By Jeffrey A. Rendall; Images Courtesy of Ogio
BLUFFDALE, UTAH – ‘It’ll only have to last one more trip,’ I thought as I hauled the dusty soft cover bag out of the closet (one that I’d used for over a decade), hoping against hope that it would survive the rigors and apathy of airline baggage handlers for just one more pair of flights.
For years I’d vowed to find a better way of traveling with my golf clubs. Toting a traditional soft travel bag that merely adds a layer of protection around my regular golf bag had become tedious – and risky and in the economic sense – leading me to seek alternatives. I’d seen several versions of hard-shelled ‘coffin-like’ outer covers that would alleviate the need to take out insurance when I flew, but just try picking those things up off the floor. And even worse, try stuffing those behemoths into a rental car’s trunk along with your wife’s suitcase full of shoes and the kids’ pool toys once you arrive in paradise.
Thankfully, I found the answer I’d been searching for with Ogio International, and more specifically, its all-in-one cart and travel bag – affectionately known as ‘The Rig.’ Up until a few months ago, I’d always associated Ogio bags with X-Games level skateboarding, but was pleasantly surprised to find they also offered a complete line of golf bags – including, as it turned out, a very unique kind of travel bag.
‘The Rig’ not only offers the durable construction that will safely transport your sticks from home to your destination of choice, it also doubles as a cart bag once you’re at the golf course. No need to transfer your accoutrements to another bag, or to peel the squished golf components from their over-matched soft carrier. You merely take off the protective top from ‘The Rig,’ then plop it on a golf cart.
And you’re ready to go. It even has enough storage room for your shoes, hat, digital camera, golf balls, sweaters, jackets and a season’s supply of stogies. Everything you’ll need for golf fits in this bag, and there’s even some room leftover for your trip’s toiletries, as we found out.
|Ogio's 'The Rig' looks like a monster, but it's of the functional variety.|
‘The Rig’s’ Co-Designer, Joe Christensen, explains how the company got into golf bags in the first place: “All of us at OGIO are driven by excitement, passion and innovation. This creativity and passion was fostered by company founder Mike Pratt – and it’s these attributes that makes our products different and better. Though Mike doesn’t claim to be a good enough golfer to carry a handicap, he’s an engineer who always sees opportunity for improvement. And it was one day in 1996 when he was traveling with a golf bag that led to getting into this end of the business.”
Christensen continues, “Golf has an interesting inherent contradiction – it has deep roots in tradition and history, yet players will use (and hunger for) any innovation that will improve their games. While clubs and balls are constantly on the cutting edge of technology, golf bags have remained in the ‘traditional’ realm of the game. OGIO saw the opportunity to bring innovation and functionality, as well as our own fresh designs and fun to golf – transforming the golf bag from a traditional accessory into innovative, modern equipment.”
“It’s giving golfers what they never knew they always wanted,” Christensen added.
It’s true – until traveling halfway across the world with the Ogio bag, I never knew I always wanted an all-in-one travel/cart golf bag. First off, I never thought such a thing was possible, strictly because of size limitations. Next, would any usable golf bag be ‘hard’ enough to withstand air handling and still be user-friendly on the golf course?
‘The Rig’ answered both those concerns.
Christensen explains: “‘The Rig’ is kind of a hybrid of a hard and soft cover, but it goes one step further – it still is a golf bag. It has the pockets and storage of a soft-sided bag cover, and it also has the protection of a hard shell. But its furthest departure from the norm is that you don’t have to take your bag and clubs out of the shell once you get there – you play golf right out of it. You go from the airport to the course and the only thing you need to change is your shoes (which it also holds). That was ‘The Rig’s’ driving premise, to go beyond the traditional and expected – and to provide an all-in-one solution.”
Though certainly not a motivator for me, I would’ve thought something like ‘The Rig’ was introduced in answer to newer vintage regulations mandating that airlines will no longer be liable for damage to soft-cover golf bags. Christensen says ‘The Rig’ was ahead of its time, in that it was developed long before the regulations became an issue (he thinks Delta first instituted the hard case rules just three years ago).
As previously noted, ‘The Rig’ holds just about everything you’ll ever need on a golf course, and then some. It’s designed so that the shafts of the golf clubs are placed to the outside of the bag, leaving a cavernous space to the inside for storage. In contrast, ‘traditional’ golf bags have storage in pockets on the outside, with the golf shafts occupying the interior room.
“Every inch is utilized in its compact form,” Christensen added.
If there’s one drawback with ‘The Rig,’ it’s weight. The bag itself weighs 19 pounds to begin with. Add everything else, and you’re easily pushing the magic number of fifty pounds – the threshold which many airlines have set for maximum weight of bags (it has wheels, so you just pull it through the airport). In other words, ‘The Rig’ almost has too much room.
It also stands pretty tall on the golf cart. Hardly a big deal when you consider the convenience that the bag offers, but it takes up a lot of room on the back of the cart as well. It does fit, however.
In addition, I would not recommend it for tours of walking-only courses, even if pull-carts are allowed – as we recently discovered on a venture to Bandon Dunes in Oregon. ‘The Rig’ was simply too bulky to drag up and down golf holes. It’s strictly a cart bag – which is fine, because that’s what it’s designed to be. Don’t try to turn it into something it’s not, and you’ll enjoy all the benefits.
Finally, ‘The Rig’ received numerous compliments from playing partners and golf course staff alike. The uniqueness of the concept alone was enough to attract attention – then when they found out how it really works, folks were even more impressed.
|Ogio makes 'regular' golf bags as well.|
Traveling with golf clubs will never be easy, but Ogio’s ‘The Rig’ makes it much less of a pain. Christensen puts it best: “Everything can be improved, and innovation is what we do best. The cool thing is that with the airline regulations and such, ‘The Rig’ is more relevant today and more innovative and functional than anything out there as it was when it was introduced in '96.”
That’s the truth. It’s something you never knew you always wanted. Trust me on that one.
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