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The great bag debate, Part 3: Stand or no stand

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Welcome to the third and final installment of the great bag debate: stand or no stand.

We kicked off the series with top divider systems, and it became an interesting topic to follow since every golfer has his/her own preference for organizing clubs and the accessories.

As far as divider systems go, the market is littered with options—from minimalist all the way up to a full 14. We narrowed it down to the most popular four and the poll results can be found below.

This led me down a path into the culture surrounding carry bags and what people are really looking for when they carry their clubs. In a way, it’s kind of like shopping for a car: you pick the style you are looking for, analyze the available brands, price points, and options, test for fit, comfort, and cargo area, then scrutinize the details of every button, clasp, and handle until to choose your winner.

Just like with picking a set of new clubs, you should take the time to make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

Part two: Single or double-strap?

The subject of straps is easier to tackle because there are only two options: one strap or two, and the bags they are attached to often mirror their approach with single straps more akin to being minimal, and dual straps for larger designs—although there are plenty of smaller bags with a dual strap option too.

You may assume the easy way to settle this would be to purchase a dual strap bag and only use the one strap but just like Channing Tatum in “21 Jump Street,” “two strapping” isn’t for everyone.

Some companies do offer both strap options interchangeably on the same bag, and they are some of the most popular designs. So, if you are on the fence keep an eye out for those next time you are shopping for a bag.

I remain a neutral party since I walk with both a dual strap and single strap bags depending on the day, but GolfWRXers certainly had their voices heard and dual strap won in a landslide 3-1 vote.

After dividers and straps, there is only one more place to go when it comes to figuring out what you want in a bag and that is the stand.

Part 3: Stand or no stand

This could be the most polarizing of the three debates, especially considering the growing popularity of golfer playing less than 14 clubs (long live the half set). Using fewer clubs doesn’t automatically mean you shouldn’t use a stand bag, but considering one of the main goals is to reduce weight when carrying, the stand is usually the first thing to go.

Now, if weight management and a stand are still a priority, there are very lightweight stand bags already available under three pounds—and more to come—like the Ping Craz-E-Lite (below). But for those seeking the most minimalistic option, a stand is still something many won’t even consider.

On the other hand, the biggest pro-stand argument is from those who play early mornings when dew is at its peak: having a stand can be a necessity to assist keeping clubs dry and off the ground. The counterpoint is many of today’s modern stand-less bags are fully waterproof or have a waterproof belly to keep grips and anything else in the bag nice and dry regardless of the ground conditions.

Just like with the previous single vs. dual strap debate, I am lucky to own both styles and use them equally depending on where, when, and how I plan on playing. To me, fewer clubs late in the day means I’ll be going stand-less to minimize weight, while early morning for a more competitive round I prefer a stand to keep things off the ground and carry a few extra pieces of gear just in case.

Whatever side of the debate you “stand” on, we want to hear from you!

Stand or no stand?

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Looey

    May 7, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Sun mountain 2.5 is almost perfect. Plenty of room. Plenty of pockets. And as long as you don’t fill up the pockets, the bag is very light. It has a double strap which in my opinion should be more easily convertible to a single strap.
    However, the original Joannes bag with just three pockets and adequate room for a full or almost full set is perfect even though it has no stand. The single strap is well padded and can easily be carried for nine or 18 holes. Score is a 10 on the coolness scale!

  2. 15th Club

    May 6, 2020 at 11:16 pm

    I can understand some North American golfers’ failure to understand why a carry bag would not have a built-in stand.

    They have never played in Scotland when the wind is really up.

    My last trip to Scotland; my old Ogio Reilly got blown over in heavy East Lothian wind and both legs were broken. It’s not s stand bag anymore.

  3. ChipNRun

    May 6, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    In the pre-stand days, I used to hate:
    * Laying bag down on ground on muddy days.
    * Seeing trace fertilizer on my bag and golf shirt after a round on spreading day.
    * Picking the bag up and down 10 times to switch clubs when hitting a bucket of range balls.

    These days, I’m more likely to carry my bag on a par 3 course or a gently rolling nine-hole layout because I have stand bag. With the stand bag, raising and lowering onto shoulders takes half the energy as picking a bag up off the ground.

    Yes, I like stand bags.

  4. Fergie

    May 6, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    My problem with stand bags is that they tend to have smaller diameters. I use +1/8 oversize grips and like 14 way dividers, so I’ve never found a stand bag that allows me to pull a club without it getting stuck. I also use a trolly, and the hinge that holds the stand legs gets in the way of securing the bag at the top.

