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|The Ogio Cirrus cart bag is light and lends itself to flexibility in use. (Courtesy of Ogio)|
The term "cart bag" is ambiguous when you think about it. The term could refer to a bag that you strap onto the back of a motorized golf cart. But it could also refer to a bag that fits well on a pull/push cart.
This semantic distinction might seem nit-picky, but it is important to golfers who strongly prefer one or the other when traversing the links.
Motorized carts are far more popular in the U.S. Push or pull carts aren't nearly as popular in the U.S. as they are everywhere else in the world (sort of like soccer), but they are being used more widely as a younger generation of golfers starts to age -- golfers who would prefer to walk but whose backs are no longer up to the task of carrying their clubs for 18 holes.
As it turns out, different "cart bag" designs naturally fit better in one cart or another.
Let's compare the new Ogio Cirrus cart bag and the new Sun Mountain C-130, which illustrate the point quite clearly.
On a push cart your woods need to be away from the strap side (back) of the bag, because that's the side on which the bag rests at an angle on the cart. If the woods naturally go on that side, they get in the way of the scorecard holder, tee/ball holders, drink holder and handle of the cart.
Conversely, on a motorized cart, the woods should be kept on the strap side, as that's the side against the back of the cart. You don't want to be reaching around the tall woods to have to hunt for shorter irons and wedges.
The Ogio Cirrus cart bag ($205) works admirably on the back of a motorized cart, but it is on my (preferred) push cart where it really shines.
The best feature is the 14-port club divider top, which is organized concentrically, with individuated club silos that are not as deep as the C-130's. The design allows a great deal of flexibility with respect to where clubs can go. Woods and wedges (and anything in between) can be organized according to need. Only the designated shallower putter slot is determined by the design (and it is in the ideal front, pocket-side spot, the same as the C-130).
The top of the Sun Mountain C-130 ($215) is organized in more of a stadium-style configuration, with the putter bay at the low point at the bottom on the pocket side (front) of the bag, and increasingly higher rows of bays toward the strap side of the bag. This organization works superbly on the back of a motorized cart, as do the voluminous side pockets, which are somewhat low hanging for a push cart.
But the layout is a bit awkward for a push cart. In order to keep the long woods away from the scorecard, etc., they have to go in the shallower bays, and the wedges have to be put into the deeper bays, where they sort of get swallowed up. They don't fall in, but the wedge blades rest against the lips of the bays.
Aside from this organizational issue, both the Ogio Cirrus and Sun Mountain C-130 boast some comparable -- and comparably laudable -- features. Each one has multiple felt-lined valuables pockets, spacious side pockets (though there is more room in the C-130), and a total of nine or 10 pockets each. Both also have convenient top handles.
The C-130 has a couple of extra design bells and whistles, like designated pen pockets, one towel loop on each side, a lined cooler pocket with drain holes, and integrated cart strap slots to make sure your bag won't tumble off the back of the cart if the strap comes undone.
The Cirrus, on the other hand, weights just 4.8 pounds. (compared to about eight pounds for the C-130), which makes it a better choice for push carts.
In the end, the ideal cart bag for you is the one that best fits the way you usually play, no matter which type of "cart" you prefer.
October 26, 2012
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
Over the past decade engineers have delivered progressively smaller, lighter, and easier-to-use pushcarts. The newest offering from Sun Mountain, the Reflex cart, has the smallest folded footprint of any cart. It's a dream to push around for 18 holes -- even with a bad back.
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