One of the coolest things I saw at the PGA Merchandise Show in January -- wow, what a long time ago that was -- really had nothing to do with golf. It was a duffle bag from Stitch Golf.
Brad King, Stitch's CEO, sat me down and showed it to me. At first, I didn't think it was a big deal. I mean, it's a duffle bag. I probably have five in my closet, and they're all about the same. I quickly realized this was not a standard-issue duffle bag when King zipped it open.
Unlike every duffle bag I've ever seen or used, the Stitch Clubhouse Duffle didn't just open up from the top. The Clubhouse Duffle has a zipper that runs up the side of the bag, over the top and down to the other side. Stitch calls it "dropping the top," which allows the bag to open more fully. Instead of rummaging through a duffle bag from a limited zipper opening at the top, the side-based opening allows for each packing and unpacking, with access to the bag's full contents akin to a suitcase.
On the inside, there are elastic pockets on both sides that can be used for a variety of purposes, including shoes. The bag is made with waterproof and stain-resistant fabrics, with a gunmetal finish that's slick. It can be folded for compact storage.
The handles are webbed for easy carrying, and there's a comfortable shoulder strap meant to make this a great bag for a weekend trip just as much as a quick trip to the golf club.
Think of it as a more compact version of the company's popular Ultimate Garment Bag (UGB), just without the garment-bag piece. The Clubhouse Duffle is $248 -- $50 less than the UGB -- but it's built to last and look great.
Stitch dopp kit and shoe bag
Stitch also has new dopp kits and shoe bags.
The dopp kit lays flat with a zipper that opens three-fourths of the top of the bag so that everything in the bag can be accessed easily. The handle doubles as a hanger and has two separate zipped pouches to help with organization.
The shoe bag, which can also double as a shag bag capable of holding 150 golf balls, uses the Touring fabric found in the company's golf bags. It has plenty of room for shoes and an outer pocket for other accessories.
New SL1 golf bag
Stitch has also updated its SL1 golf ball, what they call the ideal walking bag.
“When redesigning the SL1 we focused our efforts on form and functionality without sacrificing style," King said.
The SL1 still uses the company's proprietary Touring fabric, which looks like leather but is more durable, weighs less and is water resistant. The bag is 3 lbs., 9 oz., and it has two side-saddle pockets for larger items and two top vent pockets for valuables and a drink. There's a new, single cushioned strap, though you can buy a two-strap solution. The bag comes with an attachable matching rain hood.
In addition to the gunmetal finishes and hardware, there have been some updates to the bag's look. A new Signature Ingot allows golfers to customize a 1.5-inch-square piece with your initials, club logo and other graphics. The bag now also has tonal legs and bottom. There are four new colors: blue, black, white and gray.