Leave it to Sun Mountain to take the heavy lifting out of golf travel bags. The company’s ClubGlider — with easy maneuverability thanks to retractable legs that stow away for travel and their pivoting wheels — has been around for years, but the newest member of the ClubGlider line offers a sleeker, more compact way to get your clubs easily and securely through airports and to their destinations.
New for 2012, the smaller, lighter weight Journey provides the same advantages of its larger carry-all cousins, the Meridian and Pro models, but with less heft and a more elegant profile. And, wow, is it a delight to do wheelies from baggage claim to taxi cab. With sturdy legs extended, your bags coast along and require none of the usual bending and lifting you experience when navigating your clubs through the airport.
The original Sun Mountain ClubGlider now travels under a new moniker, the ClubGlider Meridian, and ClubGlider Pro is the granddaddy of the bunch, offering storage space for a tour players’ oversized staff bag or two lightweight carry bags, according to the company. I can’t speak for those models but for sure CG Journey provides plenty of room to stuff your bag, clubs, shoes, and assorted other sundries like dirty laundry for your return trip.
I thought I would miss the extra storage space that the outer pockets of my old, bulkier travel bag provided, but Journey’s space-age design and ease of use quickly made up for the lack of a few more places to stow stuff. Besides, where Journey is head and shoulders above its competitors is in its legs, which easily retract from a rugged molded-plastic tray to provide a strong base of support for a bag’s total weight and eliminate an average of more than 22 pounds of pressure from a traveler’s shoulders and back, according to the company.
The legs also mimic a stand bag and let you load your clubs while upright — an ergonomic plus for which your back will thank you. They fold back up and the wheels lock securely for travel. One thing they may not withstand is a cab driver’s heavy-handedness: on my way back home, one of the wheels fell off after the hack slammed the bag to the ground (lucky for him the thick foam padding protected the precious cargo inside).
Inside the bag, internal straps clasp tightly and heavy-duty two-way zippers secure your clubs for travel. Sun Mountain’s engineers say the Journey satchel, which weighs 12.8 pounds, is made from 1200 denier fabric and the other models from “ballistic-type” nylon, and that vinyl reinforces specific wear areas. ClubGliders retail for $199-$299.