A carry bag is one of those things that is easy to get wrong. In a market where excessive gimmicks, poor construction, and a lack of usability are the norm – it’s nice to find a bag that is focused on minimalism and delivering the essentials. The Ping Hoofer C-1 is one of those bags.
On First Glance
When I took the bag out of the box and did the normal routine of tugging on the straps and shaking things around – my first reaction was that this is simply a solid, well-designed, and well-manufactured bag. I really like the lack of flair and excessive gimmicks – this bag is designed to be used, not just to be sold. After glancing over at the bag out for a few hours, I had to get out and play.
As far as aesthetics go – this bag can’t be matched. The attention to detail is clear and I love the subtle undertones of the black/black model. The black on black patterns have me feeling more like I’m looking at some nice custom sneakers instead of a golf bag. The visual design of the bag is simply incredible. I don’t recall seeing a bag that I’m visually pulled to as much as this one.
The double-bend Mantis legs and hoofer base on the bag are sturdy and provide great grounding. The bag requires a bit of force to extract the legs and this gives the bag a high-quality feel that I haven’t felt in anything other than the Ping bags. While most carry bags end up getting flimsy with frequent use, the Hoofer C-1 doesn’t seem to have this problem.
As far as the pockets and size of the pockets go – the bag has ample space and strategically placed pockets, pouches, zippers, and closures. The taped seam, water-proofing, and velour lining for the valuables pocket is a nice addition to the bag and is creates a nice holding area for a wallet and your keys.
I’ve read a lot about the Ping strap system and talked to many people that are big fans of the retractable / sliding strap system – so naturally, I was really excited to get the bag on my shoulders. Although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this – I couldn’t figure out how to get the bag on correctly. I tried every possible combination that I could dream up by looking at the straps (there are no pictures of the bag being worn on the tags) and simply failed to get the bag in a position that it was comfortable to wear around. After a bit of Googling – I finally found some pictures and realized that the problem was in the way that a few of the straps had been adjusted. A few simple tweaks and I felt much better with the ability to actually get the bag to stay put while I was carrying it.
On The Course
The first thing that I noticed on my way out to the golf course was how well the bag fit in my car. The bag is just an inch or two shorter than my regular walking bag – but that seemed to make all of the difference in getting it loaded easily into the trunk. The nice squishy trunk handle was a nice departure from the solid, harder plastic grip that I’m used to and it makes getting the bag in and out of the car a breeze.
I had the strap adjustments come back to bite me immediately on arriving at the course. The bag felt a bit akward on my back as I walked to the clubhouse and then on the way to the first tee box. I tugged and pulled a bit here and there and eventually was able to get it to a point that it felt good enough to start the round (knowing that I would likely need to constantly adjust to get the strap system fine-tuned).
I ran into another slight hiccup after I teed off – the bag didn’t seem to easily fit my Gatorade bottle in the H20 pocket. This thoroughly baffled me as the pocket seems way to deep and poorly designed. A few holes later, I found the problem – the bag is meant to hold the bottle vertically while it is on your back (I had originally put the bottle in with the legs extracted and the bag sitting stationary on the ground). This all makes logical sense – it just wasn’t immediately apparent given the rather odd shape of the H²0 pocket.
After a few holes, there were a host of things that I absolutely loved about this bag…
Despite my struggles (well into the first few holes of the round) with the strap system – the bag is very comfortable and wears well. It may take a bit to tweak to your liking, but it’s also a very nice and comfortable system. The give in the strap as you take off and put on the bag removes a lot of the rigidness that I’m used to – this is a very welcome change.
The small grip inside the 5-way top for gripping the bag as you are resting it on the ground is phenomenal. You won’t realize that you are missing this until you have it – but it’s something that you’ll end using over and over again and appreciating deeply. This isn’t a flimsy handle, it’s a solid handle that stays out of the way. Oddly, I never noticed this was there until I naturally grabbed on to it.
I also really appreciate the velcro pad on the side of the bag near the top. It was nice to have a place to attach my glove and I had full confidence that the glove would stay attached due to the size of the velcro pad. However, one major issue for me was that it is on the wrong side of the bag. I would prefer to have it where I could attach the glove as I’m approaching the green instead of after I take the bag off my back. Regardless, it’s still a welcome addition and I’ve found myself using it on almost every hole.
I found that the Scorecard Pouch works really well as a quick ball pocket. The pocket keeps everything out of your way while securely holding a few balls that are easily accessible. Unfortunately, I reach in and out of this pocket way more than I would like. I can tell you that it’s solid since I probably pulled more new balls out of the pocket in a round than a low handicapper will in a month.
To round out the other odds and ends with the bag – the bag is fairly light (under 5 lbs.) and the club storage (with the 5-way storage system) is convenient and functional. The 5-way storage system is nice, however I still find my clubs getting jammed up a couple of times every round.
After A Few Rounds
After playing a few rounds with the bag (both walking and riding) I can say that I’ll be sticking with this bag for a while. In the cart – the bag is solid and doesn’t shift or slide around like many other carry bags. For walking – the bag is extremely functional and feels comfortable going on and off of your back throughout the round. I’m still tweaking the fit a bit here and there, but I’m finally used to the straps and the adjustments.
The bag is simple, solid, comfortable, functional and the looks are impeccable. After dealing with initial frustration of getting the shoulder fit dialed in – you’ll be good to go and loving the all-around performance and feel of the bag.