Stewart Golf Q-Follow Review: Are Remote Caddies the Future?
Over the last decade we’ve seen a number of completely new categories pop up for golf products.
But one of the most unique new categories is also one that has the potential to have the greatest impact on how you experience golf.
What is it?
You could also call it an electric push cart, follow cart, or any number of other terms, but essentially these are remote-controlled push carts that allow you to essentially walk the course hands-free (ish).
Despite only coming to mainstream popularity over the last 10 years or so, Stewart Golf has been at the forefront of this technology for years, and has been around for close to 25 years.
And after years of testing and iterating, they’ve proven their carts are ready for prime time.
Today I’m reviewing the Stewart Golf Q-Follow electric caddie.
I’m going to cover everything about the Q-Follow. I’ll give insight into what it’s like to use a follow caddie and help you decide if it’s right for you, as it obviously isn’t necessarily going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
We’ll also look at whether or not it’s actually smart enough to “follow” you around the course totally hands-free.
So, if you’re ready to dive into a whole new category of golf products, let’s do this thing.
Pre-Conceived Notions About Electric Caddies
I’ll admit, before going deep with the Q-Follow, I was highly skeptical of an electric caddie system.
This is mostly due to preconceived notions I had about the product category – that in most cases weren’t actually based in fact the more I dug into them.
“It’s a way better workout to carry my clubs…”
Studies have shown* that walking with a remote caddie is actually just as good of a workout as carrying your clubs, despite carrying having a high “Rate of Perceived Exertion.”
Meaning, you feel like you’re working a lot harder than you actually are – which can have an impact on your enjoyment of the round.
*This study wasn’t done by Stewart Golf, but I linked to their synopsis of it as it’s definitely more digestible and easier to read than the actual study.
“I’m going to look stupid because no one else uses one of these things…”
In the three rounds, I’ve now played with the Q-Follow, during each round I saw at least 2 other people using a follow caddie on the course.
I would likely never have noticed this were I not acutely aware of the fact I was using one, but the reality is that they’re becoming much more proliferate, and I’m sure many other parts of the world are seeing far more use than we are in Portland.
“I’m too young to need an electric caddie…”
While I still think this is true, based on Stewart Golf’s numbers, they say 20% of their users are under 50. So while it may not be the most saturated demographic out there, there are definitely more and more younger golfers that are choosing to play with a follow caddie system.
One thing is clear, these types of push carts are becoming more and more popular each year around the world.
Is it right for you? Maybe, maybe not.
But let’s take an objective look at the Stewart Golf Q-Follow, which is among the best products in the category on the market.
This might help you decide if it’s worth making the investment in a new way to play golf.
First Impressions of the Stewart Golf Q-Follow
One of the biggest drawbacks to both the Q-Follow and any other follow caddie systems is also one of the very first things you notice: the weight.
The Stewart Golf Q-Follow, despite folding up to be quite compact is a very heavy unit at 31 pounds.
I always hate to start out with a negative, but the reality is that this will be one of the single biggest limiting factors for many people considering a product like this.
Here’s the good news though, it most likely isn’t going to matter that much.
I’ll tell you what I mean by that in just a minute. First, let’s look at more initial impressions.
The Q-Follow both looks and feels extremely well-built and high quality.
If you’re used to that flimsy push cart you bought on Amazon, you should know that this will be nothing like that.
Everything about the Q-Follow not only feels like it was built to withstand a beating, but it also feels very well thought-out from a design standpoint.
Once you know how to fold it and unfold it, it’s a breeze and can be done in less than 30 seconds.
That said, if you’ve never done it before and are trying to do it from scratch without any instructions, you may scratch your head for a couple of minutes while you learn where all of the semi-hidden buttons and release levers are.
When folded up, there’s a convenient handle that allows you to lift the unit up to carry or put in your car.
There’s a massive battery that’s very easy to remove for charging, as well as the remote control which has some very well-thought-out design elements – we’ll talk more about both later on.
Overall, however, the Stewart Golf Q-Follow looks and feels like a far more robust version of a typical golf push cart.
