The Local Knowlege

Style

A carry bag that will make a statement, if not much of a dent, in the golf market

style-blog-varsity-clothes.jpgBy Alex Holmes

A.P.C., the designer clothing label and Parisian purveyor of minimalist design, teamed up with all-American backpacker, Eastpak, to launch a backpack collaboration as well as a trendier take on the traditional golf bag.

"Golf just has this terrible reputation -- boring grown-ups, beige pants with pleats," Jean Touitou, A.P.C's founder lamented. "But at its simplest, it's supposed to be elegant. The swing is just so elegant."

The effort resulted in a retro-looking, leather golf bag that retails for $700. The undoubtedly well-crafted bag reads more like a piece of luggage than a golf bag. I just don't see real players with carry bags like this. A contemporary bag feels more like a pared-down, solid, Sunday bag in black or navy, not this hard case in classic Louis Vuitton shades.

Who knows how many bags they'll actually produce and whether this was just a small, lifestyle addition to a capsule collection. The truth is, like many offerings from the "designer" market, this golf bag may be more of a statement than a commercial product, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. What is clear is that Touitou loves golf and is interested in pushing the envelope on the game's current style stance.

style-blog-apc-bag.jpgDiscussing the launch of the collaboration Touitou added,"And I don't wear all those golf clothes. It's not like skiing or scuba diving, you don't have to be so specific. Cashmere sweater, a woven and, even though you're not supposed to wear jeans in many clubs, I trick them by wearing my dark, dark jeans. I want to look on the course as I would in my life." So, while the golf bag may be a symbol, Touitou's style commentary is something you can actually take to the course.

Golf clothes can just be clothes. Sure, playing golf in Nevada in August may require some sort of sweat-proof, chemically-engineered fabrics, but as we approach the fall this may be the time to leave the performance sleeve separates at home and rotate your favorite sweater back into the game. Merino wool and cashmere sweaters will keep you warm and dry on the course and won't look out of place after the round. Corduroys are a fall staple so, why not work them into your links-wear. Check out a few Fall '13 pieces from A.P.C that will look sharp wherever you decide to wear them. Everything available at usonline.apc.fr/products/men.  

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Gear & Equipment

Golf bags: Belding introduces American Collection

By John Strege

Belding.jpg

Belding, a name associated with high quality golf bags, made in America, for upwards of 40 years, has paid homage to the history of the company and the game with its introduction of the American Collection.

"What we did was, my partner and I got involved in Belding in February and we wanted to exploit the made-in-America platform," Belding managing director Dan Keogh said. "It has been one continuous made-in-America story for over 60 years [including the company's roots in leather business cases].

"The American Collection is trying to integrate Americana and the look and feel of Americana to golf."

Shown here is the Pencil bag ($499), designed to conjure images of a bygone era, "a real throwback," Keogh said, mentioning Francis Ouimet, the U.S. Open champion in 1913. "That's the kind of item used back in those days."

The Pencil bag was made for the walking golfer and features a throwback seven-inch shearling top, two front-zipper pockets for golf balls and other accessories, an umbrella loop and a pocket for a water bottle.

"You see places like Cabot Links and Bandon Dunes, with strong caddie programs and the whole throwback design, a whole part of our industry is getting back to basics," Keogh said.

The bags are all made in American of American parts. "The harness leather is from a tannery in Pennsylvania that's 130 years old," he said. "It helps us tell the Belding story."

The American Collection also includes three other designs, including a soft carry bag ($299) and a staff bag ($799).

Also available is a custom program that allows the consumer to design his own bag, including colors. "It's a strong proposition to the market place, that we can build stuff one at a time in America of the highest quality," Keogh said.


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Gear & Equipment

The wheels come off this golf cart/bag combo

Alphard Duo Cart.jpg

By John Strege

Is there anything this push cart-golf bag combination cannot do? Maybe, but we're hard-pressed to find it.

