Vessel Player IV Golf Bag-03

Vessel Player IV Review: Is it a Worthy Update?

Let’s not beat around the bush, the Vessel Player III is my personal favorite golf bag of all time.

It’s made of extremely high-quality materials, it looks sleek and modern, and for my personal needs, it’s about as functional as it gets.

I’ve taken my Player III to numerous states, and even carried it halfway across Australia.

Guess what? It still performs like the day I first got it.

But its days may be numbered.

The bag that has gotten so much use will likely be relegated to an office closet and only brought out for the occasional photo shoot or YouTube video for comparison purposes.


Because as of today the Vessel Player IV and Player IV Pro bags have officially been released, and guess what? They’re just as good, and maybe even a little bit better, than its successor.

What’s changed? Is it worth spending nearly $400 (or more) on a luxury golf bag? And which model should you go for, the standard Player IV or the brand new “Pro” version?

I’ll cover it all in this Vessel Player IV review.

First Impressions of the Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

Do you know what the best part about the Player IV golf bag is? It’s nearly indistinguishable from its older sibling.

Often I feel like brands will make major changes to updated products just because they feel like they can – or rather they should, in order to sell more bags to existing customers.

When I took the Vessel Player IV out of the box, it was like a shiny new version of my older bag was staring back out at me.

I mean that quite literally: they look almost identical.

Vessel Player III vs Player IV

The new Player IV on the right with the outgoing Player III on the left.

It is the same “grey” colorway, it has the same six-divider top, and there were no major changes to the pockets and their locations.

And this is generally a great thing.

The Vessel Player III has been my top golf bag recommendation for a reason.

It’s very functional and durable. Yes, it’s on the heavier side, but despite that, it’s comfortable to carry, push, or ride with.

The materials on the new Vessel bags are still second to none. The synthetic leather touches like the handle grip are soft and supple. When compared to the leather handle on the Sun Mountain Mid-Stripe which is a beautiful tan, you really notice the Vessel feels higher quality.

But rather than rehash what I covered in my previous review, let’s look at what has specifically changed in the Player IV as it compares to the outgoing model.

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

The Player IV is the updated version of my previous favorite bag the Player III. It's about as good as it gets when it comes to quality and usability. Highly recommended.

Buy from Vessel
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

What’s New in the Vessel Player IV Bag?

The more I write here, the more clear it’s becoming that most of the things I wrote in my Player III review all still hold true. So if you’re considering buying this bag, when you’re done here, I’d go read that review as well.

Nearly all of the good things are still just as good, and the handful of downsides are still there as well.

With the release of the Player IV, however, they’ve also added a new model: the Player IV Pro.

Deciding if you need the Pro model or not can be a little tricky, because most of the differences between the two are relatively minor. But there is one fairly noticeable change that was a feature of the III, but is now only available on the Pro version of the IV that I’m a little disappointed by – so we’ll get to that in a minute.

But what’s changed?

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

New Cooler Pouch

One of the first things I noticed is that there is a new material inside the second largest pocket of the bag. It’s now cooler lined, so if you’re looking for some extra beer or soda storage, this is a welcome addition.

All bags still have two magnetic outdoor beverage storage pockets, which in my experience have always worked very well in practice.

New Rotator Base

The “Rotator Base” has been a hallmark of Vessel bags for a while now, and for good reason. Repeatedly setting it down, deploying the legs, getting your clubs, and picking it up again is easy and reliable.

I wouldn’t have necessarily said this needed an upgrade, but they specifically redesigned the interior of the base to make clubs less likely to get caught or jammed.

In two rounds with the new bag, I’ve had zero issues with clubs getting caught, even when I’ve packed the bag full. So it appears as though they’ve achieved their goal with this.

Enhanced Magnetic Rangefinder Pouch

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

The new design for the rangefinder pouch on the Player IV.

This is one of those features I never would have expected to like or need, until I’ve used it for 50 rounds.

I’ve generally stopped attaching a rangefinder case to the outside of my bag, and I now just put my rangefinder in this magnetic pouch.

