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Member Review: Sun Mountain 2Five Golf Bag

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@dkolo will be reviewing the Sun Mountain 2Five golf bag. This thread will serve as an ongoing mini-blog for the reviewer to post their review, pics, share initial impressions and answer questions.

https://shop.sunmountain.com/2016-men-s-golf-bag-two-5.html

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@dkolo will be reviewing the Sun Mountain 2Five golf bag. This thread will serve as an ongoing mini-blog for the reviewer to post their review, pics, share initial impressions and answer questions.

https://shop.sunmountain.com/2016-men-s-golf-bag-two-5.html

Thanks! I'm really excited for the bag to arrive. It's a very unique design, and I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces.

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The new Sun Mountain 2Five golf bag has drawn much media attention over the past few months, being named as one of the best products to come out of the 2015 PGA Merchandise show by everyone from Golf Digest to Sports Illustrated. It’s easy to see why: pitched as one of the lightest full-sized golf bags ever made and boasting a materials list that would feel right at home on the International Space Station, the Sun Mountain 2Five bag is definitely a head turner.

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Ever pick up a seemingly full carton of milk from the counter only to have your arm shoot up with it because there are only a few drops of milk left? That’s basically the reaction I had unboxing the 2Five bag. It’s tremendously light and that 2Five name is no marketing gibberish: Sun Mountain lists the bag at 2.5 pounds on their website. A quick weigh-in on my kitchen scale confirmed a weight of 2 pounds, 10 ounces right out of the bag – well within the margin of error for the product tags that I hadn’t taken off yet and using a cheap $10 electronic scale. Lifting the bag with your pinky finger is no problem. For all functional purposes, the clubs, balls, and your collection of old golf pencils that you keep in your bag will be much more significant contributors to how heavy the bag winds up being on the course.

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Handling the 2Five bag, you’re immediately drawn to the material that makes up the majority of the shell and you notice something: it’s thin. Really thin. As in, the only thing standing between you and the inside of your bag in most places is a single sheet of synthetic fabric. To the touch, it feels like something a parachute would be made of.

The bag gets its structure from a skeleton of carbon fiber rods that run from the neck of the bag down to the base, with the fabric shell attached to that structure. By no means is the bag flimsy, but it definitely isn’t rigid. If you squeeze the spine of the bag with your hand, you can feel your fingers on opposite sides through the bag. You can see the butt of your club push out against the fabric as you slide the clubs into the top divider.

Once loaded and on your back, you immediately worry for the points where the straps attach to the bag. On most bags, these junctures are attached to a thick strip along the spine or use the sides of the bag for purchase. As neither of those things functionally exists in this bag, you get this worrisome stretching and straining of the fabric top. The eyelet seems to deform slightly. Upon closer examination, you can tell that the fabric seems slightly reinforced in this area and has stitching to slightly distribute the load, so it does give you some modicum of peace that it will hold long-term. It wouldn’t surprise me, though, if this winds up being a failure point in the future.

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Speaking of the straps, the 2Five bag features a form of the famed X-Strap system that’s found in Sun Mountain and Titleist bags. This particular incarnation is a little busier than others, with a loop tying the two crisscrossing straps together that, while effective, does lead to some tangles and catches. Adjusting the straps takes a bit of trial and error to get right, sometimes with more error…

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Part of the learning curve here is that the bag is balanced differently than typical bags owing to its lighter design, so it really doesn’t have much weight in the base end. I highly recommend loading at least a few balls and such into the pockets on the bottom before throwing the bag on your back, lest you have a similar gravitational misadventure. Once you do fill the bag with even a little weight as counterbalance, it carries great. The straps themselves are extremely comfortable and have punch-outs that allow for superior breathability. The material the cushioning is made of is both firm and soft at the same time. It’s not quite the plush foam that some bags have, but it’s a dense, almost gel-like, foam that seems to mold to your shoulders better. It also instills confidence as a material that won’t lose its cushioning power after a few dozen carries like the plusher foam often does. There’s a pillow of the same material along the side of the bag where it rests against your lower back when you’re carrying the bag on both straps, and it is similarly effective at providing a comfortable experience, with perhaps even more shock absorbance than such pads typically provide.

