History of the Modern Golf Bag
Legend has it that during the 1421 battle of Baugé, French wartime allies introduced a Scottish regiment to “chole,” a 1300s forerunner of golf. Historians say that players used wooden sticks to hit leather balls along the ground towards a goal. Scottish soldiers brought chole back to Scotland in 1421, but the game was immediately banned because it distracted Scotland’s military from training. Eventually, peace with England arrived in 1502; James IV signed the Treaty of Glasgow, and the game of golf would become a recognized sport.
In those early days, players would typically carry their different clubs or simply bind them together with some sort of cord.
In the 1900s a modern golf ball was invented as well as the first club-carrying golf bag. The original bags were of the size and shape of our modern Sunday bags. These original golf bags were constructed from canvas with metal ends to offer protection and shape, and had a small 4” opening at the top.
As the game grew in popularity and moved from the pasture to the golf course, more specialized clubs were invented and golfers started carrying more clubs and needed a larger bag in which to carry them.
In 1939, the USGA adopted the 14-club rule which limited the number of clubs a golfer could carry in competition and thus set a solid pillar for determining the size of a golf bag.
In the 1970’s, Rick Reimers, a golf pro in San Jose, California, recognized room for improvement in the design of golf bags. At that time, golf carry bags were still relatively heavy and constructed from cotton and vinyl. Reimers’ quest to design a superior, lightweight golf bag led him to the materials and construction techniques being used by backpack manufacturers. The first golf bag from Reimers’ company, Sun Mountain, was the revolutionary BACK 9 golf carry bag. The BACK 9 was made from nylon resulting in a bag that was durable and less than half the weight of traditional golf bags.
The BACK 9 was more revolutionary than fiscally successful and set the stage for the introduction of the FRONT 9 in 1984. The FRONT 9 offered the light weight and durability of the BACK 9 with the addition of a molded top and bottom. The Front 9 led to the Ping L8, which Sun Mountain manufactured for Ping. Shortly, the FRONT 9 was copied to the point that its form became the industry standard for carry bags.
In 1986, Sun Mountain made what is considered by most to be the single biggest breakthrough in the modern golf bag with the invention of the first golf bag with built-in legs. The stand bag was born, and it was called ECLIPSE®.
Several industry firsts and patented advancements followed for Sun Mountain: the drop-top that allows easier access to short irons and the ability to pull multiple clubs at a time, the roller bottom stand mechanism and Y-spring that enable the legs to retract tight to the bag, elliptical-topped bags that carry closer to the body, and more.
In 1996 Sun Mountain unveiled their Dual X-Strap® Technology that allows the weight of the clubs to be shared across both shoulders in an easy on /easy off design.
In 2001, Sun Mountain led the way with the introduction of the first full-featured ultralight stand bags with the Superlight 3.5 and Superlight 2.5, weighing 3.5 and 2.5 lbs. respectively.
2003 marked the invention of the Roller Top™ handle. The Roller Top handle gave golfers a solid place to grip and allowed removing the bag from the shoulder and activating the legs in one fluid motion. This handle gave way to the patented top-collar handle that’s now on almost all Sun Mountain bags and copied widely throughout the industry.
In 2007 Sun Mountain introduced the first waterproof golf bag, H2NO. In 2008, the company unveiled the ZERO-G® stand bag with a hip belt that allows the weight of the clubs to transfer to the lower body and give the feeling of weightlessness.
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As the game of golf continues to evolve, Sun Mountain’s “Ahead of Time Design” motto drives the company to continually design and refine golf equipment.