Is this the carry bag he’s been searching for? Jonathan Taylor brings you the low down on the new Titleist Players 5 StaDry stand bag
One of my missions in life has been to find the perfect golf carry bag. There is evidence of this everywhere. Last week when we were tidying up the garage, we counted no less than seven (used) bags of various shapes and sizes. In the house, there are three more. Two of them are my current favourites. The first is the Titleist Players 4 stand bag from 2021/22, which has an almost perfect pocket configuration for a smallish bag. The second is the Titleist 150th Open premium pencil carry bag. I think this bag looks really cool, can fit fourteen clubs in, is very lightweight and also has an excellent pocket setup. However, these bags are not waterproof and are not particularly comfortable to carry – the straps seem to want to wander off my shoulders.
In case you were wondering what my third house bag is, it’s a limited edition Scotty Cameron bag which can’t hold more than a half set of clubs, and it tends to stay at home.
So you can imagine my excitement when the latest version from the well-established Titleist StaDry range appeared in the office, just days before an April golfing trip to the Scottish Highlands. Is the Players 5 StaDry the golf bag nirvana that I’ve been searching for?
Titleist Players 5 StaDry stand bag review: NCG Summary
This is a really well-designed carry bag that does it all in style and comfort, guaranteed to protect your golf equipment in the toughest conditions.
- Superb carrying comfort and balance.
- Premium construction.
- Good choice of colours
- Difficult to access pockets on the move.
This new bag from the StaDry stable came in a Grey/Graphite/White colour which has rather grown on me. It is smart, understated and allows the Titleist logos to stand out. I did wonder whether the light colours would mark up, but after a dozen or so rounds there’s no sign of that.
Titleist talk about enhanced accessibility due to the 5-way divider at the top cuff. I can’t really see that this is any great advantage over a 4-way divider but there was certainly plenty of space for all fourteen clubs.
Next on the list is ‘superior organisation’ with seven pockets. There is the usual full-length apparel pocket and adjacent valuables pocket which is pretty standard on all Titleist bags. Two identical insulated drinks pouches are on either side of a rather large ball pocket. I’m not sure why there needs to be two of these compartments. I much prefer the configuration on my current bags where there is a single drinks pocket with an elasticated collar.
There is a useful accessories pocket just above the ball pocket where I tend to keep ball markers and pencils. I keep tees, ‘used’ balls and perhaps a midlayer in the final pocket on the other side from the full length apparel pocket. All in all, you’ve got plenty of storage space for waterproofs, snacks etc. All pockets are generally wide opening with seam sealed YKK zippers. I have found the zippers to be quite stiff but I don’t really mind that if it keeps the water out (spoiler alert – it does).
What does frustrate me, and it’s a recurrent gripe of mine, is that it is awkward to open and close the central ball pocket and the accessories pocket whilst on the move.
The ‘5’ looks quite a lot bulkier than my Players 4, and so, prior to my trip to Scotland, I loaded up the bag with a full set of clubs, waterproofs, balls and just one water bottle. I looked down in trepidation but was delighted to find the bag was beautifully balanced and extremely comfortable to wear. I don’t think the straps are any wider or more padded than on my ‘4’ but this bag felt made-to measure.
On the course
Our first round in The Highlands was a warm up at the lovely Struie course in Dornoch. The weather was fine, the turf was springy, the golf was ok and the bag remained entirely comfortable over 18 holes of pretty easy walking.
Day Two was not fun. The welcome was warm, but the weather was atrocious. We played 18 holes in incessant rain, high winds and really cold temperatures. It was a true test for the Players 5 StaDry which it passed with flying colours. The rain hood (they now close with velcro rather than a zip) stayed in place. The grips on my clubs stayed dry. Thanks to the sturdy aluminium legs and flex base design, the bag never looked like blowing over in the heavy winds.
Day Three dawned bright and breezy, but with the threat of showers. I had brought my Titleist 150th Open premium pencil carry bag just in case I found the effort of carrying the 2kg ‘5’ too much. But I happily continued with the StaDry, this time at Golspie.
The last day of our tour was a round at the glorious Royal Dornoch, a favourite of mine. There was some wind but no rain forecast. The picture below shows me on the 71st hole of this adventure (the 17th at Dornoch). My partner had just hit a 5-wood in to 20 feet and we were on our way to a betterball score of 41 points. And it was my birthday. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So, to summarise, the Players 5 StaDry absolutely lived up to expectations. Yes, it’s a bit bulky. The pocket configuration could be better. It’s not cheap. But this is a premium quality, robust bit of kit that looks like replacing the Titleist Players 4 stand bag, and sitting alongside the 150th Open premium pencil carry bag as my updated current gamers (if bags can be called gamers).
Because I almost always carry my bag, even though I’m quite old, I forgot to mention another feature which is an integrated cart strap tunnel. This will ensure that your bag remains securely positioned on the back of a golf cart if, for example, you’re playing one of those courses that requires a cart. But give me the Scottish Highlands anytime with my trusty Players 5 StaDry carry bag.
Colours: Grey/Graphite/White, Black/Black/Red, Navy/Royal/Grey, Navy/Red/White.
More information: Titleist website