The Duo Cart from Alphard Golf is made for walking, but on those occasions the walker is required to ride, the wheels can be removed, allowing the Duo Cart to be strapped on the back of an electric or gas cart.

Then there's this: "The outer layer of the fabric, or we call it the 'skin,' is interchangeable so that one can prolong the lifetime of the product when the fabric wears out," Alex Tse, designer of the Duo Cart, wrote in an email.

For storage purposes, the Duo Cart easily folds down to a size not much bigger than a typical cart bag. It weighs 20 pounds.

The Duo Cart LT retails for $299, while the Duo Cart DX with upgraded fabric and an insulated cooler pocket, retails for $329.

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Gear & Equipment

A calf leather golf bag, yours for only $9,500

Treccani Milano Golf Bag.jpg

By John Strege

This falls into its own category: for the golfer who has everything and money to burn. It is a $9,500 golf bag from an Italian concern that specializes in hand-made shoes, including golf shoes it sells for nearly $1,000 a pair.

A product of Treccani Milano, the golf bag is hand made from your choice of calf (shown here), alligator or ostrich leather. A travel bag detailed in the same leather and color is included with the bag.

It is probably too late to order as a Christmas gift; a bag can take up to 12 weeks to craft with what the company calls "artisan labor."

We can't say where it fits among golf's most expensive bags, but by way of comparison, its price dwarfs this offering from Chiarugi ($3,613), another Italian company.


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Gear & Equipment

MacKenzie Walker adds waxed cotton golf bags to its line

MacKenzie Walker Waxed Cotton.jpg

By John Strege

The MacKenzie Walker Golf Bag Company, which has its roots in hand-crafted leather carry bags that pay homage to the history of the game (and hence were the bags used in the film "Golf in the Kingdom"), has a new offering constructed of waxed cotton.

"We can't help ourselves when we come across classic ideas," MacKenzie Walker President Todd Rohrer said. Rohrer said he received a phone call from a customer in the United Kingdom, who asked why the company wasn't making the bag in waxed cotton.

Rohrer found a company in New Jersey, "a seventh generation fabric finishing company," he said, its quality "just as good as can be found anywhere in the world, and it's a USA fabric. I love that we are USA made."

The bag shown above was the first MacKenzie Walker waxed cotton bag made and belongs to a member of Garden City Golf Club in Garden City, N.Y. Rohrer was having the bag made for himself, when the Garden City member, a customer, checked in and asked what the company was up to. Rohrer wound up shipping the bag, complete with Garden City Golf Club logo, to the member.

The waxed cotton bag retails for $495, substantially cheaper than the leather bags ($735). The company also offers a MacKenzie Ballistic Walker ($275). The bags can be ordered through the company's website.


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Gear & Equipment

Ogio introduces durable, lightweight golf bags

Ogio Nebula.jpg

By John Strege

Lightweight is the objective in carry bags (and even cart bags), but how light is too light? "There's a danger zone that if you go too light it starts falling apart," said Tom Glocke, global vice president of Ogio.

Ogio has just introduced its Endurance Lightweight Collection -- four men's, two women's cart and carry bags -- that reached for the optimum combination of lightweight and durable. The Nebula (shown above), for instance, weighs in at a scant 3.8 pounds, even with a 10-inch top.

"We really try to walk the line between still being very quality and lightweight," Gocke said. "It's become an art figuring out how to build lightweight without giving up tensile strength. We went to nylon instead of a poly for these bags, and what we found is the strength and durability per weight is excellent on this material. It's actually the same material they use for making parachutes. We figure that if people stake their life on materials not tearing we're probably OK getting away with it on a golf bag."

Ogio also upgraded its threads to nylon, "out of what I would call the YKK of threads," Gocke said. "The best." YKK is the largest and most prominent zipper manufacturer in the world. "When you go to these light weights, you want to make sure you get thinning and high tensile strength materials that won't break at the seams."

The Nebula features eight zippered pockets, one of mesh, a feature of all the bags in the collection. The cart bags weigh in under five pounds, while the carry bags go as low as 3.6 pounds.

