The Evolution of the Golf Bag
By Snyper on 8/30/10
By Matt Snyder, oobgolf Contributor

Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

Back in the day, a golf bag was a golf bag. They didn't vary much and about the only difference from one to another was the number of pockets. There was no such thing as a carry bag with multiple shoulder straps and a stand. People that chose to walk would always use caddies and the caddies had no trouble carrying a bag with one strap. Since they weren't hitting shots, they had no need for a stand. As the game of golf began to grow, the use of golf carts became more and more popular. Golf carts drove caddies to the brink of extinction in no time. However, there were still many golfers who preferred walking, but now, they had no caddie to carry their bag. So, for years, walkers were forced to carry bulky golf bags that were more of an obstacle than an aide to their game.
For years, walkers were forced to carry bulky golf bags that were more of an obstacle than an aide to their game.

Slowly, but surely, the golf industry picked up on this disconnect between golf bags and the players that use them. Since power carts dominated the scene, the major companies in the game were not too concerned about catering to the few players who still chose to walk. However, some of the smaller companies recognized the opportunity to make some money. This led to the first major development in the transformation of golf bags, which was the additional strap that could be added to any bag. The strap would use the existing connections for the single strap to attach a second strap. This second shoulder strap led to the book-bag like format of carrying that most all carry bags now use. Shortly after the additional shoulder strap was created as an accessory, a stand that could be attached to your bag was also developed. Similar to the way modern day push and pull carts attach to a golf bag, a two-legged stand was developed that could be put on and taken off of any bag very quickly and easily. Suddenly, with the purchase of these two accessories, a typical golf bag could be easily transformed into a walkers dream bag! I can remember, as a kid, being jealous of others who were fortunate enough to have both of these upgrades while I toted around my single strap bag that lay on the ground. In fact, not to date myself here, but I can remember how excited I was when I eventually talked my parents into purchasing both of these accessories for me.

Well, it didn’t take long for the major companies in golf to realize that they were missing out on available money. Soon, they began creating bags that came with dual shoulder straps and built-in stands. I can remember some of those first bags like it was yesterday. The stands were very flimsy and also quite bulky. The shoulder straps were also poorly designed and seemed to be less comfortable than the single strap at times. But, it wasn’t long before they began to get it right. Ping is the company that comes to mind as the first one to really make a quality carry bag. The Ping Hoofer was the envy of all walkers when they were first developed. The competition followed quickly as companies like Sun Mountain found ways to create lighter and sturdier carry bags. This evolution resulted in golf bags no longer being just golf bags. A golf bag must now be defined as a carry bag or a cart bag. And, today, all manufacturers offer bags in both categories.
Who's going to be the first company to lead the way in bags that are designed for pushcarts?

As we grow older, we get to see many neat changes in products, technology, etc. For me, being a huge fan of the game of golf, it has been enjoyable to watch the evolution of golf bags. I now own three different types of bags. I have a carry bag, a cart bag, and I also have a carry bag that I have adapted to fit by pushcart. This leads me to wonder, who’s going to be the first company to lead the way in bags that are designed for pushcarts? That I don’t know, but I do know that every time I walk, I am thankful for how much easier it is to carry my golf bag now compared to when I was a kid. It makes me feel a little bit like my grandfather when I say that, but it is true. Golf bags have come a long way to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the game. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next as the game continues to grow and to change.


* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

photo source


[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
I was a single strap hold-out for many years. It still seems slightly inconvenient to always need to approach the bag from the left. A single strap could always be picked up from either side depending on which should was going to be used. However, the market for single-strap carry/stand bags is very limited unless one wants to go to the expense of purchasing a separate strap. I reluctantly converted a decade ago.

The addition of the stand was genius. How I coped with laying the bag on the wet ground all those decades is a mystery.
8/30/10
 
mjaber says:
Sun Mountain already has a bag designed specifically for use with its Speed Cart. That's probably the direction of "push-cart" bags. The company that makes the cart will make a bag designed for that cart. The carts will still accomodate any bag, but the perfect situation will be for that bag and cart to go together.

I wonder if a company will ever develop a bag with a 2/3 wheel cart on it that is small enough to fit into the trunk of a car. Similar to the carry bags now that have the stand integrated.
8/30/10
 
mjaber says:
When I upgraded my bag, it came with the 2-strap configuration. I hated it. I actually down-graded the strap back to the single-strap that came with my original set. I don't know if it was that 2 strap, or my days as a paperboy, but the single strap was more comfortable to me.
8/30/10
 