Setting up and Getting Started with the Stewart Golf Q-Follow
Out of the box, the Q-Follow comes with pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to come with:
- The unit itself
- Instruction book
- Remote control for driving the cart
- Removable battery
- Battery charger
So you’ve unboxed it, the battery is charged up, now what?
Fortunately, it’s all pretty straightforward.
There are three primary hinge points for unfolding the Q-Follow and getting it ready to rock.
First, you’ll unfold the front wheels, and then there are two hinges for unfolding the primary bag stand and handlebars.
Seconds later, you’re good to go.
Attaching Your Bag to the Q-Follow
Stewart recommends that you use the Q-Follow with a cart bag, rather than a stand bag, as the added size and weight provides a bit more stability.
While yes, it may feel more stable with the cart bag, I found it to work perfectly well with the lighter stand bags as well. So if you’re someone who prefers the versatility of a stand bag over a cart bag, no worries, the Q-Follow will still work well.
Just like any push cart, there are two straps for securing your bag to the cart. It’s very easy to get the top one to securely grab the bag. I’ve occasionally run into issues where I can’t get the bottom one as tight as I’d like, and it’s come off. But I honestly think this is probably a user error and I just need to spend a little time with it to make sure I know the best practice for using it.
Turning on the Q-Follow and Charging the Battery
In order to start using the Q-Follow, you actually have two switches to turn on: the primary on/off switch on the cart itself, as well as an additional power button on the battery.
This is actually a very smart design component, as it is a safeguard that protects the battery from degrading if it gets left on our put away for a long period of time.
Kind of like how many supercars have battery kill switches for when the car is going to be parked for an extended period of time.
There’s an app for your phone that connects to the battery via Bluetooth and will give you real-time data about the battery’s health and charge level.
I haven’t actually had a chance to download and use it yet, but I will most certainly be doing so on my next round. Despite having the 36-hour battery at full charge, not having any indicator on the device itself around how much battery there was, had me slightly on edge.
The last thing I’d want is for it to die mid-round and have to push it off the course under my own power ha.
The Battery itself is quite large, but is very easy to pop out of the unit for charging. The charger plugs into any standard 110-volt wall outlet for charging, and is honestly no more difficult to charge than your smartphone.
The fact this is removable is, I think essential. Because the cart itself is heavy, being able to just take the battery with you to charge, rather than the entire unit is very convenient.
When you’re ready to go you simply turn on both the battery and device, grab the remote and within a few seconds of powering things up, you’re ready for the most high-tech caddie you’ve ever had.
First Steps: What Your First Hour with the Q-Follow is Like
No matter what, if you’ve never used an electric caddie before, the first few minutes are a little nerve-wracking and disconcerting.
Until you’re totally familiar with how the controls work, watching your golf bag take off without you in the parking lot on the way to the first tee is kind of stressful.
Inevitably there will be a little fumbling and perhaps a run-away golf cart once or twice.
But the good news is that in my experience it only takes about 3 holes to become baseline proficient in using the Q-Follow.
After 9 holes I was very comfortable with using it.
And after one full round, everything feels second nature and I was able to experience the real benefits of having a follow caddie.
But let’s back up to how it works and what you can expect.
How to Drive the Stewart Golf Q-Follow
The remote for the Q-Follow is pretty straightforward and comes with a nice silicone cover for protection from the elements.
At its most basic, there are 4 arrow buttons forward, back, left, and right.
Hit the forward button? You guessed it, it goes forward.
Hit it again and it goes a little faster.
Hit the left button, it will adjust to the left.
Hit back, it’ll slow down.
In the middle of each of these buttons is red stop button.
Hit it, and the Q-Follow stops on a dime.
If possible, I suggest playing on a course that has a pretty open first fairway to get a feel for things.
Sometimes you can forget that you have to hit the stop button to actually make it stop. But once you get that engrained, the fear of a runaway cart subsides quickly.
I didn’t learn it about this until the 6th hole of my first round, but there’s also a “slow stop” button, that was a welcome revelation.
