archive page July, 2013 | Critical Golf

Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

More »

Archive for July, 2013

Original Jones Golf Bag

SCORE
86
GRADE
B
Club Storage
86
Legs/Base
80
Straps
87
Pockets/Storage
83
Rain Hood
N/A
Carrying Impressions
88
Style
94
Innovation
80
Cost/Value
84

Welcome to the past! If you find that the latest technology (horseless carriages and color television) is too complex for you, consider the Original Jones Bag. Designed in the style of one of the most iconic bags in golf, this bag is updated for today’s materials through the use of vinyl and nylon (of course vinyl and nylon were invented in the 1920’s and 1930’s, respectively, so we’re being liberal with the term “today’s materials”) but still keeps to the very basics.

The absence of legs (this means you’ll be setting it down on wet ground for those foggy mornings or in the rain) and the use of a single shoulder strap keep the Original Jones bag as the lightest bag we’ve tested to date. The bag has 3 pockets (two zippered “ball pouches” and a full length pocket on the belly of the bag for your outerwear or other great), a 3-way divider, and an umbrella sleeve.

Forget dedicated “cooling pouches”, pencil holders, scorecard sleeves, and velcro patches for your glove. Those are for sissies. Keep it old school with the Original Jones Bag.

Retail price: $139.95
Amazon.com Check price now


86 / B

CLUB STORAGE

While the Original Jones Bag may well be the simplest carry bag around, you won’t be lumping all of your clubs together into a single mosh pit. The bag has a 7.75″ 3-way divider at a top to let you keep your clubs at least a bit sorted. Not surprisingly for a simple and light bag, the dividers do not run the full-length of the bag.


80 / B-

LEGS/BASE

There are no legs with the Original Jones Bag, so we can’t add anything here. The 3.5″ tall base is made of a solid plastic. As the bag doesn’t stand on its own, there isn’t a need for anything special for the base, it simply helps the bag keep its shape.


87 / B+

STRAPS

While the category is called “straps”, in the case of the Original Jones Bag, the use of the plural is extraneous. To quote the wonderful 80s B-movie “Highlander”, “there can be only one.” So keep it simple and throw that single strap over your shoulder, nothing fancy here. Unfortunately our shoulders aren’t what they used to be, so we prefer two straps to one to distribute the weight. The upside is that it can’t be any easier to slip the bag off and on. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of padding provided by the single strap, which easily adjusts in length through a single pin – to this day we’re still guessing at how to get some of our double-strap bags adjusted appropriately.


83 / B

POCKETS/STORAGE

The Original Jones Bag features a mere three pockets, the fewest of any bag that we have reviewed. There is one large garment pocket on the belly of the bag that can fit your rain gear, along with a medium pocket and a small pocket on the spine. The small pocket is best suited for balls and sits partially “over” the medium pocket, which is large enough to hold gloves, tees and markets, and even good-sized water bottles.

In keeping with its simple design, the Original Jones Bag does not include any pencil or tee holders. There are no rings on the bag dedicated to clipping on accessories, but we improvised and used the top ring that secures the strap to the bag to attach a towel and a rangefinder. There is also no lined pocket for valuables, or any additional pocket-within-a-pocket. Somewhat surprisingly, the Original Jones Bag actually includes a sleeve on the side of the bag for holding an umbrella, but keep in mind that on rainy days you are going to have one soggy bag and clubs, given the lack of legs and any rain hood.


N/A

RAIN HOOD

We’ll keep this section is short and sweet: not applicable.


88 / B+

CARRYING IMPRESSIONS

The Original Jones Bag is all about keeping it simple. The single shoulder strap with ample padding allows for that, and you can still easily access the top pockets while the bag is on your shoulder. We didn’t really miss the lower back padding found on most bags, likely because we simply didn’t expect it with this bag.

  • Weight. The bag weighed 3.5 pounds as tested, which makes it the lightest bag we’ve reviewed.
  • Padding. While most carry bags feature at least a minimal amount of padding for the lower back, the Original Jones lacks any additional protection and support.
  • Handles/Straps. Aside from the single shoulder strap, The Original Jones Bag only had a woven nylon handle along the spine of the bag, used to take the bag out of the car or move a short distance.

It’s all about ease of use, and if you don’t mind reaching down to the ground to grab the shoulder strap after your shots, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of carrying the Original Jones Bag. We will say that on those mornings with dew on the ground we leave this bag at home as we prefer not to get both the bag and ourselves any more wet.


94 / A

STYLE

Original Jones Bag

Click for more images

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. With this bag it’s all Old School. You might not have the features of your buddies’ bags, but you’ll look that much cooler. We can’t deny this bag makes a statement.

The Original Jones Bag comes in five different colors (black, red, grey, green and navy blue), with white trim regardless of color and available embroidery customization. The handle on the spine of the bag has a bit of flair, as it is actually two separate pieces of material that are twisted around each other. Fancy that!