It’s easy to access, and I love not having more random stuff hanging off my bag and adding more weight when I’m carrying my clubs.

This pocket is still there, but they’ve added an extra divider in it for increased versatility. If you use this for something other than a rangefinder, then you’ll probably get the most value out of it. But I’ve found having another spot I can put tees or ball markers for easy access to be useful – making this a nice quality-of-life upgrade.

Vessel Badging

The most obvious change from the III to the IV is updated metal badging.

The primary logo on the old bag was a high-quality rubber Vessel badge just above the handle.

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

The new Vessel branding on the Player IV

This has been replaced with a metal badge that has the brand’s emblem rather than a name. It’s a bit more subtle and high-class than the outgoing model, and I’m a fan.

There’s also a subtle metal emblem near the base of the bag on the magnetic drink pouch.

Difference Between the Vessel Player III and Player IV

If you’re sold on a Vessel bag, then the biggest decision you’ll now have to make is:

Do you go for the standard Player IV or do you spend an extra $40 and go for the “Pro” version.

There are a few nice features of the Pro model, that would make me lean in that direction.

But before we get into that, let’s look at one thing I’m disappointed by in the update from the III to the IV.

Microfiber Lining on the Vessel Bag

One of the features that really made the Player III stand out against the competition was the microfiber-lined straps and club dividers. 

It really elevates the bag against its competition and makes it feel worth its premium price tag.

I was a little disappointed to see that this microfiber lining has been replaced on the Player IV with a more standard mesh material.

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

The new mesh straps on the Player IV are different than the microfiber lining of the Player III and Player IV Pro.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very high quality, but it doesn’t feel as special and luxurious as the microfiber material.

The good news? You can still get this material on your bag, you just have to opt for the “Pro” model.

Honestly, the Player IV Pro feels like a true update to the previous generation bag. 

The regular Player IV feels like it has some minor quality-of-life updates, with one material change that’s a slight downgrade.

Other Upgrades on the Player IV Pro

The Player IV Pro also features a few other upgrades that elevate it a bit over the standard model.


  • Larger Top Design – The standard Player IV (and III) have an 8.5″ top and the Pro version has a larger 9.5″ top
  • Pebbled Texture – I haven’t seen the “Pro” version in person, and honestly can’t totally tell where this “pebbled texture” is and how it’s different from the “matte” texture on the regular model. It’s tough to tell in photos, but I’ll update this when I get hands-on with a “Pro” model.
  • Larger Garment Pocket – This one is a big deal for me. The Garment Pocket on the Player III is huge. Significantly bigger than the Stitch SL2 and moderately bigger than the Sun Mountain Mid-Stripe. On the Player IV, it’s still very good sized, but feels slightly smaller than the III. So my thought is that the IV Pro got the larger pocket the III previously had. I carry a large camera with telephoto lens for many rounds, so the large garment pocket is one of the most important components of a bag for my use case.
  • Magnetic Side Pocket – Magnetic pockets always feel a bit higher-end, and this is a nice minor touch on the Pro.
Editor's Choice: Best Overall Bag
Vessel Player IV Pro

The true successor to the wonderful Player III, the Player IV Pro is as comfortable versatile as it is good-looking. If you're looking for a bag that does it all, this is our pick.

Buy from Vessel
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Weight of the Vessel Player IV and Player IV Pro

The downside to going with the Player IV Pro over the standard Player IV? Aside from the extra $40, it’s also heavier. The Pro weighs 6.55 pounds vs. 6.16 for the standard IV.

And this is if you have the 6-way divider. The Pro tips the scales at 7.45 pounds with the heavier 14-way divider.

The rain hood is extremely high quality and made of the same synthetic material as the bag itself, but that quality comes with added weight, as the rain hood is a beefy .8 pounds. 

With the rain hood in your bag, this puts the Pro model over 8 pounds, which is about as heavy as you’ll find for a carry bag.

In loading up the standard Player IV, I’d say it doesn’t feel as heavy as the weight would suggest. The equilibrium straps do their job wonderfully at distributing weight making it a nice bag to carry.