The standard stop button makes it stop immediately and can feel very abrupt.
The “Slow Stop” button, however, lets the Q-Follow slowly roll to a more natural feeling stop, and in most cases is my preferred way to slop the Q-Follow.
It only takes a few holes to get the hang of “driving” the Q-Follow.
The turns on this unit can feel a little abrupt until you get used to it, and it’s especially noticeable if you’re on a cart path or in the parking lot.
But ultimately, the device is very maneuverable, and after a few rounds I now feel totally confident navigating around bunkers, up and down hilly terrain, and from greens to tees.
Getting Used to Always “Go”
One thing that does take a little getting used to, is you can’t really push the Q-Follow as you would a traditional push cart – it only moves forward under electric power.
(The caveat to this, is if the battery does happen to die, you can unlock the wheels to be able to push on its own, but you wouldn’t do this under normal circumstances.)
This for me was the biggest thing I had to get used to.
Especially during your first round, you’ll want to keep your hands on the unit during any questionable areas of navigation such as bunkers, near ponds, near greens, or going over bridges.
But, because it’s going forward on its own, you have to remember that in order to stop it, you’ll need to hit the stop button on the remote.
You can kind of forget that it’s an electric device, come up to an area where you need to stop or turn, and it may not be second nature at first to hit the stop button on the remote.
I don’t mean for this to sound scary, it took me probably 6 holes to feel fully comfortable here, but there is a slight learning curve here.
Another thing that takes a little getting used to is the occasional wheelie you get with the Q-Follow.
What you’ll sometimes find is that when starting the unit from a dead stop, the sudden forward momentum will pop up the front wheels of the Q-Follow. This is especially true if the cart is on an incline.
Fortunately, there are two stabilizer wheels on the back of the device that work really well.
In 3 rounds, I haven’t had the cart fall over or lose balance once. So even though that occasional “wheelie” might catch you off guard, it’s all part of the way it was designed.
It's not cheap but if you're looking for a hands-free follow cart that actually works as advertised? The Stewart Golf Q Follow is absolutely the one you should go for.
Does the Q-Follow Really Follow You Around?
Before using an electric caddie, I had thoughts that the handful of models with “follow” modes out there will truly follow you around with little input needed on your side of things.
Unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet in terms of technology, but we’re certainly getting closer.
One of the hallmarks of the Q-Follow is its ability to do just that: follow you around without you having to drive it.
And to be clear, it does do that, there’s just a little bit of a caveat to it.
In order to engage “Follow” mode on the Q-Follow, you simply hit the green button on the remote.
Then in order to get the best results you’ll want to clip the remote to the back of your belt.
Essentially what this is going to do is create a halo around you.
The Q-Follow is then going to follow you and stay right around that Halo distance which is about 4 or 5 feet.
Under ideal circumstances, it works very well.
But if there are a lot of obstacles in the way like bunkers, trees, water etc. it can struggle and not provide that seamless follow experience we’d all like.
The best way to engage and use the Follow feature is when you stripe the ball straight down the fairway.
Using Follow mode then feels like a bit of a reward. Like walking up to the green on a par 3 with nothing but your putter in hand.
When you’re cruising down a relatively open fairway in follow mode, the Q-Follow does a great job staying just close enough at all times to be comfortable and convenient.
But we’re still a generation away from a follow caddie that’s truly hands-free at all times.
How Far Away Can the Stewart Golf Q-Follow Go?
The stated range of the Stewart Golf Q-Follow is 50m or about 150 feet.
I’ve had the Q-Follow at least that far away, if not a bit further, and have yet to run into any issues with range.
Even when it’s significantly further down the fairway than where I am, it’s always responded just are quickly and precisely as it has when it’s just a few feet in front of me.
So while I can’t speak to the ultimate range of the unit, this shouldn’t be a concern for most people.
How Big of a Deal is the Weight of the Q-Follow?
So with all of this said, what’s it actually like to own and use a follow caddie, and is it something you should consider?
Earlier in this review I mentioned how heavy the Q-Follow is. At 31 pounds it’s legitimately heavy.
