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Bagging the right bag

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By Shane Downey

GolfWRX Contributor

Every year the major OEMs usually come out with new staff bags and a couple even make special release bags just for the majors.  I have to be honest, the bags that coincide with the Masters are, in my opinion, the best.  It could be due to the fact that I have lived in Augusta and walked the pristine fairways in April, there is truly something special about living there leading up to the Masters. Another reason could be due to the fact my son was born in Augusta. The first time he was at Augusta National, he was still in the womb.  I have such fond memories of the place I once called home. With these memories in mind, either way, the Master release staff bags are a personal favorite.

While the majority of the GolfWRX community, including myself, are admitted club and shaft aficionados, it would be extremely difficult to tote these weapons of madness around without the benefit of our bags. I must admit that I have a bag addiction. At least I have taken the first step in admitting it (only eleven more to go)!

The golf bag has been around as long as the game itself.  During this time they mainly consisted of a leather or canvas bag with a leather strap and quite possibly a pocket or two.  They have evolved with time and technology into three main categories; cart bags, stand bags and staff bags.  All three come in a variety of sizes, colors and configurations.

The cart bag is just that, a bag that is designed to either fit on a golf (or pull) cart and yet possesses all the advantages of the larger staff bags. Pockets are plentiful for a variety of necessities you may need while enjoying your round. Sun Mountain and Ogio are two brands that quickly come to mind when mentioning cart bags. Although they have usually one strap, they come in a myriad of colors, styles, and construction materials. So if you are one that consistently uses a cart of some sort, then definitely look into getting a cart bag.

A bit before my time when caddies were the norm, they carried the bag dutifully following the player no matter wherever he may have hit his ball. Caddies soon lost out to electric carts, which is a shame. Quite a few golfers still enjoyed walking and carrying their own bags, which created a niche for bags that eventually evolved into the stand bag. The stand bag is usually a very lightweight bag that when set down and pushed forward, two legs are propelled out to create a tripod of sorts.  Most also have dual shoulder straps such that the weight can be distributed evenly on both shoulders, much like a backpack.  Most major OEM’s make dual strap stands bags, which are adjustable to your height with regard to the shoulder straps.  These also come in many sizes, types and colors. If you abhor the idea of any type of cart, the stand bag is perfect for you.

The last major type of bag, and my personal favorite, is the staff bag.  The staff bag is a large, multi-pocketed, usually logoed bag that you see inside the ropes on the PGA Tour.  I have owned many staff bags in the short twelve years of playing this game and seem to never tire of having one.  They are usually 9.5 – 10.5 inches wide and have five or six large pockets.  The staff bag can carry just about everything you may or may not need while playing your round.  I have personally put two-dozen balls, six gloves, laser range finder, a complete rain suit, an extra pair of shoes, tees, Band-Aids, Motrin, sunscreen and snacks into one staff bag.  This may seem like overkill, but I love the staff bag for this purpose.

There are quite a few individuals who play “tour equipment” on the forum, from drivers to irons with x-flex shafts and “tour only” shafts and heads that I could only dream of hitting.  However, with my slow swing speed, a tour staff bag is about as close as I will ever get to use tour equipment.

Click here for more discussion in the forums.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Dustin

    Mar 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I currently use the 2008 Callaway Masters bag…and it is Beautiufl!

  2. Bill

    Feb 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Get the midsize Tour Bag, they are more practical and still look nice.

  3. Angel

    Feb 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I really want one, but for some reason i think they are way too bulky for a riding cart. I like to ride, and i’m not sure my partner will appreciate his bag mashed into the back of the cart. Any opinions?

  4. Rj

    Feb 13, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Love a staff bag… New seem to not have what you need when you need it. Ahhhhh pockets galore!

  5. 1mizunofan

    Feb 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I have to admit, I’ve been a tour bag junkie for more than 30 years! The first ever staff bag I bought was the old Wison Staff bag(red & white) from the 80s. Just watch the 86 Masters with Tom Kite, I have that same bag. It’s now retired & sitting in my basement(don’t really know what to do with it). I also have the old Macgregor staff bag like Nicklaus had when he won the 86 Masters. That bag is doing the exact same thing as my Wilson bag.
    Now I used to feel silly carrying around these big bags in my hay day, but I’ve always liked them. I finally switched to stand bags but never really warned up to them. So with “my addiction” I switched back to a staff bag in 08 with the purchased of a Mizuno staff bag, which is still my current bag. I don’t carry anymore but use my Clicgear cart or power cart.
    You cant knock the space or ease of getting your clubs in & out of your bag.
    Like Shane has mentioned this is as close you will get to “pro equipment”. 30 years ago it was much harder to get your hands on what the pro play. Now in every pro sports genre that has become a big market. “Play what &’wear what the Pros play”. How many times have you heard that sales pitch? Obviously it works!

  6. Greg

    Feb 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    O so with you! Srixon staff bag. Love it. Keep it my office as conversation starter when not playing.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Swag Golf proto putter

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Product: Swag Golf proto putter

Pitch: From Swag “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do. ”

Our Take on the Swag Golf Proto putter

Though relatively new, Swag Golf has been making a big splash in the industry for their high-end and striking headcovers and accessories. Perhaps less talked about when it comes to the company is their putters – something which I feel is likely to change after testing out their prototype rainbow finish flat-stick.

