The app holds up, the bag arrives, and we put it through its paces.
Two months ago I highlighted a slick online golf bag customization app produced by San Diego, Calif.-based Vessel Bags. In the brief announcement (http://linkd.in/16cMQFM) I praised the company for delivering a super-simple tool for personalizing staff or stand bags–with custom logos and all.
I also mentioned that Vessel, which claims to be the top manufacturer of custom staff bags for pros (including John Daly, Cristie Kerr, and Michelle Wie), has ZERO restrictions on order quantities. In other words, there’s no need to open an invoice for a couple dozen bags just for the privilege of customization. Vessel can deliver a fully personalized individual bag–quantity of ONE–for $350 (stand bag) and $650 for the crowd-pleasing staff bag. Those prices are hardly more than one can expect to pay retail for a staff (“fan”) bag imprinted with the logos of mainstream brands you are NOT being paid to carry.
Vessel Bags is the only company I’m aware of that brings reasonably priced STAFF bags to the masses. But considering that two months ago I had only just ordered a staff bag of my own design, I left the biggest question unanswered: “Is Vessel selling quality goods here or third-rate junk?” Now, having received the bag and sufficiently put it through its paces, I feel I can now put that question to rest….
THE VERDICT: In my experience, Vessel Bags hit it out of the park (a four bagger?).
From the moment I peeled back the packing tape and breathed in the new bag smell, I was in for one pleasant surprise after another. My bag’s colors were just as I had designed them and impresssivley vibrant (sample photos: http://bit.ly/ZgTJ5T). I half expected my custom logos would appear in the form of hapazardly placed stickers or cheap laminate. Instead, all of them were fully embroidered–even the ones I intentionally placed in small areas I expected would challenge the most advanced stitchers.
The whole bag feels sturdy and well-balanced. It stands easily on any reasonably flat surface, including grass and carpeting. In horizontal position the bag practically molds to the ground, giving confidence it won’t roll over or begin dumping clubs.
All my bag’s hardware–the rings, clasps, and so on–are made from a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing gunmetal-tinted alloy that I tried, and failed, to scratch. Each hardware connection to the bag is secured tightly with rivets. Short synthetic leather casings button over the top of the freely rotating clasps that connect either end of the strap–protecting your fingers from pinching. Nice touch.
The action of zippers is smoothe and each comes with a zipper pull that makes it easier to access pockets. Speaking of pockets, there are tons of them. A few weeks in and I’m still finding pockets within pockets.
Finally, I intentionally ordered a predominantly white bag so I could test its defense against the elements. As you’d expect, after just my first use on an electric cart, my brand new bag was a greasy mess. The faux leather exterior (which is nice to the touch by the way), however, cleans up well. A simple spritz of household cleaner was enough to remove even the worst grime.
All told, Vessel Bags has produced a gem I’d recommend for anyone who is willing to make a modest investment in a custom bag that will last many years. For organizations that award employees for meeting goals or want memorable gifts for key clients, Vessel Bags should be a first consideration. Considering the immediate attention it draws, a custom Vessel Bag should be a must for any company exec who mixes golf and business.