Made by Athalon Sports (who licenses the right to use the Samsonite name, and who also manufactures the Samsonite Hardside golf travel case that we like so much), the Samsonite Spinner soft-case golf travel bag features four spinner wheels on the base of the bag that pivot 360 degrees. The design is intended to let you use the spinner wheels to roll the Spinner while it is standing up, or use the two in-line skate wheels on the side of the bag for pulling it along behind you. But like the OGIO Mammoth, another soft-case with spinner wheels on the base, the Samsonite Spinner had a tough time staying balanced upright, which ultimately led us to give up and just drag it in tow.
Tipping the scales at a svelte 10 pounds, the Samsonite Spinner is the second-lightest golf travel bag we have tested, behind only the Bag Boy T-2000. The reduced weight means you can transport more of your stuff without running over the airlines’ 50 pound weight limit. The Spinner has quilted padding around most of the bag, although it strangely has none at all along the middle portion of the back panel. While this may have been driven by their assumption that your carry bag itself will provide protection for you clubs on that side, it seems like providing some cushioning in that spot wouldn’t have cost too much in terms of additional weight.
There are no internal storage pockets, and the only external storage comes from the removable shoe bag that zips on and off. One nice innovation is the clip loop on the top panel through which a small bag can be attached to the Spinner, enabling you to roll everything together (assuming you can keep the smaller bag balanced on top).
The $360 suggested retail price is breathtakingly steep, but we found it listed at most retailers for just under $100. It doesn’t really deliver on the upright rolling, but at that price (which makes it the least expensive bag we have tested), the Samsonite Spinner is worth considering as an entry-level purchase.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The Samsonite Spinner is made of a nylon weave. The bottom of the bag features a hard plastic backing that extends 15 inches up the back panel of the Spinner to provide additional protection and some stability. Note, however, that the OGIO Mammoth (31 inches) and the Club Glove Last Bag (28 inches) both provide significantly more hard plastic protection on the back panel.
The bag is contoured to be wider at the base and taper at the top, with about a 4-inch difference at the extreme ends. This is purportedly to enhance the balance, but as we’ll describe below, it doesn’t help enough.
There’s a reasonable amount of cushioning at the top of the Samsonite Spinner to protect the club heads. As we noted above, however, the absence of any cushioning at all at the middle of the back panel seems to be a misguided way to save on some weight. Dual two-way zippers run the length of the bag, providing easy access to the contents.
The design of the Samsonite Spinner golf travel bag includes:
- three handles – one at the top of the bag, one on the side, and one at the base of the bag – each of which is made of steel cable and surrounded with a padded grip
- a detachable oversize shoe pocket (see image at right) on the front panel that quickly unzips from the bag, providing an elegant way to schlep your footwear into the locker room
- a plastic window to hold a business card or other ID tag
- two adjustable internal straps to secure your golf bag
- two in-line skate wheels for pulling the bag behind you
- four additional spinner wheels on the base for rolling the Spinner in an upright position
- two color options- black and steel
The allure of the marketing for the Samsonite Spinner (and implied in its very name) is the ability to roll the Spinner upright on the four spinner wheels mounted on the base. The problem is that there isn’t enough structure to the bag to keep it balanced – trying to roll it upright is like trying to keep your drunk friend walking just long enough to not attract the attention of the cop on the corner. There’s a lot of leaning, a quiet exertion of extreme effort, and ultimately some cursing under your breath.
The Spinner only weights 10 pounds (as tested), making it the second lightest bag we tested. We used the Samsonite Spinner with a standard-sized golf carry bag. As noted above, there are two internal straps with adjustable buckles that enable you to secure your golf bag. An oddity is that the strap at the top portion of the bag is positioned in a way that it has to be angled down to pass through the handle on the carry bag, which creates a slouch in the Spinner when it is standing up. Like it needs any more obstacles to standing up straight…
There was enough room in the interior of the Spinner to pack clothing for a 4-day golf trip. There aren’t any pockets to help in organizing the contents, so don’t expect everything to be where you originally packed it – after all, TSA is always going to root through your bag (as they should, since it appears on the x-rays as a bunch of long metal rods).
The removable shoe bag (see image) mounted on the front panel of the Spinner made for easy storage of a pair of shoes, and had room for some socks as well.
The in-line skate wheels rolled nicely, but after having experienced the glories of four-wheeled golf travel bags, we found it difficult to transition back to a standard two-wheeler.
At a retail price of $360, the Samsonite Spinner is the second most expensive travel bag in our tests. Thankfully, it can be ordered from most online outlets for about $100, which is a much better approximation of its value. Unfortunately, since we can’t guarantee that you’ll get that kind of deal, we had to dock some points in our “cost/value” rating.