    • ChipNRun

      May 6, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      Understand your point. My brother has jumbo grips on his clubs. He is searching for ANY carry bag that will allow the thicker grips to go in and out of the bat without hanging up.

  5. Greg V

    May 6, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    The Sun Moutain 3.5 Plus is a lovely, light walking stand bag. I use that most often, but I also mix it up with a Ping Moonlite.

  6. Pelling

    May 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Single strap, single divider. No stand. Jones makes a great bag. MacKenzie, too, if you have money to blow. Have a great Mizuno Sunday bag, Ping are great, Titleist, too. Try walking, take 7-8 clubs. Get some exercise. Bending over is working the core.

  7. BadaBing

    May 6, 2020 at 11:46 am

    I’m not a golfer, I’m an athlete. Bending to pick up my bag doesn’t bother me, carrying a stand bag doesn’t bother me. I prefer one strap bag with no stand. My moon-lite keeps the grips dry and allows me to add or remove a strap.

  8. rob

    May 6, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Walking without a stand bag is nuts. i dont care how light the standless bag is, the additional weight of a stand is easily offset by not having to bend all the way to the ground after every shot.

    Stand bag all the way if you are walking

    • stanley

      May 6, 2020 at 11:14 am

      yea i agree with this guy

    • Jarlaxle

      May 6, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      If that were the case, wouldn’t you expect to see stands on the bags carried on Tour? I mean, a stand would be even less of a weight factor since those bags are already so heavy. And because they are so heavy, not having to lift them off the ground would be an even bigger advantage.

      • rfo

        May 6, 2020 at 12:22 pm

        Its a completely different story when you aren’t the one thats carrying the bag.

      • ChipNRun

        May 7, 2020 at 12:41 am

        I worked as a course marshal at the 2013 PGA Senior Championship at Bellerive CC in St. Louis, won by Koki Idiki of Japan. At least half the players had medium-weight stand bags, not huge staff bags.

        In 2017, I caddied in the Decatur/Forsyth (IL) tournament on the LPGA developmental Symetra Tour. In this event, well over half the women had lighter carry stand bags. (In some events, they may end up without a caddie).

        My player had a lightweight Ping stand bag. Problem was, she traveled so light that the bag’s stand legs wouldn’t deploy unless I pressed down on the bag to engage the base plate. My own bag deploys easily because it’s 10 pounds (?) heavier.

  9. Nick

    May 6, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Love my PING Moonlite, I can see myself gaming this model for years to come. I like the Jones Carry Bag look too though so either would do it for me. Plus they fit on carts (walking and riding) just fine. Lastly with a 12 club set up, minimal tangle among grips, I am with Jordan, less is more!

  10. SV

    May 6, 2020 at 9:53 am

    At this point in my life I can no longer carry. Prior to this my body told me that 2 straps and a stand are the way to go. Spread the weight and don’t bend over so much.

  11. Tee Lassar

    May 6, 2020 at 9:42 am

    I voted for stand overall but I am fortunate enough to have both options stand and no stand. No question stand bags are the favorite for early morning dew-sweeping rounds or rain days. Weight is not the issue as there are several stand bags under 3 lbs .
    Best of both worlds: Beeyootiful Mackenzie single strap bag with no stand—acccesorized with a simple inexpensive “x” shaped lightweight wood “trestle” for those times when a stand is needed. Simply the best

    • Jarlaxle

      May 6, 2020 at 12:14 pm

      Agree, think the author missed the mark by ignoring trestle sticks. Best of both worlds IMO. Toss them in the bag if its wet or leave them at home if its dry.

      I would also argue that, in general, non-stand bags tend to be made of more durable materials that will hold up better over time because they aren’t trying to save every little gram of weight. I looked long and hard at the Craz-E and the Mizuno K1-LO but what put me off was the fact that they were so lightly built it seemed highly unlikely to me that they would still be in good shape after a few years. There are better built bags that could last a long time (like a Ping Hoofer light for example) but they are 5 lbs or more.

      I am making the switch because I like to carry and I want bag that will get better with age, not deteriorate.

  12. Funkaholic

    May 6, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Here in north Georgia, it is too hilly to walk, cart bag is a must and 14 way divider is the only way to go. I rarely ever tote my whole bag to the range unless I drive it there before a round. I just grab a couple of irons when I am working on fundamentals and spend the majority of my practice time chipping and putting.

  13. Eric

    May 6, 2020 at 9:27 am

    I love the look of the sunday/no stand bag- particularly the jones player series. Just have a hard time telling my back we’ll be walking 18 holes and bending over between 75-85 times!

