The recently announced end to the ban on golfing breathed much needed hope in to Wisconsin golfers, who have otherwise been dealing with a generally cold, wet Spring and Governor Evers’ “Safer-at-Home” order while we all do our part to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus pandemic.
To say there hasn’t been much to look forward to would be an understatement. One thing I’ve been really looking forward to, though, is my new golf bag: The Vessel Player 2.0 stand bag.
While not yet a household name, regular watchers of the PGA and LPGA Tour have seen Vessel’s products… a lot.
The top luxury bag brand on Tour, customized Vessel bags are used by the likes of Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Steve Stricker, Patrick Reed and about 30 others, not to mention Michelle Wie and 38 other LPGA players and another 100 male and female Tour pros who use Vessel’s stock models. Steph Curry, Michael Phelps and other celebs who value sleek looks combined with unmatched quality and customization also tote Vessel bags.
But probably their most high-profile commission was for the 2019 President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne (link: Vessel Goes to the 2019 President’s Cup in Australia). These bags were awesome!
I was first introduced to Vessel at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where I spent at least 30 minutes gawking at their staff, cart and stand options.
From premium-quality microsuede-backed synthetic leather, to durable weatherproof zippers, premium leather handles and purpose-built functionality that’s “Filled with purpose,” Vessel bags have all the look and feel of a true premium brand.
It’s that purpose-built functionality that I love most about my new bag: Convenience, comfort, security and good looks all come together seamlessly.
The straps rest comfortably across my neck and shoulders. A magnetic tees / rangefinder pocket keeps on-course tools quickly accessible while not requiring constant zipping and unzipping, and a pocket-inside-pocket lockable valuables pouch makes almost too much sense.
“Filled with purpose” goes beyond golf bags, too. For every Vessel bag purchased, the company donates a school backpack to a child in need. My bag, labeled 56479, represents a whole lot of good deeds on the company’s behalf.
Vessel’s mission, likewise, is sewn in to each bag and is a breath of fresh air for the soul:
Inspired by love
Handcrafted to perfection
Made for a unique mission
One that only you can fulfill
Life is an adventure
Experience it to the utmost
Carry what you treasure
Reach out eagerly and without fear
Become who you were created to be
You are a Vessel
Filled with Purpose
Sign me up. I’m bought in and already have luggage and a duffel on order.
Because of the “Safer-at-Home” order and its coinciding ban on golf, I haven’t had a chance to put my new bag to the test on the course yet. So rather than fully reviewing it from experience, I’ll touch on my perceptions as they pertain to four key features of golf bags: Storage and features, durability, weight and carriage, and options and customization.
Storage and Features
The Player 2.0 has some really smart features that I’ve never seen on other bags. Two of these that I really like are the hidden lockable valuables pouch and the magnetic range finder / tees pocket.
Located above the central belly panel, the magnetic pouch holds strong while opening and closing with ease and is sizable enough for a range finder and other odds and ends. This is a really cool feature.
The valuables pocket is a waterproof pouch located inside the garment pocket, providing a secure space for wallets, rings and so on, and includes a hanging lock.
The Player 2.0 is available in a 6-way or 14-way configuration. I chose 6-way as when I’m practicing I like to bring an extra club or two (usually both woods and a 1-iron, for example, or sometimes an extra wedge).
The cooler pouch is another nice feature. Most bags these days have a cooler pocket, but Vessel’s feels more substantial and is perfect for holding a water bottle.
There is a nice video on the Player 2.0’s product page, linked here:
One of the problem areas with every golf bag I’ve used (other than my Seamus Fescue Project Sunday bag, which I use only during ideal weather conditions) is the zippers. Inevitably, standard zippers rust, snag and even crack.
While my Player 2.0 bag has not been exposed to any elements yet, there is a noticeable difference in the quality of the YKK waterproof zippers they use compared to anything else I’ve used, and I expect them to hold up well.
The Player 2.0 utilizes microsuede-backed synthetic leather (a very high-quality microfiber), which is an ideal material for long-lasting golf bags. Even colored white [and meant to be used outdoors], the fabric is known for its abrasion, fade and heat resistance, toughness and cleanability.
The Player 2.0 also now features carbon fiber legs. I’m guessing they probably won’t withstand my golf cart’s wheels (like my old Sun Mountain bag’s didn’t when I backed over it in the garage – not the bag’s fault, obviously!), but they should be as or more durable than anything else on the market.
Weight and Carriage
At 5.7 pounds, the Player 2.0 is about a pound and a half heavier than Vessel’s Lite Stand model, and within the acceptable range for a light-weight carry bag.
The two-way, interchangeable straps are soft and feature an eight-point pivot to provide an extraordinarily comfortable carry.
Options and Customization
If you don’t find exactly what you like in their stock bags, Vessel has a comprehensive custom bag process that I recommend playing around with online:
Basically everything aesthetic is customizable (including 22 colors and 7 material types for 3 different sections of the Player 2.0, for example; logos and embroidery can also be added).
Even though he uses all black, Stephen Curry’s bag is a terrific example of what can be done through Vessel’s custom bag process (Golf Digest link: Stephen Curry’s Got a Brand New Golf Bag — and it’s Straight Fire):
Model: Player 2.0 stand bag
Base Price: $345