The collection, which ranges in price from $150 to $200, can be seen here.


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Gear & Equipment

Bridgestone Golf, NFL enter licensing agreement

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By John Strege

The NFL and golf have a history of partnerships, the latest involving Bridgestone Golf, which has announced it has become an official licensee of NFL logo golf balls and golf bags.

Bridgestone will offer its golf balls and bags with logos of each of the 32 NFL teams, for those who wish to combine their passions for golf and a particular professional football team.

The NFL's partnerships with golf go back at least to the late Payne Stewart, who had a contract to wear NFL team colors and logos.


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Gear & Equipment

TaylorMade RBZ brand adds bags, accessories

RBZ Stand Bag.jpg

TaylorMade Golf's RocketBallz (or RBZ) brand already enjoys a measure of prominence on which the company expects to build with golf bags and accessories bearing the name and logo, and, of course,its green, black and white color scheme.

Among the products it is introducing are two lightweight bags -- the RBZ Stand (shown above) and the RBZ Cart (prices $170 and $180, respectively). The Stand bag weighs in at 4.9 pounds, while the Cart bag is 5.2 pounds.

The Stand bag features five dividers and six pockets, including a velour-lined valuables pocket and an insulated beverage sleeve pocket, and a cart-compatible base. The Cart bag has a 14-way divider top as well as an integrated putter tube. It has eight pockets, including two velour-lined valuables pockets.

Three RBZ headwear designs, men's and women's gloves, umbrellas and towels are also being introduced.

The company also is introducing its Pure-Lite 3.0 bag ($180), successor to its popular Pure-Lite 2.0 bag and featuring upgraded materials and hardware. It weighs 5.1 pounds and comes in eight colorways.

-- John Strege
Follow me on Twitter @JohnStrege

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Gear & Equipment

Stand bags part of Burton Golf comeback

Burton Player.jpg

The latest chapter in Burton Golf's long and varied history is being written by Dynamic Brands, the Richmond, Va., company that owns BagBoy.

Burton was founded in 1907 and was renowned for the quality of its golf bags. In 2006, Forefront Holdings acquired Burton. ForeFront was part of the Stanford Financial Group, which in 2009 was seized by U.S. authorities and charged with fraud, effectively shutting down Burton. (Allen Stanford, who controlled the company, is awaiting trial on charges that his company had been operating a massive Ponzi scheme.)

"In essence, we ended up buying it, restarting the brand," said Craig Ramsbottom, president of Dynamic Brands Golf Division. "ForeFront had gotten away from that rich, traditional high-quality product. We wanted to get back to that high-quality product with a high-end look."

Among Burton's newest offerings are two stand bags, the Pro and the Player. The Pro is a hybrid carry/cart bag, "more of a 'I want a stand bag, but I never walk,' bag," Ramsbottom said. "So it's a little bigger [5.5 pounds], hybrid type of bag." The Player (shown above) is a lightweight (4.5 pounds) bag for the player who walks and carries his bag.

The Pro, available in five colors, has a suggested retail price of $219.95. The price of the Player, available in six colors, is $189.95.

-- John Strege

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Gear & Equipment

Sun Mountain's newest lightweight golf bag

The first thing anyone probably wants to know about a new golf bag marketed as superlight is its weight. In the case of Sun Mountain's new KG:2 stand bag it isn't readily apparent without a decoder. Kidding, of course. But we had to ask. The answer: It's right there in the name, KG:2, or two kilograms (4.4 pounds).

Sun Mountain KG2.jpg

That doesn't make it as light as Sun Mountain's Superlight 3.5 (3.5 pounds), but it does come with more pockets (eight, including one specifically for your cell phone) and hand-holds (three on the top of the bag and a lift-assist pocket panel on the bottom).

It also features Sun Mountain's E-Z Fit Dual Strap System, Roller Bottom leg mechanism and high-tensile aluminum legs. It is available in eight colors.

The bag will be available in November at $199.

-- John Strege

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