As the worst of the winter weather begins to fade and golf season creeps farther north, players will focus on new gear that includes clubs, balls and shoes. For those who want to walk during their rounds – and even those who just want extra convenience on the range or in the parking lot before strapping their bags to a riding cart – several new stand bags also should be on their scouting lists.
“April is our biggest month, kind of the kickoff of the season for stand bags,” said Mark Campbell, a lead merchant for accessories at retailer PGA Tour Superstore. “That’s the first time that New York, New Jersey, Chicago and Denver, those guys, are really started to get excited and get out and play.”
Campbell said that at the 30-plus PGA Tour Superstores around the country, unit sales of stand bags last year outpaced legless cart bags by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent. He also said there are two questions that most people have about stand bags.
“Weight is a big question we get, and the other one would be storage,” Campbell said. “It’s kind of that there are two different stand bag customers. One guy truly wants to walk, and the other wants the versatility.”
One trend in the bag market in recent years has been ever-increasingly lighter bags for players who plan to walk every step of the way.
“If you want a 2- or 3-pound bag, that’s obviously because you’re carrying it,” Campbell said. “They’re not as worried about the storage in it.”
Several manufacturers have introduced bags that weigh less than 4 pounds, with some models at less than 3 pounds. Even small incremental decreases in weight can make a difference when walking four to five miles during a round. The tradeoff is that ultra-light bags don’t have as much storage for rain clothes, extra balls, drinks, rangefinders and other gear that tend to find their way into many players’ bags.
Another trend – in the other direction – has been the development of larger stand bags, meant to hold more gear while still using legs for when the bag isn’t on a cart. These bags probably aren’t for the diehard walker, but they do offer the possibility of occasional carrying instead of riding. Campbell said such large stands bags have risen to about 20 percent of PGA Tour Superstore’s total stand bag sales.
“I kind of call it the hybrid stand bag,” Campbell said. “It has a 14-way top, it’s a bigger bag physically, it’s basically kind of a cart bag with a stand on it. People want the functionality of it, either going to the range or getting it out of their car, and they want that stand.”
Another emerging trend is the inclusion of built-in batteries to recharge smartphones and other electronics. For players who want to stay in touch or use on-course, digital game-tracking apps and devices, the extra battery power can be worth a little extra weight.
“The whole world we live in is going toward more connectivity, and everyone is more and more tied to their device,” Campbell said. “You’ll see more of that.”
Included are a few recently released bags to check out:
Titleist Players 4UP StaDry
Buzz: Lightweight construction meets durability, advanced StaDry waterproofing and comfort in this new carry bag, which was designed in-house. It has a four-way top and a convertible strap with premium cushioning – designed with input from PGA Tour caddies – that can be used in a single- or double-strap configuration. The stand system promises superior stability with more ground contact for a wider, more stable stance when the legs are deployed. The 3.9-pound bag has four pockets and is available in nine colors.
Buzz: This franchise includes three stand bags: Hoofer, Hoofer Lite and Hoofer 14. The Hoofer has 12 pockets, a five-way top, a new strap connector for eased use and front-adjusting straps with the company’s SensorCool Technology. The seven-pocket Hoofer Lite has the same strap system, a four-way top and a cushioned hip pad for comfort while carrying. The Hoofer 14 has a 14-way top with 12 pockets and the same strap system as the other two. The bags are available in a wide range of colors.
Cost: Hoofer $220, Hoofer Lite $190, Hoofer 14 $240.
Buzz: This full-featured stand bag has a 9-inch, seven-way top to organize clubs, with seven pockets to store plenty of gear. It has a side putter pit and a four-point, self-adjusting, two-shoulder strap that also can be used as a single strap. Ogio, which was purchased by Callaway in 2017, also offers a lighter model, the Cirrus MB, that has fewer pockets (four) and weighs just 3.4 pounds. The MB has a three-way top and the same style of shoulder strap as the Cirrus. The bags are available in a wide range of colors.
Cost: Cirrus $209.99, Cirrus MB $179.99.
Buzz: This bag features a smooth-release strap system and an angled, collapsible base that eases transition to the ground without jamming the clubs’ grips together. The 4.8-pound bag has a five-way top with full-length dividers. The Dual-Density Comfort Strap promises convenience and stability. The bag has 11 pockets. The FlexTech family includes the Crossover, a 5.5-pounder with a 14-way top and 10 pockets, and the Lite, a 4.3-pounder with a four-way top and eight pockets. The bags are available in a wide range of colors.
Cost: FlexTech $209.99, FlexTech Crossover $229.99, FlexTech Lite $189.99
Sun Mountain Supercharged 4.5
Buzz: This bag includes a 7,800 mAh rechargeable, portable power pack capable of recharging a mobile phone three times. It has two USB ports, one standard and one rapid-charging, that allows the recharging of more than one device at a time. The bag itself is a 4.5 LS, which weighs 4.5 pounds. It has eight pockets, a four-way top, E-Z Fit Dual Strap System, a leg-lock system and a cart-friendly bottom.
Big Max Aqua Wave
Buzz: The brand, which is popular in Europe, has launched its Aqua series in the U.S. The Aqua Wave is a waterproof stand bag that provides a bit more room than a no-frills Sunday bag. It weighs a tad more than 4 pounds and has eight pockets, four full-length dividers with an 8.5-inch top, six pockets and air channel straps. The bags focus on waterproofing, using a Drop Stop system and custom Japanese zippers to keep things dry.