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|Sun Mountain has found a way to pack tons of features into ultra-light golf bags. (Courtesy of Sun Mountain)|
Question: Which company had the largest market share in the golf bag business last year?
Answer: Sun Mountain, according to Golf Datatech.
The Missoula, Mont., company ended 2010 with a 16.5 percent market share and sales that rose nearly 1 percent despite an overall down year for golf bag sales.
What is Sun Mountain's secret?
For one thing, more than any other golf bag manufacturer, Sun Mountain has found a way to incorporate dozens of design features into ultra-light bags. Ever since the company was the first to attach stand legs to a carry bag in the 1980s, Sun Mountain has sought to make bags suitable for walking and riding golfers alike.
For 2011, the intrepid engineers at Sun Mountain have created bags with dual functionality by adding cart friendly features onto their line of superlight carry bags.
The Sun Mountain Superlight line of golf bags (Superlight 3.5, Superlight SLX, H2NO, Four 5 and the Zero-G) will include a cart friendly bottom designed with a new shape and a retooled foot mechanism that allows the bag to stand straight in a golf cart bag, rather than be positioned sideways.
Another popular bag feature continues to be Sun Mountain's patented top with a built-in handle that provides a convenient spot to grab when picking the bag up and removing the bag from the shoulder.
New for 2011, the bag top now has three handles, making it easier to use both hands to lift the bag on and off of a cart. Another new cart friendly feature is the leg-lock strap to secure the golf bag legs while the bag is on the cart. An additional cart friendly feature, specific to the Superlight 3.5, is a "tunnel" for the cart strap that passes through to protect the contents of the pocket from being squashed and to allow all pockets to be accessible when the bag is on the cart.
On top of these new cart friendly features, technical advancements on the entire Superlight line include: top-mounted stand attachment for increased durability and stability, patented Roller Bottom and recessed Y-Spring activator for faster leg action and tight-to-the-bag retraction, triangular non-slip foot pads that resist sinking into grass and sliding on slick surfaces, and a full complement of pockets that includes a full-length clothing pocket, velour-lined valuable pouch, water bottle pouch, and ball and accessory pockets.
We tested the new cart friendly 2011 Superlight 3.5 SLX ($160) as a carry bag, motorized cart bag and pull-cart bag and found it to deliver on all of its technological promises. The dual straps have been bolstered with increased padding. The new bottom design keeps it from tilting while strapped into a motorized cart and seems to stop or greatly reduce irritating twisting on pull carts.
The styling is excellent and there are numerous color combinations (we got the red-on-black style with reflective detailing around the pockets) that should appeal to golfers of all ages, especially those flatbellies who can so maddeningly reach all the par 5s in two.
The pockets are copious and spacious, providing a place for everything. The only real knock is that the water-bottle pocket is not insulated. For golfers used to full-length individual club dividers, the four-way top might take some getting used to, but it's actually nice to have a little extra room to stick in either extra clubs for testing or a ball retriever (for us who sometimes fail to clear the hazards).
For more information, visit www.sunmountain.com.
April 12, 2011
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, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
The Big Max Z 360 is probably the most functional, most flexible golf pushcart I've tried. It's not the lightest, and there are times when the swiveling front tire might cause a bit of irritation in uneven places. But these quibbles notwithstanding, this is a cart I would highly recommend to anyone looking to return to the pedestrian roots of golf.
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