  14. golfraven

    May 6, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Tried pencil bag but just did not work for me so ditched it (can’t be bothered that my clubs get soaked) and got a traditional standbag (stadry) – 5-6 dividers. Otherwise I have a smaller staff bag which I use with a pushcart.

    • tee l

      May 6, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Can’t imagine why you would need a staff bag unless you are on a staff or on tour. Why not just drive an SUV onto the course if you need that big a bag!

  15. Jordan

    May 6, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Less is more. 14 divider stand bags are nuts. There is a simple beauty to the Jones carry bags. I’m slowly beginning to use my Hoofer only to go the range and my Jones bag is my playing bag.

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Equipment

2021 Callaway Epic Speed Launch Day Report: Everything you need to know about the new equipment from Callaway

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It’s the official launch day of the all-new Callaway Epic Speed line of metal woods, which includes both driver and fairway wood models—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic LS. To summarize the newest releases, Callaway engineers are taking their artificial intelligence as far as they ever have by using it to optimize both the face and body of the driver to deliver forgiveness and distance increasing ball speed across the face like never before.

If are looking for in-depth information, on the ins and outs of the new designs and the technology that makes them possible, check out our full launch pieces below.

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown lighter with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.

Perspectives from the GolfWRX forums

  • bcflyguy1 – I’ve also found the Max head to be excellent when lofted down and weight pushed to the toe; becomes surprisingly neutral when configured as such. Obviously can see where many will prefer the more muted sound/feel and compact footprint of the Speed head or may need the greater fade bias from the Max LS and its Trip Diamond-ish shaping. However, the Max offers a VERY rare combination of tons or horsepower but with sufficient traction control to keep even me from figuratively wrapping it around a light pole.
  • noodle3873 – Just got back from hitting balls. My local Pro was breaking in his Epic LS 9° against his Mavrik SZ TD 9°. Both heads were built/hotmelted to the same weight. He was using GC Quad and brand new Srixon range balls (not ideal but numbers are like for like). On average he was getting more launch, more ball speed and a couple more yards out of the LS.
  • mtp –  I hit the whole lineup today. Not a fitting.  Just trying them out. Was using the HZRDUS Smoke Green. LS was best for me. Prefer the shape, sound and feel over my current Sim Max.
  • zeke66 – This thing is a beast. Hit it with a Paderson ballistic tp. I was swinging awful with all 3 drivers I was hitting including gamer, and wouldn’t leave the hitting bay until I started hitting it better. So I grabbed the Max Ls 9.0 and worked through it. Average ball speed was around 177 low 120’s with spin around 2100-2200, launch 12-15. When you catch one on the screws… it goes as good as anything I think.

More from the GolfWRX forums

GolfWRX’s resident equipment tester, Brian Knudson of the Club Junkie podcast, had this to say

Epic Max driver: A lot of draw bias, but easy to launch high and takes some right side out even with a neutral weight. Sound and feel are improved over Mavrik, much more muted and solid feeling. Center strikes are hot, and even misses carry some good ball speed.

Epic Speed driver: The best looking of the Epic drivers. Offers the most penetrating flight. Seems to be pretty low spin and easy to work the ball in either direction. Misses don’t stay online as well with more curvature. It is long and going to be a really good option for skilled players.

Epic Max LS driver: Very forgiving and offering a straighter flight than Max. Slightly lower trajectory as well. Toe misses hold their line better than the other two. Shots low on the face don’t get up as high as expected but still carry. Misses off-center still have good carry distance

Here’s what the biggest YouTube testers and reviews have to say on the newest Callaway Apex line

And on Instagram

 

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Best utility iron of 2021 – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 2021 utility irons. WRXer ‘Krod10359’ kicks off the thread, saying:

“Just want to know your opinion on what new utility iron you have hit this year. Looks like a lot of solid offerings out right now from Ping, Srixon and Callaway. Let me hear what you have to say about these clubs.”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

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

  • hypergolf: “This…(photo above)”
  • TigerInTheWoods: “Sim Udi is a beauty. Launches a bit higher and is a bit more forgiving than the P790 UDI which was really the benchmark for this kind of club.”
  • craz-e: “Hard to go past the Srixon for performance and value. The current offerings from Titleist (u500 & u501) and Mizuno (HMB) are also great options and worth trying.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “The new Callaway one is pretty good.”

Entire Thread: “Best utility iron of 2021”

Not yet a GolfWRX member? Sign up for FREE here.

