When Less is More: The Sunday Bag

Legs and double straps are indeed convenient. But it seems to me the current crop of carry bags has become a little bloated. Maybe it’s time to reconsider light.

Bag DropMy grandfather was a farmer and devout Protestant. He would not work his fields on Sunday even if looming weather threatened to wipe out his crop. Back in the day, that same ethic existed at many golf clubs and thus caddies were not permitted to work on the Sabbath.

Hence came the Sunday bag… a small, light bag originally made of canvas that players could use to carry their own clubs on the day of rest. While many believe it went the way of the dodo after Sun Mountain came out with the first stand bag back in the 1980s, it still survives.

And it still makes sense. Half the weight of a stand bag, the couple pounds it saves you (plus the weight of all the detritus it won’t hold) makes a difference. Here’s a look at some current options ranging from cheap to outrageously expensive…

Titleist 70 Carry Bag
Titleist 70 Sunday BagI’m not really a fan of double straps. I’ve tried all kinds, including the Ogio Schling, and they are just too awkward or uncomfortable for me. Plus, in my opinion, if you need two straps your bag is too heavy.

With a single well-padded strap and weighing only two pounds, the Titleist 70 fits my idea of what a Sunday bag should be. It’s also loaded with some convenient features including a velour accessory pocket and a clothing pocket that sort of wraps halfway around the bag.

And there are other nice touches. The 7.5″ molded cuff is big enough so you can easily carry a full set of clubs. Because the stay is split, you can fold the bag in half. There’s a water bottle pocket, a webbing loop to stow your glove, and even a slot to hold your Sharpie or pencil. Pretty cool.

It also comes in some cool colors: black, platinum, navy, cobalt, red, orange, and gold. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $50.

Ping Moon Lite
Ping Moon Lite BagPing has long been known for their carry bags and their Moon Lite Sunday bag shows the kind of innovation that has made them so popular over the years.

Perhaps the neatest feature is the strap. Using much the same scheme as in their Hoofer and Craz-E-Lite stand bags, this strap stands up from the bag so you don’t have to reach all the way down to pick it up. I think that’s a great idea even if it does look a little odd.

The molded top is divided into three sections and measures 7.25″ by 6.5″. It also has external ball, beverage, and accessory pockets and weighs in at something just less than two pounds. The light weight comes from the fabric used. Unlike the Titleist model that uses the same material as their stand bags, the Ping bag is made of a very thin ripstop nylon. Think parachute cloth.

The bag comes in black, red, navy, and royal. Retail price is around $35.

Sun Mountain Sunday X-Strap
Sun Mountain Sunday BagFor those of you who insist on two straps, this is your Sunday bag. Sun Mountain’s Sunday X-Strap shares many similarities with the Titleist model, no doubt because they make the Titleist carry bags.

To accommodate the two straps and to make it a little easier to get in and out of the straps, the primary strap is attached to an extension out the top of the cuff.

It has a 7.5″ two-way top, four pockets, a hip pad, and a bungee strap so you can attach a rain jacket or sweater. It also has some other nice touches like a velour-lined valuables pocket and a ball pouch.

Trimmed in black, it is available in lime, silver, red, baltic (blue), orange, and black. MSRP is around $55.

Original and Sunday Mackenzie Walker Bags
Mackenzie Walker BagIf you are willing to pay the ultimate price, this is the ultimate Sunday bag.

Established back in the early 1990s in Portland, Oregon with Peter Jacobsen as a partner/spokesman, the Mackenzie Golf Bag company changed hands in the last couple years but, thankfully, continues to offer their fine line of exquisite hand-made leather carry bags.

They make two different carry bags. The Original Walker has an 8″ cuff and two large pockets, the Sunday Walker has a 7″ top and one pocket. Both are made of a beautiful, soft leather and feature stainless steel and solid brass hardware. The stays are a composite material.

Leather color choices include black, saddle, ivory, chocolate, navy, scarlet red, dark green, and cognac. Because the bags are made to order, you can choose any color combination you like and have it personalized with custom embroidery.

I’ve seen these bags and they are indeed beautiful. And while I’m sure they’re a little heavier than the nylon Sunday bags here, they’re a lot heavier in price. Are you ready for this? The Original is $645 and the Sunday $595. If you need to fill up some space on your credit card, you can order one from the website or by calling them directly.

In the End…
Walking is, without question, the best and fastest way to play golf. If you choose to carry rather than push or pull, perhaps the least bag may give you the most pleasure.

15 thoughts on “When Less is More: The Sunday Bag”

  1. The only problem I have with Sunday bags (and I realize we have been dealing with this problem for years) is that when you set the bag down in wet grass, it gets soaked and filthy, whereas a stand bag stays pretty clean through a round played in the heavy morning dew or after a rainstorm.

    Otherwise, less is more, we carry too much crap in our bags nowdays.

  2. I just ordered and received a Titleist 70 stand bag, and the pictures on the site don’t do it justice. The fabric and whatnot is really quite attractive, with a pleasing pattern of black and red.

    Anyway, I often play practice rounds (or even little skins games or whatnot) with just three clubs and a putter. Usually 3W, 5-iron, 9-iron. The Sunday bag is perfect for that – plenty of room for the clubs, super lightweight, and enough room to fit a jacket if the weather warms up.

