We all want to be up on the opposition on the golf course and if our equipment can give us that advantage then all the better.
Titleist claim they are 4UP on the opposition with the 4UP StaDry Stand bag that is lighter at 1.8kg (1UP), durable (2UP), 100% waterproof (3UP) and made with the premium materials you associate with the Titleist brand (4UP and handshake time).
Stand bags have a hard job being superlight as there is the leg mechanism to consider, but taking that into account the 4UP StaDry bag is pretty light as these things go and the lightest stand bag Titleist offer.
The Active Recoil EVA Stand System features aluminium legs that operate when you place the bag down and they opened out and retracted very easily. The base is contoured to facilitate the lean of the bag in standing mode and the stability was pretty good.
Even if carrying is too much then there is a Velcro strap to keep the legs in place if you are using on a golf cart or trolley, which is a nice touch.
However the 4UP is designed to be light because it is meant to be carried and it features the familiar style of the Titleist double strap you will recognise from some of their other bags.
Whilst they are not the widest or most padded straps I have seen, they are still comfortable to wear and do the job well. They are routed through the usual Titleist 'square' in the middle of your back that spreads the load, but with essentially four straps rather than two, it can result in the occasional tangle.
However the straps are easy to adjust and the key is to get the very comfortable cushioned pad on the side of the bag as high up into the small of your back as you can whilst allowing for easy dismounting.
There is also a single strap supplied with the bag if you prefer to go side saddle and with the choice of two positions at each end to secure it then it should be easy to find the most comfortable carrying option.
The second single strap is a nice touch and it is these small attention to details that set the 4UP StaDry bag out from the pack.
There are three large pockets plus a valuables pocket on the outside that has an internal clip to secure your keys, wedding ring or whatever else you would get into big trouble for losing.
Each pocket features seam-sealed zips that work with the nylon waterproof fabric to keep your belongings and your clubs dry. The material is quite robust and retains its shape well, but the slim design and relatively short zips mean that there is not a lot of give as move your hand through the openings, especially if the pockets are full.
However, the material is one of the big advances in golf in recent years and having used this fabric in the rain, I am still amazed how something this light and thin manages to keep out the wet. It's like Gore-Tex for golf bags as it doesn't absorb water, thus keeps everything dry without adding weight.
For UK golfers it is more a question of when rather than if it rains, so the 4UP comes with a detachable waterproof hood that you connect around the straps on the top of the bag and through two plastic loops on the front by the top of the legs.
It is maybe not the slickest hood to put on, but the design easily covers the top of the bag and the seam sealed zip on top provides easy access to all your clubs. When it is not raining you can store your umbrella using a 3 point system under the long side pocket.
It is secured with a small loop at the bottom and an adjustable loop at the top, which is pretty standard for these types of bags, but I always feel that there has to be a better solution as the loop gets annoying after a while. A longer mid sleeve with a loop at the bottom would be a more user friendly alternative.
The 'top-cuff' is 7.5 inches (19cm) across at its widest point and features 3 way, full length dividers that offers easy access to get clubs in and out. Stand bags do tend to mix the shafts up and sometimes they can 'stick' coming out, so the extra space of the 4UP helps reduce that.
With stand bags you spend a lot of time picking it up and moving it a few yards around the tees and greens so the 4UP comes with an integrated lift handle that goes right round three sides of the top.
The handle is solid and well placed to help you manoeuvre the bag around the course and combines with a clever hidden grab handle on the base of the ball pocket for lifting in and out of the car.
Overall though the thoughtful touches on the 4UP StaDry balance out any minor nuances and this is a well designed and well made bag. It is quite pricey, but what you are paying for is the lightweight and waterproof technology in the design.
Anything you can do to reduce the weight you carry round the course and keep your equipment dry will only benefit your game and hopefully lead you to being 4UP on your opposition too.