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The 2Five bag is designed extremely thoughtfully for the golfer. There are myriad excellent touches that make you realize you’re using a premium product designed with actual use in mind, not just shelf-appeal. The bag has three handles for ease of use. The opening of the bag at the neck has a thick plastic handle that’s great for pulling the bag out of your car, hoisting the bag up onto a cart or rack, or moving the bag’s positioning quickly. A second fabric strap runs along the spine of the bag and is great for uses like carrying the bag to the clubhouse from the car or from the car into the house. The handle is attached at three points and, unlike the junctions of the X-Strap, this is rock solid despite it being not much more than a few layers of sturdy fabric. Finally, a small nylon loop at the base of the bag that’s used in conjunction with the top handle for loading and unloading the bag from the car. I’ve seen bags that lacked one or more of these handles, and their absence is always noticeable when you need them. Having all three here is a great touch and an example of how the 2Five bag strives to avoid compromise in the pursuit of lightness.

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The 2Five bag is designed for lightness, so it makes sense that the pocket situation is somewhat limited. There’s a long, bag-length pocket that’s great for larger items like rain gear or bigger accessories. At the top of that pocket, on the outside, is a valuables pocket that may be lined with the softest material I’ve ever touched on a golf bag, with an almost fur-like texture. On the opposite side of the bag is a smaller pocket for balls and tees. Along the base of the spine of the bag is a water bottle holder. It would’ve been nice to have a pocket in front for other doo-dads and other balls, but in the interest of lightness, you can appreciate the trade-off. An ominous tag cautions against using this pocket for actual storage, which makes sense: it’s just thin fabric and it’s a clear stress point when the bag gets tossed around in your trunk or on a cart

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Other miscellaneous touches are found all over the bag and are appreciated. There’s an equipment loop along the side that’s there for hooking on a towel, brush, perhaps a bottle opener if you’re so inclined. Even though the bag is made to be light, it still has an adjustable loop and slot for carrying a full-length golf umbrella with your bag. While there’s no scorecard holder, there’s a highly convenient slot for a marker or pen along the side of the bag. I’ve lost many a Sharpie because it would hang precariously onto a pocket and fall off during a round, but there’s no such worry here: this slot is full-length and snug. One small touch I do miss is the lack of a Velcro patch to serve as a place to attach your glove. It’s manageable because the top handle is a place where you can loop a glove onto, but it would definitely have been nice to have a dedicated spot for it to hang onto for easy access and drying.

The standout feature of the accessories, by far, is the rain cover. Attaching at four points, with well-designed loops and straps, it screams quality and thoughtful design. Most rain covers I’ve dealt with have been flimsy and hard to attach. This one feels like it’s actually supposed to be there.

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The most important part of any golf bag, though, is how well it accommodates the clubs themselves. On this front, this is going to be a very subjective thing to evaluate. How a bag is set up varies from person to person and different slot / divider combinations will suit people differently. The 2Five bag features four full-length slots across a nearly 10-inch wide opening without any pinch points to get clubs stuck or wedged in. Well, almost. The dividers are, for some reason almost full-length. The dividing fabric ends a few inches from the base of the bag, which allows the grips to bump into one another. The downside is that, sometimes after the bag gets tossed around a bit, it will allow the grips to tangle and wedge up against one another, causing a bit of difficulty to get the clubs out. I don’t know why the dividers don’t go all the way down to the base, but it’s only a small hassle, though one that seems like it could have been avoided rather easily.

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As far as setting the bag up, I’ve always used bags that have had 7 dividers, so the switch down to 4 took a bit of adjustment. I put my woods and hybrids in the top slot, most of my irons and wedges in the bottom row, with my putter in the big slot on one side, and a couple other irons on the other side. This mostly worked. The huge opening easily accommodated my Super Stroke grip, which my current bag occasionally likes to hand on to. The angle of the side slots is a bit bizarre and unnecessary, as it wastes the huge opening and forces any clubs to fall down into the corner of the slot. It’s an odd design choice and, while the large opening generally lets you get the clubs out without issue, they can get tangled up here and it seems like a level or convex opening would have been more efficient. It might have made more sense to have a smaller dedicated putter slot because it doesn’t need the huge divider and there’s only one slot that can accommodate a large mallet like mine. We’re veering into nitpick territory now, though. All in all, the bag is fine for carrying 14+ clubs. Despite what some may think, this isn’t a Sunday bag for a couple of irons, a putter, and a driver. You can stuff all your wonderful toys into the four large slots.

