Sun Mountain Front 9 Bag Review
For the last three or so years I’ve been rocking a Nike SQ golf bag.
It was a mediocre bag when I got it, and it’s even more mediocre compared to what’s out there today.
It also may be the most universally hated bag by caddies around the globe due to hits extremely heavy weight.
I know this, because I’ve had no less than three of them tell me that.
So, as a self-respecting (well usually), golf blogger, I knew the time had come to make some changes.
While there are a ton of different bag companies out there, my first inclination was to go to Sun Mountain.
They aren’t a company trying to do too much. They do bags, and from what I’d heard, they do them extremely well.
I probably spent 2 hours or more cruising their website and debating which bag would be right for me.
I walk most of my rounds, but I also love the idea of being able to carry a ton of stuff. It’s the packrat in me, I can’t help it.
The three primary models I looked at were:
- 2Five – The “lightest full featured golf bag” on the market
- Front 9 – The mid range in terms of weight and features.
- 3Five – A little bit heavier than the other two (but still light by most bags standards) and more to offer
I literally hopped back and forth between all three of these at one point or another.
I loved the idea of the 2Five. But I know myself, and no matter how much I try and pare down what I’m bringing – I wouldn’t be able to take that much out of my bag.
The 3Five was almost the route I went, but in the spirit of really trying to embrace a lighter bag, I decided to forgo this and stick with the Front 9.
How has it been so far? Let’s jump in and take a look.
Front 9 Stand Bag First Impressions
Upon receiving my Sun Mountain Front 9 bag, I immediately was impressed with how stylish it looked.
I opted for the black/white/lime color way which looks killer. I’ve always liked white golf accessories, but if there’s too much white you’re at serious risk of getting it dirty quickly. This is just the right amount of white to have a modern look to it, without my worrying too much about it looking dingy any time soon.
Upon taking it out of the box, I was extremely impressed with just how light it was. Keep in mind I was used to a bag that was probably close to 3 times heavier when empty, and on top of that was always full of a lot of stuff.
Sun Mountain did a good job of keeping ample storage space with a full clothes compartment, ball compartment, and two misc. pockets, a water pouch and a valuables pocket.
Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
At this point I’ve played about half a dozen rounds with the bag, including a long 36 hole day at Streamsong – so I have a pretty good feel for what I like and what I don’t like about the bag.
The major factor I love about this bag is it’s weight to features ratio. Is that a thing? No? Well let’s make it one.
Even after a long 36 hole day, I never felt tired, or felt like picking up my bag was a difficult chore. The nylon construction is lightweight, yet durable, and I can tell this thing will last for many rounds to come.
There’s also a ton of patting in the shoulder straps which make it a breeze to carry, and doesn’t cause any excess pressure on my upper body.
The stand itself clicks into place extremely well, and I love that it has a way to secure the stand for cart use – as taking my old bag on a cart was always a bit problematic.
They also somehow managed to fit an umbrella holder on the bag, and also include a matching rain hood – so when I head out to Pumpkin Ridge later today in less than ideal weather – I know that I’ll be able to have everything I need to make the round at least a little bit less miserable than it would have been without this bag 🙂
A Few Personal Issues
Let me just say upfront, I love this bag. It’s a huge upgrade from what I had, and to have so many features in a bag weighing less than 4 pounds is nothing short of incredible.
That said, there are two things about this bag that I’m not a huge fan of.
The first is the X-Strap system.
This is Sun Mountain’s strap system that they use on their lighter-weight bags.
Here’s my bag, pay attention to the straps:
And here’s the 3Five bag that has their “EZ Fit” system:
I’ve found that while the X-Strap system is certainly lighter, the straps continue to get a bit a little bit twisted and tangled as my round goes on as I continue to take the bag off and put it back on.
There’s probably a fair bit of user-error going on here, but it’s something I’ve had to think about more than once on the course, and I think the goal of any bag is to just be there serving you, rather than be something you have to think about.
The other thing is much more of a personal preference. There are only three club dividers on this bag. Obviously this is was done to keep the weight down, but coming from a bag where I had 14 individual slots (which I had my issues with as well), I wish I could divide my my clubs up just a little bit more.
Good news however, is that the club dividers are full length which makes a huge difference in terms of ease of use.
Final Thoughts: Who is This Bag For?
The Sun Mountain Front 9 is an excellent golf bag, and it’s very worthy of it’s gold medal Golf Digest review.
This bag will be perfect for you if:
- You walk and carry most of your rounds
- Don’t need to throw everything and the kitchen sink in your bag
- Want something light and easy to carry, but don’t want to sacrifice all of your space
- Build quality is important to you
However this bag is not for everyone, and is probably not the best fit if:
- You predominantly ride most of your rounds (or possibly even if you use a push cart)
- You want a ton of pockets and storage space
- You like bags with a lot of dividers for clubs
If you fall into the latter category in any of these, then the 3 Five or 4 Five will be perfect for you depending on which features are most important.
These bags have all of the same pros (incredible construction, look good, low weight to features), but are a little bit bigger and more full featured.
As far as price goes, Sun Mountain has always been a premium brand, but the Front 9 in particular is a little bit less expensive than it’s siblings at a retail value of around $180. And if the latest and greatest isn’t that important to you, you can find some of last year’s models right now for quite a bit less.
For me personally? If I were to go back I probably would have opted for the 3Five, just to fit my personal needs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the lightweight bag and it has honestly made walking the course considerably easier. I also, surprisingly, haven’t missed having more space/compartments in the bag – which has helped my golf life become a lot less cluttered.
But I have yet to figure out the strap situation, and the EZ-Strap system on their larger bags is just something that I prefer.
All in all, a fantastic buy for the avid walking golfer and I have zero hesitations in recommending this product!
- Incredible Build Quality
- Light weight
- Great feature set for size/weight
- Didn't love the X-Strap system
- Would have preferred more club dividers