Everyone loves an old school pencil bag (especially with a large Titleist logo printed across the front), don't they?
Earlier this year Titleist updated their comprehensive range of golf bags for the 2021 season. The range includes everything from carry bags (formerly known as the pencil bag), stand bags, cart bags and even the highly desirable Titleist Tour bags.
Golfalot willingly got our hands a few models to test throughout the summer months. As a serial pencil bag user throughout my youth, I nominated myself to review the latest Titleist Premium Carry Bag.
What's It All About?
Don't worry, this section of the review won't be as long as some of the the Titleist products we review - after all this is just a golf bag, right?
The tagline that goes with this product from Titleist is: "Walk in style and comfort" so this is exactly what I was about to test - could this bag be functional whilst also adding to my round of golf in style and comfort departments?
The kind of golfer that would use this sort of bag is going to be keen - the true avid golfer, the type that sneaks in 9 holes at every given moment, constantly has a practice ball bag in his boot and his alignment sticks in his bag - you know the type. They know their golf and the chances are they're pretty handy in the Saturday medals too. This type of golfer also wants quality, so the standards for this review are going to be high.
On the surface, this feature-rich carry bag includes everything you could ask for in a carry bag of this calibre including: full-length apparel pocket, unique top cuff 3-way divider, mini-legs, external water bottle pocket, two fixed shoulder straps, umbrella holder, as well as golf ball and valuables pocket, all encompassed in what Titleist refer to as an ultra-lightweight design.
I have been testing this bag for the last couple of months, which for a part-time, fair-weather golfer like me means 3 times to be exact. It's fair to say I've used it enough times to have pondered its strengths and weaknesses though.
It would also be fair to say it's seen some pretty hairy spots (JCB Golf and Country Club is tough all right guys...) on a few different courses whilst carrying my clubs in different weather conditions.
Titleist Premium Carry Bag Review
There's no doubting this is a great looking golf bag. It's unmistakably Titleist and let's be fair, when it comes to golf equipment aesthetics, they know what they're doing.
I tested the bag in the classic red white and black colourway. Understated but eye-catching in all the right ways at the same time, this bag will do the job of making any set of golf clubs look their Sunday best.
There's not really too much to say in the looks department with this bag as you get exactly what you'd expect, there's nothing there that shouldn't be and everything that is there is in the right place.
The only negative aesthetics-wise is probably how flimsy the bag looks once being carried. As the bag is so light, it lacks a structure and therefore when carrying the bag I couldn't help but think it didn't look as sleek as I'd hoped, which didn't help the look of the build quality. More on that later...
So far so good then - this bag looks great, Titleist have no doubt achieved the 'style' department of their main claim. But how did it perform on the golf course? What was the functionality like?
First of all, it weighs a very light 2.2lbs which is pretty impressive when you consider that includes four pockets that are all a decent size. The fact it is so lightweight even with 14 clubs in therefore makes it fairly comfy to carry, but it's a pencil bag, so being light is something that you would expect - if it wasn't there would be major problems.
For me the comfort of this bag overall was disappointing and it's not the first time I have noticed it with a Titleist carry bag. When carrying the bag with both straps on my shoulders I'd go as far to say the bag was instead, uncomfortable. The back cushioning offered little if any support for my lower back, but the main problem came however from the top cuff of the bag which was very harsh feeling, finishing around the top of the cushioning and rubbing quite annoyingly into my back throughout the round.
This was frustrating as I found the cuff to be well built, sturdy and did a great job at the top end of the bag of dividing my clubs, unfortunately it made the bag pretty uncomfortable to carry.
At first I thought the mini-legs on the bag would be a great addition as they simply stop your clubs from constantly getting knocked off the ground during a round, but again after a few holes they became a nuisance. Because the bag has no real body and structure apart from around the cuff - I found the legs didn't really offer much, they simply kept folding over because of the lack of structure in the rest of the bag to hold the weight of my club heads up.
On top of this - because the top cuff of the bag was the heaviest part of the bag, it made it very top-heavy and unbalanced during my round, I felt as if I had to have the right shoulder strap tighter (higher) to balance the bag out constantly.
The strap system on this bag also confused me. Although the straps looked great (the Titleist logo on the right strap is a nice touch) and were cushioned very well offering good support - I think the actual system itself is overly complicated with no real benefit.
I may be missing something but what is the need for the plastic clips? Because the straps are attached in the centre, there is no benefit from being able to unclip the straps at the cuff as they would just still be attached anyway...?
My final gripe, although it's a small one, was that the drinks holder was ironically very small at the opening. This made squeezing a normal sized bottle in there tough, but once in the sleeve it was very large so I found my bottle moved about a lot and was never fixed in place.
What I did like about this bag was the amount of space in the three main pockets - the balls pocket, valuables pocket and main apparel pocket offered plenty enough room for all my belongings. If you can't fit everything you would need for 18 holes in this bag, including waterproofs, then you're carrying far too much gear.
Finally I was impressed by the base of the bag as well as the handle section. Both of these sections boasted a high level of build quality and did their job well - transporting the bag from car to course was as easy as it should be.
Titleist Premium Carry Bag Verdict
Overall I was disappointed with this bag. On the surface there's no doubting it seems brilliant, but as I have found with other Titleist bags, there was a number of problems that meant it's functionality on the golf course just didn't really live up to the expectations I have of Titleist products.
This is a good option if you're looking for something small, very lightweight and something that you are regularly changing your clubs in and out of as it folds down almost flat and you can store it away in a very tight space when not using.
On the golf course where it matters however, although you may look the part I couldn't help but be let down by it's functionality and performance.
Would I Use It?
For me a carry bag needs to be comfortable, if it's not that then unfortunately I won't use it. I'd go as far as to say that I have used pencil bags with just one strap that were better to carry than this.
- Classic Titleist looks
- Lightweight and flimsy design makes it perfect to fold
- Straps are well padded
- Plenty of space in the pockets
- High quality divider
- Uncomfortable to carry on the lower back
- Mini-legs seemed a hindrance
- Lack of structure throughout the bag led to problems
- Unnecessary strap system
- Poorly designed drinks holder
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