Santa visited the Seifert household early this year, delivering to my door step a large branded box from a golf company that over the past couple years has become my all-time favorite: Vessel.
Perfectly marrying world-class aesthetics and industry-leading innovation and functionality, Vessel owns the market on high-end luxury golf bags, and nobody’s even close.
And it’s not just the looks with Vessel. Yes, their bags are gorgeous, but when someone asks me about my Player stand or Lux cart series models I should start leading with “How much time do you have?”
I can talk endlessly about the functionality of Vessel Bags. I show off their ingenious strap system, sturdy base and unparalleled stand leg setup, durable leather touchpoints and [on many models] zippers, magnetically closing cooler-lined bottle holders, velour-lined pockets and, of course, my favorite feature: Their magnetic rangefinder pockets.
Everything on a Vessel bag is designed and built with purpose. The zippers conceal and journey smoothly along their tracks with no rust or snags (even after years of use), the carbon fiber legs are strong and hold steady, and the magnetic pockets close with a satisfactory thwap. Their standard synthetic leather, even in white, holds up for the long haul and withstands staining or discoloration.
The whole thing comes together superbly and with the utmost quality. These beauties are built to last!
Why a Lite Stand bag?
Vessel’s Player series bags are light, around 5-1/2 to 6 lbs, but nothing like the VLS and its 3.9 lbs weight when empty.
It has plenty of storage, sleek and stylish aesthetics, sits nicely on the shoulders and is the perfect equipment carrier for minimalist golfers and those who travel with their gear.
The VLS is ridiculously comfortable, and while the majority of its material is nylon it also has several leather touchpoints. The side and top lifting handles, for example, have a sumptuous look and feel.
Although Vessel is best known for their premium synthetic leather fabric, the new nylon twill that adorns the VLS is lightweight, strong and stunning, especially with the subtle black-on-black harlequin pattern and red accents of the DXR colorway.
It’s not just the weight and fabric that make this such a comfortable bag, but also Vessel’s patented Equilibrium 2.0 carrying system. I was already familiar with, and love, this system because of my Player series bag, and Vessel has elevated that experience on the VLS by situating the straps nearer the top, making it rest higher on the back and shoulders and ultimately a little more comfortable.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Equilibrium 2.0 system, it involves a series of four snap-in connectors that attach to a 4-section circular button that allows each of the tabs/connections to move within its own quarter of the hub’s circumference.
Hopefully that made sense, but if not here’s a picture that shows it. Basically, open movement keeps the padded straps from bunching up or falling in to an uncomfortable position like most bags will, and allows the VLS to always sit comfortably and relaxed in the right position (without the club end of the bag tipping, for example, or the base constantly bouncing off your lower back) along your shoulders.
These are the sort of game-changing innovations golf enthusiasts have come to expect from Vessel. They are constantly improving and regularly make what’s drifted along as industry standards so much better, and a lot of that innovation can be found in the new VLS.
If you’re looking to buy a new bag and want the very best, Vessel is your brand. What type of bag is right for you, though, or for the golfer you’re shopping for this Holidays season?
What Vessel golf bag is right for you?
Golf bags come in four general categories:
- Sunday bags – Sunday bags typically carry 6-10 clubs and very little else. Almost nobody needs one, but when done right (like my Seamus Fescue Project bag) it’s a heck of a luxury
- Stand bags – stand bags are also known as carry bags and include Vessel’s VLS, VLX (their lightest leather bag) and Player series; the majority of bags ordered by amateur players are stand bags, which offer a comfortable carry and sufficient storage
- Cart bags – if walking isn’t an option, or if you use a push or motorized cart when playing (like my Bat-Caddy X4R), a cart bag allows you to carry a ton of extra supplies [and/or drinks]
- Staff bags – these are the big guys you see on the PGA Tour but almost never “in the wild” / at local courses; lugging these around all day allows caddies to truly earn their wages
Vessel is probably best known for its staff bags. They design and provide many of the bags used for major/professional team competitions (eg: Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup), and more Tour professionals’ caddies lug Vessel than any other brand. Tiger Woods, for example, and Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Steve Stricker, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and over 100 others on the PGA and LPGA Tours use their staff bags.
Unless you want to carry it yourself, though, chances are you’re not looking for a staff bag. They are huge in comparison to a stand model, and with just one strap need to be carried on one side of the body (versus across the back/shoulders with a double-strap system).
If you’re looking for a Vessel stand bag, to me the decision between a lite stand and regular stand model should come down to one key factor: Material.
Their opulent leather fabric is almost synonymous with Vessel Bags, so I was a little hesitant to get one without it. The nylon twill is nothing if not luxurious, though. It’s sleek look and feel has all the high-end appeal you’d expect from such an elevated brand.
If you can’t imagine getting a Vessel bag without leather, your options will be the VLX or Player bags. The Player series has a 6-way divider and slightly more storage than the VLX (4-way top, like the VLS), which is lighter (under 5 lbs vs. almost 6) than the Player and a little less expensive ($335 vs. $395 base).
If you’re buying an ultra-premium bag, by the way, I recommend having it personalized. Vessel offers three options for this service, including:
- Name (+$35)
- Logo (+$85)
- Name & Logo (+$120)
I am actively looking to have a logo made for my website, so for now just have WiscoGolfAddict.com and my last name added to the front pocket panels on my bags. For a good idea of what logos do look like on their bags, though, here’s a photo of my friend Keith Lally’s VLX stand bag during a recent round together at Ozaukee (and make sure to give him a follow on Instagram at @thesweetspotgolf!):
Buying the Vessel VLS Stand Bag
The VLS stand comes in at Vessel’s lowest price point at $305 and is available right now for $244 using the BLK20FRI Black Friday discount code (the DXR Black version is a little pricier at $365 base). This is the lowest price you’ll ever find for a new Vessel bag, making it the perfect time to upgrade your golf equipment game.
It is also the perfect time to buy one as a present. Whether a stand bag for the weekend warrior, a cart bag for a player who only rides or uses a mobile cart, or a staff bag for the player who’s consistently competing in caddied tournaments, just imagine the way their eyes will light up opening a Vessel bag this Christmas morning!
If you’re looking to give them something they’ll cherish forever, this could very well be it.