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In real world testing, the bag performs great. Despite some of the worries I had about the balance of the bag, once I adjusted the straps, it sat evenly on my lower back and clubs were never in any danger of falling out, even as I intentionally bent over to pick stuff up off of the ground to test the bag’s stability. Setting up at the range, the carbon fiber legs (which look AWESOME up close) popped out without hesitation and provided great stability and support, without even a hint of bend to them. The legs have a bit of lag in terms of closing back up when you lift the bag. It seems angle-based: if you lift straight up, the springs don’t seem to want to pull the legs back to the bag. But if you start tilting the bag vertically, gravity gives an assist and they snap back into place quickly.

IMG_5249.thumb.JPG.1f2bbe5d23927d8ed2ffcIMG_5258.thumb.JPG.c0142f1b8d74861efc774 Playing a few holes, the bag is very stable and easy to manage. Aside from a few instances of clubs getting tangled, the bag operates seamlessly and never fights you. You’re constantly aware you’re carrying a premium product with you. In this way, the 2Five bag is very much in the design ethos of an Apple iPhone: sure, it may miss a few bells and whistles that come in handy sometimes, but it’s stripped down to its functional essentials and rebuilt with restraint and elegance. The 2Five bag is definitely a bag you can use for day-to-day golf. With an MSRP of $219, the Sun Mountain 2Five bag is on the high end of the stand bag price range, and there are questions about durability that remain unanswered. Nevertheless, for the golfer who wants lightness without sacrificing functionality, there’s no question that the 2Five is an excellent choice. 

Thanks to Sun Mountain and The Sand Trap for the opportunity to review the 2Five bag! It's been an awesome experience!

Edited by iacas
Removed extra returns

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Very nice looking bag and good review. I may have to check that one out.

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Thanks for the thorough review @dkolo. I talked to the Sun Mountain designer of the 2Five and found out a few details to go along with your review. As you point out, the bag's weight does not include the various hangtags that are on the bag right out of the box and does not incude the rainhood which ships in the clothing pocket.

Regarding the points where the shoulder straps are attached to the bag, the bag does have a box X stitch at those points to make it stronger and less likely to rip out. See attached photo.

About the divider system and its geometry, golfers tend to have strong preferences on this subject. At the extremes, some love the indivudual club divider systems and some despise them with not a lot of opinions in between. One detail to look for when buying a bag is if the dividers are truly full-length all of the way to the bottom of the bag. In Sun Mountain's case, the dividers go the full length to help keep clubs from getting tangled together.

On the details of the fabric; it is lightweight and it is thin. For those who have actually touched parachute fabric; it is not that thin. The 2Five uses a 70 denier fabric comparable to the fabric used on mountaineering tents. This fabric is extremely lightweight and also durable.

Thanks again for the thorough review. The 2Five is umbelievably lightweight and a real treat to carry.

2Five box X stitching.jpg

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Looks like they are using some of the technology and material as Ultra Light Backpacking lately where you get a good combination of weight savings and durability.  

 

Very nice review.

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Any problems with the handle? I have a 3.5, and the hard edge of the handle rubs my back. It is very uncomfortable, and, no matter how I adjust it, I can't get any relief. SM customer service has been less than helpful in solving this issue. This is my fifth SM bag, and probably, my last. A great bag, but a poorly designed handle. I am wondering if the guy that desinged the handle ever carried a golf bag?

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YaY great bag there. Orange as advertised but i wonder if color is easy to coordinate. i have problem choosing the colors, navy/red perhaps.

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43 minutes ago, 1kokies said:

YaY great bag there. Orange as advertised but i wonder if color is easy to coordinate. i have problem choosing the colors, navy/red perhaps.

My preference was for the Red/White/Blue with the American flag on it but it was out of stock at the time. That looks amazing. The orange is a nice look though. Unless you're playing at Bushwood, it feels energetic and quite natural in a golf setting. It's not a neon orange in natural light, so it fits with a nature aesthetic. 

On October 17, 2015 at 7:03:00 AM, caniac6 said:

Any problems with the handle? I have a 3.5, and the hard edge of the handle rubs my back. It is very uncomfortable, and, no matter how I adjust it, I can't get any relief. SM customer service has been less than helpful in solving this issue. This is my fifth SM bag, and probably, my last. A great bag, but a poorly designed handle. I am wondering if the guy that desinged the handle ever carried a golf bag?

I haven't experienced any of the issues you've described. Once you balance the bag via the straps and weight allocation, it wears very comfortably. 

