Published on September 24th, 2012 | by Jeff Shelman6
Jones Sports Golf Bags – A Retro Alternative?
Choosing a golf bag is a very personal decision. What is good for one person might be totally wrong with another. A cart bag, obviously, doesn’t work for a walker and somebody who rides most of the time is going to consider some features to be more important than I do. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer.
I am a golfer who walks. And, most of the time, I’m a golfer who walks and carries his own clubs. I’m also a golfer who is constantly in search of the right golf bag.
My biggest complaint with most “carry” bags is the size. They are simply too big, bulky and often poorly designed for what I want.
I don’t need 17 pockets. I certainly don’t want individual slots for each and every club. I don’t want a stand that only works some of the time. And I don’t want backpack straps that are a challenge to get on and off.
Maybe my wants are too great, but I’d like a bag that is durable, but not heavy; light, but not on the verge of constantly falling apart. I’d like it to have enough room for what I need, but not have pockets that I couldn’t possibly need.
Right now I have two bags that I rotate between. The first is a Ping 4 Under bag from a year ago. It’s largely decent as it can work as a carry bag, it’s adequate when strapped to a push cart and it’s fine on a cart. But like so many Ping bags, the legs droop when you carry it, there are a couple of spots where the stitching is getting loose and I once saw a guy’s white 4 Under just start to rip.
I also have a tiny Titleist with no stand and a single strap. I recently got a replacement part for the cushioning over the metal divider (kudos to Titleist customer service). I really don’t have much to complain about this bag, other than the balance just isn’t quite right with it.
So I am constantly looking. Of late, I find myself intrigued with the relaunch of the Jones Golf Bag brand. What I’m trying to figure out is whether I’m intrigued with Jones because of nostalgia or whether I really want one of these.
For those of you under 40, you probably aren’t going to get my fascination with the Jones bag. But if you played high school or college golf in the ’70s or ‘80s, you certainly remember the brand. Jones owned the high school and college bag landscape during that time, similar to the way Ping owned that market for a long time.
High school teams would show up at an event and six matching Jones bags would get pulled out of the back of a school van. I had a red and white Jones with the name of my hometown stitched to the side of the bag. We were supposed to return the bag at the end of the golf season, but I was far from the only guy who tried to hold on to the bag for as long as possible.
The bags were simple. There was one strap, three pockets and a sleeve for an umbrella. They had a hard plastic bottom that more than one junior golfer pounded a 6-iron into after hitting a bad shot. I think everybody knew some hothead who had to use duct tape to fix the bottom of his Jones bag.
The Original Jones Bag (pitctured above) was relaunched this summer. It looks a whole lot like what I remember. I’m still waiting to see my first new Jones bag in the wild, but have seen some pictures on the Internet. The product looks good.
Later this month the Jones Player’s Series Bag (pictured right) is slated to be released. From pictures than can be seen on this Golfwrx.com thread, the new bag looks like it has been influenced by the Mackenzie Walker. I’m very interested in seeing more of this bag as it could be the answer for me.
Maybe my interest in Jones has to do with memories of a time when I’d ride my bike to the golf course and play as many holes as I wanted before having to punch in and pick the driving range. I look back at that time very fondly. But some of it has to do with what Jones is trying to do.
For example, this content on this Jones blog post is very much in tune with what I want:
“There is something about that experience, the walking aspect, which brings an unexplainable bliss alongside a number of other benefits unique to the game of golf.
Jones has long strived to retain golf’s purest values: a simple bag design, minimal branding, traditional features, and above all else encouraging golfers to play the game as it was meant to be played– by walking. The soul of the Jones Sports Company was created to preserve the essence of the game’s origin, and has created products solely with the walking golfer’s benefit in mind. The Original Jones is a lightweight, single strap golf bag, with the bag’s key features at the tips of the player’s fingertips. What more could a player ask for? Everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
It’s clear that something is lost the moment you strap your bag to the back of a cart. The round becomes less about enjoying your round and playing to one’s potential, and becomes entirely about getting through the round as soon as possible. You lose the ability to detect the subtle contours of the course and to appreciate the manicured grass of the fairway. Instead, you race through holes and in a blur you miss much of what the course has to offer. David Fay, former president of the USGA, has written, “We strongly believe that walking is the most enjoyable way to play golf and that the use of carts is detrimental to the game. This negative trend needs to be stopped now before it becomes accepted that riding in a cart is the way to play golf.
Jones is dedicated to righting this trend, and supports the notion that more players need to walk more often. Take the time to breathe in some fresh air, stretch your legs, get some exercise, and most importantly enjoy the game of golf.”
I love to walk. I like the exercise. I like how it clears my head and makes me happy. I like how it is an escape from real life.
Now I’m just trying to find the perfect walking bag. Will a move to the past be the answer?
Read more from Jeff on his golf blog, OnlyGolfMatters.com