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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Nike Performance Carry

Nike Performance Carry

Score

86

Grade

B

From the lineage of the Nike SasQuatch Tour carry bag comes the Nike Performance Carry (2012), the largest of Nike’s carry bags. At an extremely heavy 7.0 pounds (the only heavier bag we have tested was the OGIO Nexos), you would expect a full set of features. And indeed, the bag does have a 14-way, full-length divider system and 10 pockets (8 zippered).

It’s a sharp looking bag, and has some nice features (including a great rain hood), but it’s probably unfairly matched up against other carry bags in our review. The Performance Carry, like the SasQuatch Tour Carry Bag before it, is probably best suited on a push or riding cart, and seems to be designed more as hybrid between a carry and cart bag.

At a MSRP of a whopping $240, it’s one of the highest priced bags in our tests, and as such, it’s tough to recommend as a carry bag against the others in the Nike line, such as the Vapor X Carry, or the much less expensive Xtreme Sport IV Carry. It can, however, be found for much less than MSRP via Amazon and elsewhere.

SCORE
86
GRADE
B
Club Storage
85
Legs
90
Carrying Impressions
83
Pockets/Storage
88
Rain Hood
94
Style
95
Innovation
88
Cost/Value
81

Retail price: $240.00 (though can be found for much less – see Amazon link below)
Amazon.com price: Check price now


85 / B

Club Storage

Like everything nice and tidy? The Nike Performance Carry, with its 14 full-length dividers, is the way to go. Not many carry bags offer this level of separation – unfortunately, there’s a weight trade-off for those that do, and the Performance Carry is one of the heaviest bags that we have tested. We are divided (pun intended) on the benefits of having the separation in clubs. We don’t find there to be a great deal of differences between having 14 dividers or 5 dividers when you’re pulling out or replacing clubs, though you can argue that with 14 dividers it’s marginally simpler to keep track of where each club is and pull it immediately.


90 / A-

Legs

The legs easily extend from the Nike Performance Carry when the bag is set down, and the legs swing out far enough to create a very stable base. There is a foot located outside of the base of the bag – when the bag is set down at an angle, the foot activates the extension of the legs. The foot doesn’t protrude below or past the back of the bag, so it didn’t create many issues when used on a riding or push cart, but we slightly prefer bags that incorporate the “foot” within the bag itself, which minimizes an risk of catching on carts and the like.

The legs have rubber tips on them the same size as the legs, so there isn’t any additional area to increase the stability or prevent sinking into wet ground. The legs hold securely next to the bag throughout use. When legs are not in use, such as when the bag is on a cart or packed in a travel bag, you can secure the legs snugly using elastic loops near the bottom of the bag.


85 / B-

Carrying Impressions

Yes, you may cry foul about us comparing the Nike Performance to others in this category, but it is marketed as a carry bag, so carry it we will! While the bag rates as one of the heaviest carry bags we have ever tested, we did take solace in how comfortable the bag back padding and shoulder straps are.

  • Weight. The Nike Performance Carry Bag weighs in at a portly 7.0 pounds. Time to grab a push cart!).
  • Straps. Nike’s new strap system features a “revolving double-strap system.” In non-marketing-speak, there is a revolving buckle that attaches the left shoulder strap to the point where the other 3 straps meet, supplemented by additional padding. This system allows the weight to be evenly distributed and the straps to be adjusted to fit comfortably. We are fans of the straps, which were quite comfortable. We couldn’t quite pinpoint why we thought they were more comfortable – it could be the amount of padding in each strap, which replaced the “Air” technology, combined with the ergonomic fit on the shoulders from the unique slight “S” shape of the straps (which can also be found on the Nike Vapor X). Given the weight of the bag, this is nice plus.
  • Padding. The bag features three sizable pads for the lower back, which provide more than enough cushion to provide protection from the bag and clubs. Given the weight of the Nike Performance Carry you may work up a sweat toting it around the course, so you’ll appreciate that both back pads are ventilated and there is space between them. It doesn’t mean your back is going to be cool throughout a hot round, but there will be some benefit.

88 / B+

Pockets/Storage

The Nike Performance Carry Bag has a whopping 10 total pockets, 8 of which are zippered. Talk about organization!

  • The largest pocket, intended for clothing, runs along the right side of the bag, with 3 small pockets (including a waterproof velour-lined valuables pocket, which on many competing bags is found on the inside of the garment pocket) along the outside. On the inside of the garment pocket an elastic strap is attached to the bag, allowing players to hold items in place and prevent them from all piling up at the bottom of the pocket.
  • There is a medium-sized pocket on the right side of the spine, near the base (we used it primarily for gloves).
  • On the left side of the bag is a lined “cooler” pocket, the same size as the pocket on the right side at the base. On the outside of the cooler pocket is a half-mesh pocket to store water bottles (with holes at the base for liquid to drain).
  • On the spine of the bag, sitting in between pockets on the left and right, is a “quick access sleeve” with two openings where you can store extra golf balls.
  • To the right of the “quick access sleeve” is another zippered pocket, which provides space behind the sleeve, and a smaller zippered pocket that is just below the bottom opening to the sleeve (which we used for extra tees and ball markers).
  • Just to the right side of the inflexible carry handle is a row of openings for 4 tees, as well as a pen pocket.

The Performance Carry also includes an adjustable cord and sleeve on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella, a round metal ring for attaching a towel or other accessories at the top edge of the bag, and a Velcro glove patch.

We have never been fans of the “quick access sleeve” on the spine of this family of bags. It looks absurd, and doesn’t speed anything up compared to just putting balls in a normal pocket. We would like to put in a request for a more standard small pocket located at the top of the access sleeve.


96 / A-

Rain Hood

We are pleased that Nike has kept essentially the same rain hood attachment design from their prior generation bags, as it is without a doubt one of our favorites. To attach the hood, simply snap the 4 buttons at the top edge of the bag, and then hook the elastic trap on the hood around a plastic notch between the legs of the bag. Zip the hood closed and you’re all set. Very straightforward and it secures well. There are also cutouts at the base of the hood to allow the hood to extend a couple of inches down from the top of the bag and still provide space for the metal ring (to attach accessories) and the points where the shoulder straps attach to the bag to move freely, while keeping the rain out of your bag. For those that aren’t just fair-weather players, this is absolutely one of the rain hoods you want to have.


95 / A

Style

This bag is just plain good looking. Just enough swooshes (7, excluding zipper handles) and highlights of trim to make a statement without being over-the-top. The handle seems to stand out a bit (it is substantial, but maybe that is just the kind required to carry a bag of this weight).

The Nike Performance Carry Bag comes in 4 different color combinations:

  • Black with silver highlights
  • Black with yellow highlights and silver trim (our favorite),
  • Black and silver body, with red trim, and
  • Dark blue with royal blue highlights and silver trim.

88 / B+

Innovation

The main “innovation” with the Nike Performance Carry bag is the new S-curved shoulder straps, mentioned above. They are a great addition to the bag and we hope to see them on more bags in the future.

Not new to Nike, but new to the carry bag category, is the golf ball “access sleeve” (which we don’t care for, as mentioned above). Nike continues with other past innovations including the Velcro glove patch, which is increasingly available on carry bags.


81 / B-

Cost/Value

At a category-high $240 in our current test group (ouch!), the Nike Performance Carry Bag is beyond all others. Though it offers good looks, clear organization of clubs, lots of storage options, and comfortable shoulder straps, at this price it’s tough not to recommend prospective buyers take a look at the other Nike carry bag options, or manufacturers that offer good quality at a significantly lower price point.