Monday, June 25, 2007

Ooh! Fancybags!

The Dior Golf Bag in all it's glory

Manufacturers and advertisers are in the business of making us buy things - and they use many techniques to get the average person to relent and purchase. One of these is the fake-tech factor, i.e. making something mundane seem mega exciting and revolutionary. I mention this because I recently realised I needed a new golf bag. Partly because the handle on my trusty white and red Slazenger bag gave way during a recent round (almost spilling my clubs on the fairway*), and partly because I was watching a 1987 rerun of Bullseye on FTN and one of the rewards behind Bully's Prize Board (I think it was iiiiiiiiin five) was a set of golf clubs in a familiar-looking white and red bag. Given that one of the other prizes was a Sega Master System, I think my bag had passed cutting-edge status many years ago.

So time for a change then, and as with every other shopping decision I make (bar shuffling around Waitrose looking for the cheap stuff), it was time to go online and see what was new in the world of golf bag technology. Firstly, I seemed to be old-fashioned in the view that they are just a place to chuck your clubs and lug them from one poor shot to another. These days they are precision engineered pieces of sporting equipment, designed to give you that edge over the elements and the competition. The possibilities are endless - combinations of pockets, straps, dividers, whether you want a stand bag or a cart bag, single support or double support, which manufacturer you want to go with, and of course the all important factor - the colour. Not so many white and red designs out there at the moment, and Slazenger don't seem to do bags anymore (maybe the humiliation of being a Bullseye prize got to them).

The Lynx Parallax bag gives itself away immediately, with "...Thermoformed handles for manoeuvrability, particularly when getting the Lynx Parallax in and out of the car." (a touch on the heavy side?) - but it does have an internal pencil holder. Also in the Lynx range is the Prowler, which sports an "Exterior thermoformed plastic tee peg holder and unique golf ball holder." - so pencil on the inside, or tee peg on the outside? It's the perennial golfer's dilemma. The official Lynx website describes it as having a "fur-lined valuables pouch". Seeing as the European Lynx is almost extinct, I was pleased to find out later that the 'fur' is actually velour, as used to make the uniforms from Star Trek (I looked that up - I may be blogging about golf accessories, but I'm not that sad).

At the top end of the range (one for the golf pun enthusiasts there), you have the stunning Christian Dior argyle golf bag (pictured above), desribed on the website I saw as "...the perfect addition to any chic-going golfing gal." A snip, at US $1,679. You'd have to be one seriously brave golfer to take that out to the municipal courses of East Lothian, I can tell you, gal or no gal. Other fashion designers have created similar models, and there are a few all-leather bags out there (100% American Steer, apparently) - but as the authentic manufacturer's products can slip into the three-figure price range, you can get a 'luxury' bag from a bona fide golfing make. The Ping T9.5, for example, as used by "golfers who want to leave little doubt as to their brand allegiance" (i.e. PING is written in enormous writing on the side of it).

Cupholders sell cars, and they also sell golf bags. The brilliantly named Ping Hoofer Vantage has an "...insulated pocket that keeps water and other refreshments cool during a round." (as well as a 'durable velour soft cover to help prevent shaft scratches'). I wonder what they can mean by 'other refreshments'? A quick glance in the tee-side bins at our usual golf course answers that question - and bags such as the Cold Fury II cater for that type of golfer - it has "...two detachable 6-pack cooler pockets". Highly tempting - but then so is the "Custom logo bottom ball pocket [zip-off]" on the Callaway X-Series, and the mobile phone charging ability of the Soldius Solar Powered Golf Bag.

In the end, it came down to one of two choices. The TaylorMade Mag F1 Bag comes with "...840 Denier Ballistic Nylon with polyurethane carbon fiber accents, a 14 way spoke and rim club organizer, a racing harness strap system with TaylorMade metal medallion, 14 way spoke and rim club organizer, and louver expansion pocket with Neoprene gussets. The Mag F1 also comes with TaylorMade silicone logo’d pocket pull tabs, TaylorMade sonic weld logo applications, and "T" Icon wire mesh logo applique." Hmmm. Choice B was the aformentioned Lynx Prowler - and not just because it "...provides many benefits to the gofler who likes to carry their golf clubs, but in comfort." Also not because of the 'carabineer towel ring', or the 'padded dual shoulder strap system'. No, let's face it - I'm a sucker for velour (but who isn't?). So it had to be the Lynx Prowler...

*I was walking over the fairway from one patch of rough to another.