Depending on how and where you plan to use this, this may not be an issue.
Many clubs allow you to store your electric caddie at the club. If this is the case for you? Great. The weight isn’t an issue.
I imagine many other people who golf on a regular basis will keep their follow caddie in the trunk of their car.
As long as you’re comfortable lifting the caddie into your car and taking it out, the weight shouldn’t be too big of a deal. The battery is removable, so you can just pop that out and bring it inside to charge after your rounds.
But what if you’re short on trunk space and are going to bring your caddie into the house or store it somewhere while it’s not being used?
Well, then it’s up to you.
For me, this is where a wonderful experience on the course intersects with the reality of something that’s less than convenient.
The Q-Follow is very compact considering what it is, but it’s a bit of a pain to pick up and move around over any distances greater than in and out of your trunk.
So just keep that in mind when picking up this unit.
Is the Electric Caddie Experience with the Q-Follow that Much Better than Walking/Pushing/Carting?
Here’s the reality, I’m not necessarily the target market for this type of product.
For me personally, I’m not likely to use an electric caddie with any sort of regularity.
Part of this is due to the storage and convenience factors as I just mentioned. Part of it is that I’m traveling for at least half my rounds each year.
And a big part of it is just enjoying the simplified experience of carrying my clubs or using a “dumb” push cart.
However, there’s a big “but” coming…
Despite not personally running out and buying one of these, I’ll say that I 100% understand the appeal and practical application of owning one.
In fact, I found myself truly enjoying using the Q-Follow much more than I expected to.
Especially once you get over that initial uneasiness and everything becomes second nature? It didn’t interfere with my rounds nearly as much as I thought it might.
In fact, once I was fully comfortable using it, I found myself enjoying the freedom of walking down the fairway with nothing but the remote in my hand (or attached to my belt).
It felt freeing and I even got to the point where I found myself thinking less about my clubs than I would normally be with any other mode of golf transport.
Stewart Golf Q-Follow Price
The Stewart Golf Q-Follow is among the more expensive follow caddies on the market with a starting price of $2,699 for the “Black Version” with an 18-hole battery. If you want the “Carbon Fiber” Edition or the 36-hole battery, either of those options will set you back an additional $200 each.
There are competing products for quite a bit less money. For instance, the flagship Motocaddy cart comes in at $1,899.
I haven’t tested that, so I can’t compare directly – but there are two things I want to note.
If I’m owning one of these, it’s likely living in my trunk. And the Q-Follow is quite a bit more compact than competing products, which is a plus.
But more importantly, many other electric caddie systems are integrating screens and GPS units into the cart.
Personally, I really don’t want that.
An electric caddie is adding enough tech to your round of golf. Adding the complexity of a GPS and a screen to the cart feels like too much. If that’s what I want, then I’ll use an app on my phone or get a dedicated GPS unit like the Garmin Approach G80.
Sure, maybe after testing I’ll feel differently, but I doubt it. This is a feature that seems great on paper, but more tech isn’t necessarily always better.
Final Thoughts on the Stewart Golf Q-Follow
There are two questions to answer here for anyone considering buying this product:
- Is an electric caddie the right product for you
- Is the Stewart Golf Q-Follow a good product and worth purchasing?
The first one is kind of up to you to figure out. These carts are becoming increasingly popular for a reason, and if you understand all of the benefits (and drawbacks) to these types of carts, then you should be able to make a good decision about whether or not it’s right for you.
I can’t help you figure that one out, outside of sharing my own experiences as I have in this review.
The second question though, is much easier: I’ve been incredibly impressed with the Stewart Golf Q-Follow system, and if you’re in the market for an electric push cart, I think this is a model that you should absolutely consider.
It's not cheap but if you're looking for a hands-free follow cart that actually works as advertised? The Stewart Golf Q Follow is absolutely the one you should go for.
- Excellent build quality and durability
- Easy to drive and reliable Follow mode
- Rechargable battery with good battery life (with 36 hole)
- It's very heavy
- It's ore expensive than most competitors