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Wow thanks for pointing out the Red/White/Blue, my preference too. Orange certainly is unique and youthful. And great review

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On October 17, 2015 at 6:03:00 AM, caniac6 said:

Any problems with the handle? I have a 3.5, and the hard edge of the handle rubs my back. It is very uncomfortable, and, no matter how I adjust it, I can't get any relief. SM customer service has been less than helpful in solving this issue. This is my fifth SM bag, and probably, my last. A great bag, but a poorly designed handle. I am wondering if the guy that desinged the handle ever carried a golf bag?

1

I remember your earlier posts about this issue and moved the 3.5 bag around attempting to re-enact your issue -- do you have a very wide back? That's the only way  I could see the plastic  handle being an issue - I could not replicate your issue, but the only way I see it occurring is with someone with a very wide back where the hard plastic would hit the edge of the back. Either that, or you did not balance the bag correctly, or a combo of the two.

____

As to the SM 2.5. Black/Red are now available. It is lite, and weighs as advertised, maybe a couple of ounces heavier. On your back, the water bottle and accessories pocket for balls, rangefinder, tees, gloves, is readily available. On the other side is the valuable pocket and  bag-length zippered pocket for clothing. Fits 14 clubs better than the Front 9.

 

 

SM 2.5 Big Side View.jpg

SM 2.5 Water Bottle Pocket.jpg

Edited by Mr. Desmond

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great color too. I'm really keen to purchase but located international in Malaysia. Any retailers to recommend willing to sell and ship please.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mr. Desmond said:

I remember your earlier posts about this issue and moved the 3.5 bag around attempting to re-enact your issue -- do you have a very wide back? That's the only way  I could see the plastic  handle being an issue - I could not replicate your issue, but the only way I see it occurring is with someone with a very wide back where the hard plastic would hit the edge of the back. Either that, or you did not balance the bag correctly, or a combo of the two.

____

As to the SM 2.5. Black/Red are now available. It is lite, and weighs as advertised, maybe a couple of ounces heavier. On your back, the water bottle and accessories pocket for balls, rangefinder, tees, gloves, is readily available. On the other side is the valuable pocket and  bag-length zippered pocket for clothing. Fits 14 clubs better than the Front 9.

 

 

SM 2.5 Big Side View.jpg

SM 2.5 Water Bottle Pocket.jpg

It rubbed right in the middle of my lower back. Counting when they used to make Titleist bags, this was my 6th SM bag, and this was not loaded any differently than the others. I adjusted the straps every way I could imagine, and the only change it made was where it would rub. I read several reviews and posts on other boards, and other golfers had the same issue. I even contacted SM, and they said they had specific instructions to solve the problem, which leads me to believe they knew there was a problem. After a long, frustrating process, SM made things right. I returned the bag, and they sent a Collegiate bag. That bag has an old fashioned rubber handle that sits very close to the bag.

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18 minutes ago, caniac6 said:

It rubbed right in the middle of my lower back. Counting when they used to make Titleist bags, this was my 6th SM bag, and this was not loaded any differently than the others. I adjusted the straps every way I could imagine, and the only change it made was where it would rub. I read several reviews and posts on other boards, and other golfers had the same issue. I even contacted SM, and they said they had specific instructions to solve the problem, which leads me to believe they knew there was a problem. After a long, frustrating process, SM made things right. I returned the bag, and they sent a Collegiate bag. That bag has an old fashioned rubber handle that sits very close to the bag.

Well, that is a bugger -- the handle! That's what I missed. Thought it was the plastic top of the bag that was the issue. Well, I could see a handle hitting someone if not designed correctly.

I can say that the handle on the 2.5 is very small and only semi-rigid.

Edited by Mr. Desmond

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6 hours ago, Mr. Desmond said:

Well, that is a bugger -- the handle! That's what I missed. Thought it was the plastic top of the bag that was the issue. Well, I could see a handle hitting someone if not designed correctly.

I can say that the handle on the 2.5 is very small and only semi-rigid.

Check the review of the 3.5 on golfballed.com. That is exactly like the bag I had a problem with.

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2 hours ago, caniac6 said:

Check the review of the 3.5 on golfballed.com. That is exactly like the bag I had a problem with.

Read it, saw the pics. No need for that handle to be rigid or standing up- flat would be fine. I do not even use that handle. Always use the top of the bag slot and the integrated slot below the ball pocket to pick up the bag. That was SM dumb design.

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