  3. I bought a Wilson X-31 stand bag this year precisely because it is smaller and a lot lighter than any of my other bags. It’s definitely on the small end of the stand bag scale and weighs in right at 4 lbs.

    I use it mainly for practice and walking a few of the shorter courses I play. Like Erik, I often only take a partial set of clubs and it’s a perfect bag for that.

    I’m also teaching a friend of mine to play this year and he has an “old school” muni course right up the street from him. It’s short, very walkable and not terribly busy during weekdays. I like this bag a lot when I play with him since I don’t need a full set of clubs and we always walk.

    I still like the convenience of a stick bag but I do agree with the premise of the article that most people could do with a smaller, lighter bag and walk more. 🙂

  4. Odyssey makes a Sunday bag with a small hand operated stand mechanism. This allows the bag and clubs to be elevated off the ground.

  5. Bought the Ping Moonlight after reading this article. Very cool with the strap that stays up. played a short course today with 6 clubs and it was great !!!. great little article thanks !

  6. The MacKenzie Bags are great but be sure to know who you are dealing with.
    I sent in my 15 year old bag in for minor repairs and have been waiting over 2 months to have it returned. The owner says the work is done and he will ship but he has been saying that for over a month now. Constant email and phone calls result in the same line of “I’ll get it out to you tomorrow”. If you’re thinking of buying a new one, be careful!

  7. Alright. I think sunday bags are the dumbest things ever. If you have a stand bag and it has too much stuff in it, do one of the following: 1)take stuff out or 2)Don’t carry.
    I feel that if your bag is too heavy for you, you shouldn’t get another one. You should try to make the bag light. Stand bags are also a lot easier to use than sunday bags. You just set the bag down to the right of your ball (if your a righty) and pick a club. Also, at the green, when you are getting off, you do not need to bend down to pick your bag up. Trust me, it can add up fast. Double straps are great ideas. If you have a bag with a double strap, use it! It evens out the weight, instead of having all the weight on just one side. This can add up as the round goes on. Also, carry the bag correctly. I cannot tell you how many times i have seen people carry a bag incorrectly. This is why the bag may feel heavy. Finally, for convenience and speed purposes, keep your bag organized. Not just the pockets but the clubs as well. This way you know exactly where your 8-iron is when you need it, or your wedge, or whatever.

  8. I’ve been using a Sunday bag for practices or keeping a backup/trial set of clubs ready to go at all times.

    I’ve got a Calllaway, and it’s a no frills all black model. Two pockets at the bottom, and not structured in the collar at all.

    While I wish it was structured, it serves it’s purpose. When I have played executives or gone to the range, I’ll take this will about half my clubs. It’s nice and quite convenient. Yeah, I could take my whole bag, but having two bags (a full sized and this one) makes it easier while still being organized.

    JMHO 😉

  9. The MacKenzie Bags are great but be sure to know who you are dealing with.
    I sent in my 15 year old bag in for minor repairs and have been waiting over 2 months to have it returned. The owner says the work is done and he will ship but he has been saying that for over a month now. Constant email and phone calls result in the same line of “I’ll get it out to you tomorrow”. If you’re thinking of buying a new one, be careful!

    i was planning on buying a mackenzie this week. did you ever get your bag back? if so what was the problem? how doed this bag hold up in the rain? thanks

  10. I recently found an old canvas “Sunday” golf club bag in an antique shop in Clayton, NC. It is cream canvas with leather trim. It was fairly dirty so I washed it in a mesh bag in my new Whirlpool washer and it came out somewhat cleaner. I’m now searching for cotton canvas webbing to reinforce the worn areas on the long, soft strap. The smaller canvas handle is in very good condition. This is a gift for my youngest brother who will be 55 in Sep 08. I hope he is pleased with what I think is a rare find.

  11. This is to Sharon O’Neal: I just lost a natural colored canvans bag with leather trim, circa 1970, in a house fire. It belonged to my late husband and our daughters loved to drag it out some of the time instead of the larger heavier one/s. I am having to establish value for insurance purposes … can you assist in that? I know replacement with new is about $50, but no idea of actual replacement.
    Thanks for any assistance

  12. 12:22 is bat shit crazy. I really want a Sunday bag but do worry about the bending down, although I could probably use the exercise.

  13. I sell the Caddy Sack, a one pound sunday golf bag with fold-out legs and will hold 5 or 6 clubs. A US Patent has been issued. We were at the 2009 PGA show. The Caddy Sack resolves the issues many golfers have with a sunday bag and could cut a stroke or two from your score when used with your cart bag. It sells in the $30 range

  14. I have a neat pencil bag by MD Golf that folds down and zips up – the pole down the spine comes apart like a pole in a dome tent.
    Certainly in the UK, you get absolutely ripped off by airlines when flying, so me and my friends fit several half sets of clubs into one bag and then put the zipped up bags in with it.
    Much cheaper !

    Incidentally, many Scottish courses have a neat 4 way bag stand for pencil bags at the tee which keeps the bag off the wet grass, at least for a little while…

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