Swingem says:
@mjaber - I also did not like the "backpack" 2 shoulder strap that came with my not-inexpensive carry bag, it was uncomfortable and seemed cheap compared to the bag itself. fortunately I have a two shoulder configuration that works great, its a well padded strap from an older carry bag with an accessory strap called "the loop" which attaches to the carry handle. This setup is very comfortable, easier to get in and out of, and very adjustable. I bought "the loop" about 20 years ago and don't kmow if it's still made.
8/30/10
 
mjaber says:
@Swingem... thanks for the option. I bought myself a Sun Mountain Speed Cart this year. Best money I ever spent on golf equipment. I guess you could say I'm a little lazy, but I'd rather be able to walk comfortably for 18 holes, than struggle to finish with the bag on my shoulder. I'm actually trying to get my uncle, who is just starting to play again, and has had multiple heart surgeries, to get one so that he can get out of the cart and walk. Carrying the bag would be too much for him, but walking 9 would probably do him good. I've told him to check with his doctor first, though.
8/30/10
 
Swingem says:
@mjaber - I'm with you, I bought a Clicgear cart earlier this year. I use a light weight cart bag on it and it's great. I checked my "loop" and it was made by Sun Mountain, but apparently no more. Too bad because its the best two shoulder carry option I've seen.
8/30/10
 
wantes says:
I use a great modern bag with 14 holes for the clubs. Great design, I thought. But when I play, normally with a pushcart, getting a club in after its usage is quite an acomplishment. They are designed to be used vertically, and in a pushcart the bag is leaning. I always thougth that there is a big market for bags designed for pushcarts, and today is an empty market. Great article.
8/30/10
 
bkuehn1952 says:
@wantes; there is pushcart designed to hold one's golf bag in the vertical position. It is called "Upright Caddy Racr". I have not used the product and can make no comment either positive or negative. Put the name into any search engine and you will find a retailer that sells it.
8/30/10
 
birdieXris says:
It's not that i didn't want to go to the two straps, but it was a money thing for me. I used bags until they wore out. Eventually when i got the money i got a new bag and with it came the dual strap. all dual straps aren't created equal. It took me two bags to get one i liked, which isn't awful compared to some. My girlfriend has the one i don't like hahaha. :)

Ogio Ozone FTW! I may go to the grom when this one wears out, but there will probably be a nicer one by then. They're built mad well.
8/30/10
 
JuKu says:
Better yet, integrate the cart and the bag. (Or design a cart that folds without removing the bag.)
8/31/10
 
Scott Shields says:
birdieXris ... I have a grom at the moment, and I love the thing. I'm going to get rid of it because I NEVER walk, but I can see how a walker would absoulutley love that bag ... its design is very smart. My only complaint is having to 'work' my umbrella into it. It's not a problem for the most part, but it takes a second or two.

I'm looking at the Titlest lightweight Cart Bag ... it looks like its made by Sun Mountaint ... or the Ogio Sultan ... anyone with any experience with these bags?
8/31/10
 
Dixon Golf says:
We've created a prototype golf bag that is made from 100% recycled water bottles. It weighs less than five pounds and has a shoulder strap and a stand.
9/1/10
 
jev says:
What is wrong with the currently available cart bags for use on a push trolley? I use a Bennington QO10 on a pushcart and it works like a charm. Or look at the Copenhagen CPH Executive cart bag, very good bag for use on a push trolley!
9/1/10
 
mjaber says:
@jev... There's nothing wrong with them. I use a stand bag on my push-cart now and it works great. That doesn't mean there can't be improvements.
9/1/10
 
cph2133 says:
Ping Hoofer 2 with the dual strap is where it's at.

As a former caddy, trying to double bag it with 2 bags that have the built in 2-strap made to carry on the right shoulder is a pain the behind.

I'll never switch from my Ping Hoofer until that bad boy rips or something. Light, ample storage, and the straps are the best.
9/3/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
Speaking of golf bags.
We were taking my mom to dinner at a golf club where she liked to dine occasionally.
She was getting a bit old and her knees were getting bad so we planned to drop her by the door.
As we approached the sidewalk she smiled and said, "Oh, stop right here. Looks like they're expecting me."
She got out and leaned on the "Bag Drop" sign.

Wacky ol' bat.
9/3/10
 
birdieXris says:
Yea well, i spoke too soon. The spine of my Ozone broke when a guy tightened the cart strap too much (apparently) over the last week. I ended up picking up a Grom from Martin's Superstore. I really like it. Like REALLY. Oh well. 2 years with the Ozone is pretty good considering the abuse i gave it. :)
9/7/10
 
cwsattler says:
A buddy of mine saw this thread and told me about The LOOP conversation. I invented the product and licensed it to Sun Mountain in 1993. My idea was based on the fact that golf is not a 5 mile hike with a backpack. The bag goes on and comes off all the time. So, the best solution was a "supplemental" strap that would allow the golfer to still carry with a single strap, well balanced and also put on a second strap when needed. Interestingly, I came up with this idea about the same time the IZZO strap came out - but, I didn't know about IZZO until I filed my patent. And when I saw it, I thought my idea was better. Unfortunately, I didn't come up with all the variations a dual strap could take and now all premium carry bags have integrated dual straps.
12/13/10
 
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