So when you play disc golf you need to carry your discs, right? Right. Well, what better way than to carry them in a bag?!? OK, so it’s not that simple is it? We’ve all seen them, the chosen few who steadfastly hold to their actual ‘back packs’ that they used in high school. They fish around inside them before each shot, they search for discs, and they lose discs all the time because they’re not organized enough. I take one look at my bag (keeping in mind I’m a neat freak) and if I don’t see five midrange, seven fairway drivers, and five distance drivers- I know I’m short a disc. If you look at the bag Nate Doss carries- it seems to be organized by color. No matter what the system, keeping them in a semi-organized bag becomes a necessity once you take your golf game seriously.
In just the past year or so, there have been a few new design changes that have really given the veterans (5 to 10 years minimum) a reason to re-think their bag choice. Two years ago, if you were carrying a disc golf bag, you were probably carrying it on a set of Phenix Quad Shocks. They’re a comfortable set of straps designed to make it possible to carry a pile of discs somewhere around your lower back. It seemed like either Phenix had a iron-clad patent on their design, or nobody else wanted to bother, because they were more or less the only high quality set of bag straps out on the market. Now, not only are there a few alternatives to Quad Shocks, there are also a handful of bags that start completely from scratch with their design ideas. The basis for many of these ideas is to bring the weight of the bag higher up on the back and build the straps right into the bag itself. There is even a bag that builds a stool into the frame, so that every time you set the bag down you have a seat to sit on. The common theme in all of the new designs though, is to integrate the straps and the bag into a single unit. No more shopping around for a bag, and then the straps.
Honestly, I’d like to try all of these new bags. I don’t have the strongest back on earth, yet I have an obsessive love-affair with colorful plastic. So like most mortals, I carry too many discs and the end goal is to make it easier to carry them around. It seems like long term, I may end up switching to a back-pack style bag to keep the bulk of the load in a healthier position on my back. When you travel to courses in the south-east or south-west, you see the push carts everywhere; as they avoid carrying the discs altogether. Baby carriages and ball-golf caddy systems converted into disc golf shopping carts are the norm: including the one Barry Schultz has been using in 2011, which has a built in seat. I believe it’s called the “Go Cart” or something like this. These, in my opinion, are only practical on the flatter terrain courses, and would simply not be an option for a guy like me who drives around a company vehicle on most weekdays. There’s just not enough room for that sort of thing, not to mention the fact that I’d become the ridicule of every other disc golfer at my home course… I think we can all picture a hill or a rock on a favorite course where having a wheeled disc golf bag would be a joke.
For now, I have a great quality bag made by Latitude 64- their “Pro Bag.” It is extremely well built and very sturdy. Everything on it is double stitched and made from a thick material that can take lots of abuse, and believe it or not, it was one of the less expensive models out there for full sized bags. However, as much as I love this quality bag, I’m considering a move to the back pack style. Perhaps all those utilitarian folks who carry their old LLBean back packs around as their disc golf bag are actually onto something? It’s not a very controversial stance, but I for one, am going to wait it out and see which cream rises to the top in this rush to make the best back pack style bag race. Can one design out perform the rest in the same way the Phenix Quad Shocks ruled the market for many years? Time will tell my friends… time will totally- fucking- tell.