EXO Stand BagPRODUCT REVIEW

Ogio brings sex appeal
to the lowly golf bag

By Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer

BOSTON (Jan 10, 2004) – Besides plaid pants and white belts, nothing has been more damaging to the image of the golfer among the style-minded non-golfing public than the lowly golf bag, which generally runs a sad gamut from shabby through dull up to gaudy. We golfers spend hundreds – thousands! – of dollars on clubs and then jam them into boring, beat-up bags, scuffing grips, scratching shafts, and banging clubheads as we go.

If you decide that it's finally time to take care of those precious tools of the trade, and just maybe spice up your image a bit, it would be worth checking out the new line of stand and cart bags by Ogio. Ogio's engineers seem to care a great deal about your clubs, even if you don't. Their innovative golf bags are as far beyond their competition as titanium is beyond persimmon.

Top-of-the-line Stand Bag: Exo

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At the top of Ogio's stand bag line is the Exo (MSRP $180). The moniker refers to the aluminum exo-skeleton frame. Moving the frame of the bag completely outside the club bay makes for loads more room for clubs, ball-retrievers, chains saws, etc. An added (perhaps unintended) benefit is discovered when you decide to strap the bag onto a cart: When you tighten the strap, the exo-frame prevents it from constricting the top of the bag and biding up your clubs. This cuts wear and tear on your grips and shafts significantly.

The Exo (5.75 lbs) comes complete with Ogio's innovative features, including the Wood II club management system, which, in the words of the company's press releases provides “stadium seating” for your irons, and four “private boxes” for your woods, again sparing grips and shafts from unintentional damage. The Exo also features the company's trade-marked Putter Pit, and Crossbow dual-shoulder strap, along with tons of pocket space, an external “ball silo,” and futuristic styling. Minor design flaws of past years' models have been eliminated, and the flip-out stand legs are now perhaps the most stable on the market.

Top-of-the-line Cart Bag: Stinger

At the top of Ogio's cart bag line is the tricked-out Stinger (MSRP $249), which makes even riding around in a cart look almost X-Game-ish. Along with a gaping 10” Wood II system club bay, the Stinger boasts 11 pockets (including a zipperless ball pocket, or ZBP), a zipperless Hood rain cover (which looks like a giant Venus fly-trap), and molded trunk handles. The single padded strap is actually even comfortable enough that one could carry the 9.3-pound bag around the course with only minimal strain.

The main reason you wouldn't want to carry the Stinger, however, is that you would miss out on its single coolest feature: the Rapid Access Incline Lock, or RAIL, system. Ogio's brand new RAIL feature consists of a stylized ladder-like arm that is designed to fit onto most golf carts. The arm allows the Stinger to securely deploy away from a cart at a 45-degree angle. On the bag side, The RAIL's hinged arm is permanently attached to the cuff, while the extended section secures to a cart rack. When not in use and lying flush, the bowed arm adds a futuristic flair to the bag's design.

When the bag is tilted away from the back of the cart at 45-degrees, clubs are extremely easy to see and access, and they tend to not rattle around so much. The only drawback to the RAIL system is that the arm is on the same side as the zipperless ball pocket. When the arm is not deployed, it and the pocket face out from the club; but when the arm is deployed, the pocket faces inward toward the cart. Since the bag then sits at a 45-degree angle, it is not too hard to get to the ball pocket, but it is just a bit awkward.

This nit-picky point aside, any golfer who appreciates engineering and design cannot help but admire the innovative features and almost artistic flair of both the Stinger and Exo, along with Ogio's eight or so other new 2004 models.

It's about time that your golf bag entered the 21st Century, don't you think? Now, let's talk about those plaid pants.

For more information, see www.ogio.com

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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