80 / B-

INNOVATION

The Original Jones Bag doesn’t break new ground in terms of features, but it sure has been a while since we have used a bag like this. Does bringing back an old standby count as innovation, perhaps in simplicity? We leave you to judge. Oh wait, we will too.


84 / B

COST/VALUE

At $139.95 retail, the Original Jones Bag is the one of the less expensive carry bags in our tests, though not the cheapest. It is well-made, but if it’s features you want, you don’t have to pay much (or any) more for legs, pockets, hooks, rain hoods, and so forth. The price is on the high side for what you get, but those who value one of the most iconic bags in the game updated with slightly newer materials might just be willing to spring for this.


A little marketing on how to: “Simplify and Golf.”

Model year: 2013


CartTek GRX-950Li

Has the weight of electric golf carts been a dealbreaker to purchasing? With lithium ion batteries now available for carts, it may be time to reconsider. Based on their best selling GRX-900, CartTek has introduced their first lithium ion battery powered cart, the GRX-950Li. The GRX-950Li offers a significantly lighter battery (just 3 pounds, vs 18 pounds for the GRX-900), which makes life quite a bit easier for someone who will be lifting the cart regularly to store or transport. The GRX-950Li other improvements include a more efficient 24 volt electric system to provide longer battery life (up through 27 holes), a new ergonomic handle and power button, and the option to purchase a padded seat to attach to the frame to let you take a load off during play. There is a variable speed dial to match your walking pace, and a distance time to send the cart on ahead of you. The wheels can be set to “freewheel” mode in case of loss of power (or when catching a ride on someone else’s driving cart).

CartTek GRX-950Li

Click for more images

The chassis is available in black or silver, weighs 24 pounds, and when folded (including removing the quick release wheels) the CartTek GRX-950Li collapses to 12″ x 29″ x 12″, making for quite a small package – one that CartTek claims is the smallest and lighted folding electric golf caddy available. The frame and battery carry a 2-year warranty (up from 1 year for the GRX-900).

Retail price: $849
Amazon.com: Check price now







JuCad Drive SL Travel eX2

So you say you’ve won the lottery and have money to burn? You’ve come to the right place. After treating us to a celebratory round of golf at Pebble Beach, you’ll want to check out the lineup of JuCad (pronouce that “you-cad”) powered golf trolleys. If you haven’t already, you’ll be shocked by what you find in these handmade German trolleys. The JuCad family features Titanium, Carbon and Stainless Steel electric cart frames weighing as little as 10.8 pounds. You heard that right: 10.8 pounds for the entire cart. The battery will add about 3 more pounds, but still… At first glance these carts are so slim you’ll likely mistake them for non-powered carts. The JuCads are good-looking in design, which is kept minimal in nature due to the storage of the battery in the golf bag as opposed to on the frame. Not a bad thing, just…different.

If you venture to the JuCad website to learn more about the family of carts, know that it won’t be easy to compare feature set across the 22+ carts (powered and non-powered) available. The naming conventions aren’t particularly helpful, making for a rather confounding process. Why sites should make it so difficult to quickly see differences across a family (or why a family with such low volume should even exist) is beyond us. But hey, we should care less about their marketing efforts and focus more on the fact that these carts are crazy-expensive and light, right?

For those checking out the lineup, here is our decipher key for JuCad’s naming conventions:
“SL” or “Titan” indicates a Titanium frame, “Carbon” indicates…yes, Carbon, and the rest are all Stainless Steel.
We believe the “Classic” line folds to pack, whereas the rest of the trolleys disassemble (quickly) for travel.
You might think “Drive” indicates a powered caddy, but some trolleys that are powered (such as the JuCad Carbon Travel) don’t, so we have no idea what “Drive” indicates.
“eX” seems to indicate that a carrying bag and remote is included in the cost (available for separate purchase with other powered models), though “eX2” includes only a carrying bag. Confused yet? We are.

In any event, if you are considering these trolleys there isn’t any reason not to get the brightest and shiniest. And of course, lightest. And for that you’ll want to head directly to the JuCad Drive SL Travel eX2. 10.8 pounds (plus 3 pound battery and cable) is a light weight for a push cart, much less a powered cart. And just because it is light doesn’t mean that you have to give up features. The eX2 has a lithium battery and charger, rotary speed control, electric downhill brake, adjustable handle height, drive/reverse/neutral, umbrella holder. And in keeping with the extremely small size when disassembled for travel, a carry bag with separate wheel compartment is included. It’s mind-blowing that at this price a remote isn’t included, but you can purchase it separately. And hey, it’s just money, right?

Some different purchase options are below…dream on!

JuCad Drive SL Travel eX2
Retail price: $5,499.00
Availability: Direct from JuCad only (contact Jucad)

JuCad Drive SL Travel eX
Retail price: $5,120.00
Availability: Direct from JuCad (contact Jucad)

JuCad Carbon Travel
Retail: $4,299.00
Availability: Direct from JuCad (contact Jucad)

JuCad Drive (Stainless Steel)
Retail: $4,299
Availability: Direct from JuCad (contact Jucad)