Sharpiegate Redux

It’s dumb to get worked up about dumb things, but, ever since I complained about golf bags that have pen holders (good idea) which aren’t deep enough to securely engage the pocket clip of the one kind of pen that all golfers use (idiotic idea), I keep noticing other golf bags with the same problem. Here’s one from Founders Club:

Callaway makes a bag with the same defect, and somewhere I have a photograph to prove it, but I can’t find it at the moment so you’re just going to have to take my word for it. People who say these slots are intended for golf pencils rather than permanent markers are wrong, because if you put a golf pencil in one of them you’ll need a surgical clamp to get it out again.

While we wait for the world to come to its senses, here’s a related question: Why doesn’t Sharpie sell its non-black markers one pen or one color at a time? If you want to mark your golf balls with, let’s say, a purple marker, you can’t buy just one, or even just three of the same color; you have to buy something like this:

Come on, Sharpie! You invented this market. Show some ball-marking leadership!


Sharpiegate: An Update

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about two beefs I have with my golf bag, here and here. Yesterday, I received a response from Steve Snyders, who handles public relations for Sun Mountain. (I’m delighted to learn that the Sharpie problem I complained about was solved not just quickly but, apparently, retroactively.) Here’s what Snyders wrote:

With regards to your concern about the depth of the pen holder pocket on Sun Mountain golf bags, I think you will be pleased to learn that as of 2012 all pen holder pockets on all of our bags are at a standard depth that will allow a full size Sharpie marker to be inserted and for the clip on the lid to be clipped to the bag. For bags older than 2012, depending upon the exact model of the bag, some of the pockets may be deep enough for the clip to reach and some may not. In all instances, the pocket is deep enough that the majority of the pen fits within the pocket while allowing enough of the pen to stick out so can be easily grabbed for removal. If owners of a bag that is older than 2012 are having issues with their pens falling out of the pockets when their bag is inverted, some of the comments on your post offer good suggestions to include: using a mini-Sharpie or inserting the pen upside down so the fit is tighter and the pen will not slide out.

Sun Mountain does not make public, information about other brands for whom it manufacturers products, but as of 2012, any bag designed and manufactured by Sun Mountain that incorporates a pen holder pocket has this standardized depth pocket.

Also, as some of your astute readers pointed out, the 2012 Three 5 stand bag has two pockets, one for a scorecard pencil and one for permanent marker. And, Sun Mountain carts bags have two pen holder pockets, one of each side of the bag, so easily accessible regardless of which side of the cart your bag is placed.

Regarding the legs on Sun Mountain stand bags, all decisions with regards to materials used on Sun Mountain products are strongly scrutinized within the company. All parts used are judged first for function and durability and then for weight with a goal of finding the perfect balance. A number of years ago the decision was made to switch from a harder, more brittle, heavier plastic on the stand bag leg joints, to a softer, more flexible, lighter material.

The older, harder plastic kept its shape forever but it was prone to breakage due to its rigidity. And, it was heavier. The newer plastic parts are more flexible so less prone to breaking and are significantly lighter. The company made the determination that the benefits of the lighter more flexible leg joints outweighed the benefits of the harder, more rigid, heavier joints.

If you were to call Sun Mountain customer service with the issue you describe in your blog, the representative would suggest a replacement leg set and talk you through the simple process of replacement. If within the one year warranty, the leg set would be no charge. Outside of the warranty period, a replacement leg set is $9 plus shipping.

For any issues with Sun Mountain products – legs, zippers, etc —  please call Sun Mountain customer service at 800-227-9224.

Thanks again for using Sun Mountain products and for caring enough to try to help us continually improve to meet your needs.


Sun Mountain, Please Fix This Problem

Sharpie inserted all the way into the pen holder on Tony’s Sun Mountain golf bag.

I own pretty many Sun Mountain products—golf bag, push cart, rain suit, travel case—and I’m generally satisfied with all of them. I even defended Sun Mountain’s rain suits after all that trouble at the Ryder Cup. But Sun Mountain golf bags (and golf bags that Sun Mountain makes for Titleist) have an annoying defect that I first pointed out to the company, to no avail, eight or ten years ago: the pen holder on the bag (see photo above) is too shallow to engage the pocket clip on the cap of a Sharpie, which is the de facto official indelible ball-marking pen of the game of golf. As a result, the pen holder cannot be used for the only thing it’s meant to be used for. If you put a Sharpie in the pen holder on a Sun Mountain golf bag, the Sharpie will fall out, either during your golf round or, later, when you throw your bag into the trunk of your car. Making the pen holder a half-inch deeper would cost nothing but would solve the problem. Why hasn’t this been done?