The putter is beautiful from whatever angle you look at – but especially at address. Extremely smooth lines, and with full-shaft offset, the blade’s shoulders and bumpers are flawlessly balanced to frame the ball and let the putter sit perfectly square. The single line alignment aid enhances the look and is positioned right in the center of the blade’s sweet spot, while the CNC milled flat-stick delivers perfectly smooth edges – noticeably on the neck for a sublime and soft profile.

With a head weight of 354g, the putter from Swag feels exceptional in your hands over the ball. Every detail matters when investing in a premium putter, and the sensation of the stable and firm feel of the flat-stick as well as there being no wavering of the head, makes the putter feel like an extension of your body when standing over a putt.

The sound and feel of the putter is an area where Swag has knocked it out of the park. With a fly milled face from 303 Stainless Steel, the flat-stick delivers an incredibly soft feel at impact.

No vibration is felt on impact, even on long-distance putts. It never feels like your hitting the ball but more caressing it, which is a pleasant sensation when putting from downtown. What you get in terms of sound at impact is a low, deep pitched note from a putter which rolls beautifully on its axis and produces no vibration on slight mis-hits.

To nitpick, the company’s “black mid pistol tackified kangaroo leather grip” took some getting used to. Initially, it took a little away from how impressive the flat-stick feels in your hands, but it gradually becomes more comfortable.

Overall performance-wise though, the putter from Swag provides everything you could hope for from a high-end putter. Exceptional feel at address, painfully attractive profile and precision at impact.

As of now, the company boasts self-confessed “putting nerd” Kevin Streelman as their PGA Tour ambassador. Streelman is currently gaming the brand’s Handsome Too proto, and after experiencing the Swag rainbow proto for myself, the highest compliment I can give is that I would be surprised if he (and PGA Tour newcomer Rhein Gibson) are still the only Tour pros to game one of the brand’s flat-sticks in 12 to 24 months time.

In terms of an Anser-style putter, Swag packs a hefty punch with their numerous offerings. While I personally love the eye-catching rainbow finish (which has been blasted to remove some of the boldness), I realize it’s not for everyone. However, the company has plenty more traditional finishes on their array of flat-sticks, which you can find on their website here.

Whatever finish you prefer your putters to come in though, it’s unlikely that any department of Swag’s flat-sticks will leave you disappointed.

 

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Equipment

New Mitsubishi Chemical ZF shaft in play at the Tour Championship

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Even after winning just a week ago, Justin Thomas has put a new MCA Diamana ZF-Series shaft into play for the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup Final this week at East Lake Golf Club. JT is using the 60g TX version in his 9.5-degree Titleist TS2 driver (see Thomas’ BMW Championship-winning WITB here).

MCA has confirmed the new shaft and given us some great information on why it is are adding this fourth profile to the Diamana line—something the company has never done before.

The new Diamana ZF has taken the easy loading bend profile from the BF-Series and tweaked it in certain spots along the length to further maximize the design and find greater performance for players across swing speed ranges.

“The result is a profile that makes ZF a little more explosive and easier to accelerate.” -Mark Gunther, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for MCA GOLF.

Like the other shafts in the Diamana Fourth Gen. Series, the Diamana ZF shafts owe their stiffness and stability to two unique technologies. First: the MCA-developed MR70 carbon fiber material, and the second: Boron fiber. MR70 is found in both the butt and tip sections of the shaft and is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials, with a 10 percent greater modulus (a measure of stiffness). These designs have additional strength thanks to Boron fiber in the tip section to create the exact EI curve desired.

When you compare the new ZF to Diamana BF-Series, the ZF-Series shafts are a slightly stronger profile and built to have increased stability in both the butt and tip sections. They feature a softer, more active middle for better energy transfer and clubhead acceleration.

A cool feature for those looking to get a bit more distance but are on the lower end of the swing speed spectrum: There will also be a 40-gram version of the ZF, which is the lightest shaft of the fourth generation Diamana family.

“We’re extremely happy to have a 40g option within Diamana™ ZF,” says Gunther. “This opens the performance benefits of these unique Mitsubishi Chemical materials to a whole new range of players who prefer to play an ultra-lightweight shaft.”

Mitsubishi Diamana ZF-Series Availability and Specs

Diamana ZF-Series will be available September, 13 2019 at MCA GOLF authorized retailers and dealers nationwide, with a suggested retail price of $400.

Weights and flexes

  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 40 (R2, R, S Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 50 (R, S, TX Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 60 (S, TX Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 70 (S, TX Flex)
  • DIAMANA ZF-Series 80 (S, TX Flex)
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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Are 919 forged irons really that good?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from 9ironiscash who asked fellow members what they thought about Mizuno’s 919 forged ironsOur members dish out their experiences gaming the irons, with the majority of WRXers answering with a resounding yes to 9ironiscash’s original question.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire thread and have your say at the link below.

  • Gmack1973: “I think the 919 forged are great irons. I play to a handicap of 4 and think I’m not a bad ball striker. I had the tours 6-pw, and they were great but a bit unforgiving if you don’t get them out the middle. I now have 919 forged 4 – PW and couldnt be happier. They have the Nippon Modus 120 stiff shafts.”
  • Gofguy224: “They are great irons! Had them for about a month and I’ve already shot 3 of my lowest scores ever! Very forgiving and they feel buttery soft
  • chjyner: “The whole 919 range is probably the best on the market “
  • PowerCobra98: “I like them. Moved from Apex 19’s into 919 Forged. I’ll likely be looking at a set of MP20 HMB’s though.”

Entire Thread: “Are 919 forged irons really that good?”

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