Non-motorized push carts will be allowed for all players in all AJGA competition beginning in 2009. After studying the issue in depth, the AJGA found that carrying heavy golf bags on the back, especially among younger players, could potentially to contribute to back injuries and fatigue.
During the 2008 season, the AJGA permitted the use of push carts in Junior All-Star events, or at any event where a player obtained a doctor’s note indicating a medical need. After the policy went smoothly in 2008, the AJGA Board of Directors approved the use of push carts at all tournaments beginning in 2009. Medical need will no longer be required.
Exceptions to the push cart policy may occur at host facilities that do not allow push carts on the golf course. The AJGA will inform participants when this situation arises.
The shift in policy occurred after consulting with doctors about the health issues involved in regularly carrying heavily weighted bags, especially when the bag’s weight comprises more than 20 percent of one’s body weight. For lightweight golfers who play multiple rounds per week, the possibility of injury to the lower back, shoulders and neck increases. Also, during those developmental years, reducing the stress on the back may help develop a healthier spine. Push carts have also been found to reduce fatigue.
For many years, NCAA rules have permitted push carts in women’s competition, which came about in response to a petition from women’s coaches. The petition was passed because the committee believed push carts offered no competitive advantage.