A refreshed version of the Jones Golf Bag from decades past is not only easy on the back, it’s (still) a pleasure to carry.
Your father may have one rolled up and accumulating dust in his attic. You may have carried one yourself during your college days. The Jones Golf Bag was a mainstay for golfers who wanted or needed to travel light in the 1970s and ’80s.
Cab Driver George Jones started making the bags in a basement in 1971, probably not expecting sales would steadily rise to more than a million units. Their rise in popularity was astounding, but then it seems so was their decline. Their reign faded when Ping and other companies began selling shiny new bags that had a lot more pockets and outside space for a name, college mascot, sponsors.
During the late 20th- and early 21st centuries, the Jones golf bag was almost entirely forgotten. But when Jones Sports Company of Portland, Ore. formed with a purposed to bring back the bag, an entire community cropped up–again with exceptional speed. Whether for nostalgia or convenience (or both), Jones appears to have touched a nerve. Kudos to the new company for having the foresight to not only revive the old original, but to also deliver a larger product catalog featuring a combination of both classic and freshly designed bags and accessories designed for more modern standards.
The important question, though: “Does the new gear stand up to modern demands or is the memory better than reality for Jones fans?” We recently tried a true classic in order to come up with an answer.
Bag in a Box
I personally have never owned a Jones bag and thus had no high or low expectations taking the knife to the packing tape. That all changed when I pulled back the flaps and–whoooosh!–some long-buried memories came flowing back. I hadn’t realized it before but this was the bag that my close school friend’s older brother owned.
He was that college guy that kids like me looked at and wondered where they were going and what they were doing. My experience with him was limited, however, to a few clues–one of them being his leaving for a round of golf, his clubs in a Jones bag, making that clink-clank-clink sound as he went on his way. I imagine that, in the U.S. at least, there are plenty of people who will have similar recall.
A lot of people will enjoy that the Jones Golf Bags company has faithfully recreated a bag that celebrates the characteristics of the original that people fell in love with, such as:
The Same Old Features. The classic bag I pulled from the box has medium brown-colored accents (a padded single strap with a belt-style adjustment and leather borders, for example), but the main waxed canvas color is a lighter shade–almost tan–that has a “pre-worn” and slightly smudgy character. That’s meant as an entirely positive observation.
The top–a cap with two padded dividers–and bottom are made from a sturdy black plastic that can take a beating. The bottom mold has a hole for drainage and “Jones Sports Co.” embossed in a large, sporty font with no extra treatment.
I really like that the company has kept the branding on the bottom (really throughout the bag) to its most subtle. For a bag that will spend a lot of time on its side, the bottom becomes a property with high visibility. A lot of companies would use it as a billboard, but Jones keeps it nice and classy.
The current version keeps another signature trait from the original–a carry handle made from two strips of intertwined leather and married to the bag core with rivets. It’s a strong connection, with a stylish “twist.”
As storage goes, there’s one full-length zippered pocket, a dual zip ball and accessory pocket, and a full-length loop for carrying an umbrella or, as some prefer, a putter.
The Same Old Feel. The waxed canvas that forms the bulk of the bag’s foundation couldn’t be more rugged. It’s the consistency of a fireman’s jacket or even the fire-hose itself. As durability is concerned, it’s a lifetime bag. It would be hard to pierce, puncture, rip, shred, or otherwise weaken its integrity.
The Same Old Charm. There’s no real spine to the Jones original, so it can be rolled up, tied with string, and tossed into the trunk of a car or a closet. I hang mine on a coat rack just inside the door to my writing studio. I could easily store it out of view but I like how the bag adds some extra character to the entryway.
The Same Old Maintenance Requirements. None. The Jones Classic is a bag one should forget keeping clean the moment it’s unwrapped. Without legs or any stable standing structure, it’s a bag meant to lay down on the grass. You should consider any mud, dirt, grease, or other mess it picks up as a cost of doing battle. You could use it daily forever and it will only get better.
As for what you’re carrying, the bag will almost certainly keep its contents clean and dry no matter what it faces.
The Same Old Spirit. While this truly classic Jones looked smaller than I recall, for the sake of comparison I loaded into it all fourteen clubs from my current set. I was pleasantly surprised that everything fit, although I felt that by fully loading it I was ignoring something of this bag’s purpose. Jones bags are designed for grab-and-go moments–for casual afternoons when it’s less important what’s in the bag than who one is playing (and especially walking) with on any given day.
It’s a bag that looks and feels matched for a second set, a collection of hickories, or even just six or seven hand-me-down clubs that have been screaming to be played but have not quite found their chance. All that said, I took the bag out under each circumstance and found, indeed, that a full modern set with oversized metalwood heads fit snugly but just fine.
The Jones Bag will be viewed in wholly different ways, depending on one’s station in life. Some will love the dusty treasure chest of memories it unlocks. The young students of the game can unintentionally abuse it, as kids do, without getting into much trouble. Regardless of age, the bag will prove suitable for some of golf”s best moments–impromptu evening plans with friends.
The bag’s creators say they will continually produce this and other bags in a variety of colors and styles, but tell me the company won’t stray too far from style of the original. To see the latest styles and updated prices–or otherwise just keep up with the Jones’–click the link below.