It’s also worth noting the standard Player IV actually comes in slightly lighter than the original Player III, so that’s a nice benefit if you go this route.

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

The strap design is fantastic, making the bag comfortable to carry despite the weight.

The weight has always been the biggest downside to the Vessel bags, and after dozens of rounds with the Player III it hasn’t been a major issue for me. 

Full disclosure, I probably only carry my clubs for 20% of my rounds. I usually use a pushcart which makes the weight less of a factor.

That said, if you carry and you’re a packrat, then the pounds will add up quickly with either bag – but especially a 14-divider Pro model.

Which Vessel Bag Should You Buy?

Vessel Player IV vs Player III

The Player IV on the left and older Player III on the right.

Both the Vessel Player IV and Player IV Pro are wonderful golf bags – there isn’t a bad decision.

For me, I’d personally go with the Pro with a 6-divider top.

If weight is a concern, maybe consider the Player IV Pro DXR which is lighter.

It’s the bag that, despite being heavy, feels like the true successor to the Player III with the most updates.

While the Player IV is fantastic, it feels more like the Player 3.5. There are a handful of nice updates, but the material change for the straps and club divider is a step back from the Player III.

So to keep that material, and get the upgrades I listed above? That’s well worth an extra $40.

That means you’re looking at $435 for a golf bag. That’s a lot of money.

But honestly? In my experience, the premium price of a Vessel bag is well worth it. The materials are very high quality, and my Player III is still in just as good of shape as the day I first received it.

To be clear, if you haven’t ever used a Vessel bag and you get the standard Player IVyou will be happy. It’s fantastic. And you’d never even have noticed or given a second thought to the material change I mentioned above.

But if you already have a Player III and you’re looking for a true upgrade? Go with the Player IV Pro. It gets my pick as the best overall bag on the market right now.

This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy one of the products on this page, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you!) This doesn’t affect our opinions or our reviews. Everything we do is to benefit you as the reader, so all of our reviews are as honest and unbiased as possible.

Vessel Player IV Golf Bag

The Player IV is the updated version of my previous favorite bag the Player III. It's about as good as it gets when it comes to quality and usability. Highly recommended.

Buy from Vessel
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Editor's Choice: Best Overall Bag
Vessel Player IV Pro

The true successor to the wonderful Player III, the Player IV Pro is as comfortable versatile as it is good-looking. If you're looking for a bag that does it all, this is our pick.

Buy from Vessel
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

There are 5 comments

Add yours
  1. Bill Wallace

    Sean, good review, but honestly when someone is getting merchandise comped to them, they tend to forget the meaning of “value” and confuse it with “cost, or price”. Often there is very little true correlation between value and price. I’m into my 6th year carrying (and traveling with) my Ogio stand bag. All the zippers still work so magnetic closures mean very little (and they are much easier for some stranger to get into your pockets). The legs still work fine and the only visible wear is where the clubs rub the top of the dividers. Straps are still comfortable and the colorways are still vibrant, all at a price under $200. That is value.

    • Sean Ogle

      Hi Bill, thanks so much for the comment! I totally agree with your comments on value. The way I tend to look at it is what am I getting relative to the cost of the product. I think the Vessel is an excellent bag, and I’ve had hardly any complaints about the one I’ve used for a few years now. But to your point, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a good “value” and I don’t believe I did in this review. It’s a luxury product at a luxury price. It’s very well made, and performs great. But are there other bags that represent a better “value”? Certainly. Your Ogio sounds like a great example of that.

    • Sean Ogle

      Honestly, I think it looks pretty great. I haven’t used a DXR bag or seen one in person, so it’s all speculation. But to have the design and features of the standard model, but lighter? You might get kind of the best of both worlds. I also like the X pattern and red accents on the stand legs.

  2. Brett

    Sean – as the Player IV Pro is sold out, I was curious if you’ve seen the VLS Lux Stand and what your thoughts are there. I know it’s smaller, but I’m having a hard time understanding just how much. Do you know if it’s more of the standard stand bag you would see in the stores?

Post a new comment