Well, I’ve gotten a few requests for pictures of the winter gear. And who am I to say no… everyone loves a good “What’s In the Bag”, right?!
Now that tournament season is over I wanted to get back to basics. Simple, elegant, no-nonsense gear and no more of it than necessary. The goal is to be minimalist but I still like to have at least 11 clubs so I feel like I can hit all the shots I need. My modern bag is an old Ping 5-pocket (the model before the Hoofer) with the double straps. I love that bag and it’s great on my back but ever since taking an interest in classic gear I have felt like I should be carrying a leather bag. This year for my birthday, my wife came through like she always does and hooked me up with a beautiful bag from Eliott Bag Co. Here it is in all its glory – empty and then loaded up with goodies.
Now there was a rumor going around a while back that the makers of Eliott bags were actually the same characters that operated McKennon Bag Company – a shady joint that ended up taking a multitude of orders and never delivering to their customers. I can assure you that Eliott has no association with McKennon. In fact, Scott at Elliot offered new bags AT COST to anyone who got taken by McKennon. It may be a fair criticism to say that this particular model looks much like the MacKenzie Walker. But then again the MacKenzie bags themselves are essentially remakes of vintage carry bags of old. On top of that, Eliott has some cool, unique features like the custom interior patters and reinforced carbon fiber “spines” that provide structural rigidity sufficient to (God forbid) put your bag on a motorized cart. The quality is really first class and the leather is unbelievably supple. Scott also made some strap changes free of charge and created a lovely barrel headcover custom sized for a persimmon driver. Here are some shots of the interior and the pouch.
On a side note: I ended of contacting the original owner of this bag (I knew he was an avid golfer and golf bag connoisseur who had owned several MacKenzies and other assorted leather bags). He had purchased it new to stay in the locker at a club of his but after canceling his club membership he had no need for the extra bag. I contacted him to ask what I needed to know about owning a leather bag. He responded as follows:
“The cow doesn’t come in out of the rain…I’ve owned some cows in my time, and they’re literally not smart enough to…so water won’t hurt it unless it gets soaked and dried fast (NEVER dry it or your good leather things over heat). I like Lexol for golf bags and luggage; it’s easy to use and readily available. BUT, if you want the best leather treatment, you want Connolly Brothers’ Hide Care…and apply it sparingly, as it’s really rich. Any Jaguar dealer should have it, and I bet you can get it on eBay. Last tub I bought cost about $25, but it’s probably gone up (don’t worry, it lasts a LONG time).”
Nice fellow – nearly shot his age at Bandon that same week! Oh, wait, I thought we were doing a What’s In the Bag? Back to the matter of interest.
As I mentioned before, I was going for a minimalist theme with this bag. My cleanest, most elegant (and oldest) blades are the Mac M85T’s I’ve written about before. I just love the look at address, the weight, the wingback design – everything. But they are challenging to hit which makes them perfect for winter. The sharp edges take some beaver pelts if you come in too steep (something I try to keep in check) and these clubs provide me good feedback in that regard. Well struck shots are SO solid and I don’t lose much distance (relative to modern) with these sticks. It doesn’t hurt that the burgundy paint fill matches the accents on the leather!
I decided to keep a 50′s theme going through the woods which lets me put into play my MacGregor M43. I think I’ve shown this one before on here – it has been my #2 driver for a long time behind the Penna Eye-O-Matic. It was refinished at some point and the shaft is post-market (unmarked) but it suits my tempo well and the feel off the fibre insert is remarkable. Picture perfect grain makes for a lovely setup too. Whipping came loose recently and I’ll need to fix that before I go out again.
One other wood found its way into the winter bag – it is some type of Eye-O-Matic 4-wood from the 50′s. The refinish job on this one washed out the sole stamping so I can’t see the exact model number but the shaft is a little more flexible than my other clubs which I don’t mind on a fairway wood. I can only hit this one about 200-205 but the consistency is what makes it valuable. I rarely miss a fairway when I use this on a short par 4.
One wedge is all that’s necessary to operate around the greens. I want to learn to hit more low, running chips (I normally hit high pitches, even with a clear path to the pin) so I’ve left the high lofted wedges out completely and gone with a Hogan “fifty-three” which (I believe) dates to the early 80′s. It’s got one of those big, round head shapes that shovels sand and plows through tricky lies. Sorry about the crappy picture here but I already cracked open a bottle of wine to write this article and don’t feel like pulling the camera back out to take a better one! You get the idea.
And last but not least, no winter bag would be complete without a flatstick. I found this little guy in the bargain bin at the local golf shop. It’s called a Rawlings “Little Joe” and it’s a super small flanged job with a bit of loft. From heel to toe this thing barely spans a single golf ball. I have never been worried about missing the golf ball completely with a putter but on longer putts with the Little Joe you really have to concentrate to hit the sweet spot! On fast greens this putter is money but on slower turf I prefer something a little bigger and heavier.
So there you have it! Throw in a glove and few golf balls, real wood tees (no plastic brushes!) and you’ve got a full kit… ready and waiting to grab and go! I think the winter is the perfect time to change things up, throw in some new (old) clubs and see if you can get the ball moving airborne and forward. And if things don’t go quite as planned? Blame the weather, change the bag up, and try again tomorrow!