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2021 Callaway Epic driver: Epic Speed, Epic Max & Epic LS drivers

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Callaway Golf introduces new Epic driver lineup for 2021—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers—giving us the best of everything.

When it comes to a hot face, Callaway Golf has been at the top of the heap since its introduction of Jailbreak Technology back in 2017. In simplest terms, Jailbreak allowed Callaway to vertically stiffen the face, which allows the face to absorb a ton of energy and release it right back into the golf ball.

When Epic hit the market, it was instantly the driver of that year due to its ball speeds and forgiveness across the face, but most importantly for Callaway, it gave the company a strong foundation to build from for models to come.

In 2020, with the help of artificial intelligence, Callaway engineers were able push that idea a bit further with the successful Mavrik line. This time, artificial intelligence took Jailbreak and found ways to make it even more efficient with the addition of the Flash Face.

Now, in 2021, using every piece of tech at its disposal, Callaway officially launches the new 2021 Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers.

The new AI-designed, carbon-loaded, MOI machines are the culmination of now four iterations of Jailbreak technology, and in my opinion, Callaway has its fastest but more importantly—most golf-course friendly—driver ever.

Let’s dive in…

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed Driver, Cyclone Aero Shaping

In addition, the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and the new look Jailbreak Speed Frame create stiffness not only vertically across the face but east and west as well. The result? Speed, stability, and a ton of forgiveness.

The new 2021 Callaway driver, face on

“Spin robustness” is another key term in the 2021 Callaway campaign. What this means for us is giving players spin where we need it (i.e. off the heel spin stays down, off the toe spin stays up, out of the middle the ball goes forever).

Another key aspect to notice across the line is the enhanced composite crown. The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver has a triaxial carbon crown that covers even more real estate allowing Callaway to redistribute 16 grams of discretionary weight. The larger carbon surface area also innately created a way for Callaway R&D to make the Epic Speed a bit more draw friendly without having to add external weight to the heel.

Callaway Epic Speed driver, address

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

Sole view of the new Callaway Epic Max driver

Yes, the new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Sliding weight

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Address

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Incorporating the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and Jailbreak technology, Callaway has created a new more forgiving profile in a players driver.

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.
Like Epic Max, LS also has a sliding weight to tune in adjustability.
Inspired by the Triple Diamond tour heads of the past, Callaway decided to go away from cranking spin down to oblivion and offer a driver that was actually closer to what the tour leans towards. Yes, they love a low spin head, but not too low spin. The Triple Diamond heads were basically a Sub Zero shape in a higher MOI profile. If you go through our tour photos, you will see more Triple Diamonds than anything. Obliterating launch and spin sounds good for Trackman, but it’s hard to play that way on the golf course all the time.

Initial Tour Reaction

I had a chance to chat with  Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager Jacob Davidson on the early response and this is what he had to say.

JW: In early testing, what is the first thing players are seeing with Speed and LS?

JD: Early feedback from the tour guys has been a noticeable difference in an increase in ball speed across the face but more importantly the dispersion has tightened down range. Many guys have also quickly fallen in love with the sound of the new metal woods.

JW: What most excited you with the new line?

JD: We knew early on with this product launch that we had an exceptional driver. To start- the look of the heads and the shaping allows the clubs to sit beautifully at the address position. From there the overall feel and sound matches exactly what tour guys prefer. The guys we have worked with have converted into the new woods extremely quickly with very positive feedback. For us, we are excited to have some great starting lines, a competitive ball speed advantage, and an increase in forgiveness.

We are constantly studying what makes world class drivers of the golf ball world class. After much research, we determined the ideal spin/ degree of launch and worked closely with our R&D team to reach these numbers. We were absolutely amazed to see what they came back to us with. Using AI they were able to figure out how to increase the MOI in this line of drivers while also focusing on more ball speed. It truly is remarkable the new frontier of technology we are using in our drivers to help our players play their best golf.

Overall Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Epic Flash (acoustics), and Mavrik was solid but didn’t blow me away. This new 2021 Callaway Epic line of drivers is exactly what players want: a golf club that is playable all while providing the distance and performance we have gotten used to over the past few years. It’s a new trend in the market that I’m loving. Drivers are becoming golf course friendly again. We tried to kill spin—when ultimately it was our best friend in the long run.

Specs

At Retail: 2/18

Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees (Epic Speed) 9, 10.5 degrees(Epic Max & Epic Max LS)

Price: $529.99

Stock Shaft Offerings

  • Epic Speed Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g – S)
  • Epic MAX Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g -S)
  • Epic MAX LS: Mitsubishi MMT (60g – S,X. 70g – S,X)
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