Sun Mountain Zero-G

The Sun Mountain Zero-G takes top honors in our bag test due to its excellent all-around performance and the clever innovation of its belt strap. Sun Mountain has been toying around with ways to distribute the weight of the bag to the user’s hips and legs, instead of the shoulders and lower back, and with the Zero-G, they’ve finally gotten it right. Comfortable, easy to use, what’s not to like? Oh yeah, the steep price point. It may not be worth it to a limber 15-year old, but our middle-aged backs were more than willing to shuck out the extra cash. The additional amount you pay to Sun Mountain is a lot less than you’d otherwise have to pay to your massage therapist and your chiropractor…

SCORE
94
GRADE
A
Club Storage
91
Legs
95
Straps
94
Pockets/Storage
89
Rain Hood
83
Carrying Impressions
96
Style
86
Innovation
95
Cost/Value
90

Retail price: $229.99
Availability: Discontinued. Replaced by the Sun Mountain Three 5 Zero-G
Amazon.com price: Check price now

Editor’s note: this review is for the 2010 version of the Sun Mountain Zero-G.


91 / A-

CLUB STORAGE

The Sun Mountain Zero-G has a 6-way top that splits the club area into 6 sectors, but only two dividers run the length of the bag, so there are essentially 3 main club storage areas. The 6-way top divides each of those areas in two. We didn’t have much of a problem with limited number of full-length dividers, although once in a blue moon, your clubs will get tangled (particularly if your grips are sticky).


95 / A

LEGS

We’ll just repeat what we said about the legs on the Sun Mountain Superlight 3.5, since the Zero-G seems to have the same ones. Great legs! These are Stacey Keibler or Elle Macpherson quality gams we’re talking about on the Sun Mountain bags. Wide rubber feet (the Stacey/Elle analogies have now ended) provide excellent stability, and the legs pop out easily upon setting down the bag. There is an element of independent suspension in the legs, in that they don’t both automatically pop out the same amount, which is helpful when dealing with uneven lies. A Velcro strap can be used to lock the legs if the user is traveling or using a cart.


94 / A

STRAPS

Like most of its competitors, the Sun Mountain Zero-G features 4 adjustment points for the straps. The padding on the straps is excellent.

The distinguishing feature of the Zero-G, of course, is the hip belt, which we’ll include as a “strap” for purposes of our review. Sun Mountain’s previous effort at redistributing weight was its terrible “HUG” technology, which involved flipping down an ungainly foam-covered metal brace around your hips.

But with the Zero-G, they’ve figured it out. The new hip belt eases the weight of the clubs and the bag off of your fragile back and shoulders and on to the big muscles of your hips and legs. Users will feel the difference over the course of a round (particularly on hilly terrain).

Using the Zero-G’s hip belt is a piece of cake – as with any other bag, you start by slinging it across your shoulders with the backpack straps, and then you simply fasten the padded belt strap around your hips with the Velcro that is located about where a belt buckle would be. Upon arriving at your ball, you pull the Velcro apart and set down the bag as you normally would. Occasionally, fastening and unfastening the Velcro belt is more trouble than it’s worth (like when you chunk an approach shot 40 yards) – in those cases, users can just leave the belt unfastened.

If you are taking a cart or traveling and don’t want to have to deal with the belt strap, you can easily slip the belt off of the bag and then use the “standard” backpack setup.


89 / B+

POCKETS/STORAGE

The Sun Mountain Zero-G features 7 total pockets.

The Sun Mountain Zero-G includes traditional straps on the right side of the bag for holding an umbrella and a ring for attaching a towel.

It’s a very standard layout for pockets, but one that works well.


83 / B-

RAIN HOOD

The Sun Mountain Zero-G has the same convoluted rain hood as the other Sun Mountain and Titleist products. Securing the hood involves the difficult process of threading two Velcro straps through anchors on the front of the bag (instead of around the legs, which was our first guess), then snapping two buttons around the straps, and finally threading a final Velcro strap around the handle. As mentioned in those other reviews, we think Sun Mountain went a bit overboard with the security levels – the lengthy set-up process seems counterintuitive to the immediate goal of getting the clubs covered as soon as possible.


96 / A

CARRYING IMPRESSIONS

Boy did we like using the Sun Mountain Zero-G!


86 / B

STYLE

About average in terms of the looks of the bag itself, the Sun Mountain Zero-G gets docked a little for style because, to be honest, the belt looks a bit dorky when it’s unfastened. The Sun Mountain Zero-G comes in six different color combinations:


95 / A

INNOVATION

We just can’t say enough about the belt strap. In our minds, it fundamentally changes the carrying experience, much like Izzo’s development of the backpack strap did about 15 years ago. We look forward to seeing further innovation on this design from other bag manufacturers. The Zero-G also gets points for the integrated handle at the top of the bag.


90 / A-

COST/VALUE

The Sun Mountain Zero-G provides solid features and quality performance and the belt strap took it over the top and made it our favorite. Yes, it is the second most expensive bag in our test, at a hefty $229.99, but “value” doesn’t necessarily just mean a low price. What our reviewers look for is whether the product delivers utility commensurate with the price, and our reviewers (and their lower backs) felt that the Sun Mountain Zero-G was well worth the investment.