna over the BC’s handlebar. The same friend with the soldering iron attached her own additional strap, but that required time in the workshop and a delicate procedure that included opening up the box of the remote and resealing it.
Remote access. The remote itself — which offers forward, sideways, and reverse  options — can be somewhat finicky. You may press the left arrow, only to watch your golf bag sail off to the right, or you may suggest a slight turn by lightly tapping either directional icon but instead the trolley makes a 90-degree turn. Hanneforth suggests that such glitches may result from interference from cell phone towers, electricity lines, or other virtual obstructions. The remote also works up to 100 yards and has a 40-second automatic shutdown, he says, which means it will power off if it receives no signal after that timeframe.
Another tip: turn the cart off manually before putting the remote away. On more than one occasion (I’m obviously a slow learner), I’ve pocket-dialed an instruction to the rickshaw, which meandered its way across the parking lot before I noticed my error.
There are a few additional ways that the company could improve the X4R.
Bungee jumping. I’m not a fan of the bungee cords that strap the golf bag to the cart. You’ll know what I mean the first time you incur a stinger from the knob of the cord snapping your thumb. But the cords provide a tighter fit and prevent the bag from shifting, according to Hanneforth, who notes that most of his customers prefer them to velcro straps or clips, which “have the tendency to come lose.”
Give me a brake. A brake would be a helpful addition, especially if you’re playing hilling courses. Without it, you have to maneuver the cart to the correct angle so it won’t roll down the slope. Hanneforth says that other than the “Stop” function, brakes for such carts “are mechanically not possible” at this time. The advantage to the X4R’s “freewheeling motors,” he says, is that golfers may move the carts easily even without power. Other types lock up if you lose power, he adds.
Don’t let it rain. The umbrella holder is essentially useless since it slides from side to side on the frame and can’t support a bumbershoot. A newer design with a central bracket provides a snugger fit and less interference with your clubs, says Hanneforth. Ron Z. in customer service says, however, that the company never intended the shaft to bolster an umbrella while the cart was in motion; the best you can hope for is to place the parasol in the grip while the X4R is at rest.
This is a serious deficiency for mudders who are undeterred by a few raindrops but would like to keep their clubs and selves as dry as possible. Manual carts offer sufficient holders and the only other battery-operated conveyance I’ve used, Sun Mountain’s discontinued E-Cart, provided a sturdy receptacle that screwed into the handlebar and braced a full-size golf umbrella.
What’s the score? The company is working with a third-party supplier to improve its cheap add-ons, like a scorecard holder that can’t actually hold a scorecard. The device’s plastic cover fits fine until you add a card. My suggestion: don’t even bother attaching this or the umbrella holder since you’ll end up removing them anyway.
Customer service. Important criteria in your buying decision should be access to customer service and the availability of spare parts, because something is bound to go wrong with any type of mechanized product. Bat-Caddy promises to replace faulty parts within a year of purchase, and has made good on the few spares I’ve requested. It’s also comforting to know that the company has enjoyed triple-digit annual growth since entering the remote-control market in 2004/05, according to Hanneforth, and won’t be closing up shop any time soon. The firm has two fully stocked brick-and-mortar service and logistic centers in Pennsylvania and Florida and plans to open two more in Colorado and California.
Bat-Caddy Brigade. It may sound as if I’m an anti-Bat-Caddy-ite and I have to admit it took some time for the rolling carriage to win me over. Now, however, I’m a full-fledged member of the Bat-Caddy Brigade and happily (but carefully) strut my stuff across the fairways of some of New England’s finest golf courses. At $795, the X4R is an affordable alternative for golfers who would otherwise have to pay to ride each time they play.
It’s also cool, I must admit, to watch other players’ faces as they catch sight of an operator-free Bat Caddy taking a few Cha-Cha steps to the right, left, or backwards, and then stopping on a dime. I’m certain as well that the sight of a golf cart on automatic pilot will soon become less of an oddity as golfers of a certain generation age but still want to stroll between shots. There were five of us remote-controllers at my favorite track this season, and I predict several more will be roaming the course next year.
Now, if only I could teach the darn thing to line up my putts.

One Response to “Remote-Controlled Bat-Caddy X4R Does Most Everything But Line Up Your Putts”

  1. NMGolfer12

    I have had my Bat-Caddy X4R for about 7 weeks, playng 18-holes, 3 days each week. 1) Battery thus far strong and reliable. 2) Bag Support Straps: strong, be careful when removing, they’ll give you a good kick. 3) Tracking-Front wheel alignment: this is very tricky, hard to adjust. Results of cart not tacking correctly is rear wheel rubber slips off rim due to constantly adusting the cart to correct a poor track. Again, very hard to adjust correctly. This has been the most difficult aspect to deal with. 4) Mounting screws to the cart for the bar that hold the seat on the cart are very week and to small. No lock washer used, just a cheep washer to small for the whole. I check, realign mounting bar, and tighten screws and nuts to on the cart after each round. I will replace with a bit larger, more durable screw and nut using lock washers. 5) The seat base is a bit low and tends to hit on uneven ground. 6) It would be nice if the anti tip wheel slide back and forth for transport and course use Vs. having to install an remove from cart each time. I have seen other carts with the back and forth anti tip wheel, much more convienent. 7) Do not recommend use without remote. I purchased a spare remote, otherwise if I lost the remote I would have a boat anchor. 8) Up and down hills: Very strong on climbing hills, however, be careful going down hills, it could run away. Steep hills I just hit stop and it goes down a steep hill safely. 9) I live in the Southwest where the majority of our courses are links or near links style course. A lot of arroyos between tee and fairway. If there is not an improved cart path through the arroyo– sand or fine gravel tend to accumolate in the arroyos. When passing through with the Bat-Caddy they tend to lose traction and you will need to assist it across. All that being said, I am happy with the Bat-Caddy X4R. I sure beats pushing my clubs over 18-holes. In terms of a rating after 7 short weeks I would say between good and very good.


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