The new Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection are limited-edition golf bags that are really, really cool.
But five will get you 10 those bags are going to make you really, really mad.
They shouldn’t but odds are they will. Here’s why.
The Carbon Fiber Collection features a stand bag and cart bag for $1,595. The Staff bag goes for $1,695. And there’s also a driver head cover that’s a relative bargain at $245.
Vessel is quite upfront in saying it really doesn’t know who the customer will be. It just knows there won’t be a lot of them. That’s the whole point behind a limited edition, after all.
Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection
“I really don’t know who’s going to buy a $1,600 golf bag,” admits Vessel founder and CEO Ronnie Shaw. “I don’t know if people will buy it but we just wanted to create something truly special that no one else can do.”
That’s the way it is with limited editions, especially commemorative limited editions celebrating a milestone. In this case, that milestone is Vessel’s 10th anniversary. So you can easily imagine Vessel gifting just as many of these bags to special clients and business partners as it sells to golfers. But as special as Shaw says the Carbon Fiber Collection is, it’s also “proof of concept.”
“We want to put out a bag with the most incredible material we can find.”
That material is a carbon fiber fabric called Omniflex. In golf, you find carbon fiber in everything from shafts and metalwood crowns to Stealth driver faces. It hasn’t been used much in golf bags because, well, why would you?
Vessel, however, is teaming up with a Washington State-based company called Carbitex, the makers of Omniflex, to bring carbon fiber to a luxury golf bag.
What Is Omniflex?
“It’s a highly strong, highly durable material that’s also extremely light,” says Carbitex Business Development VP Clark Morgan. “It’s a utilitarian characteristic that carbon fiber has in spades.”
What makes Omniflex different can be found in its name. It’s a very light and flexible carbon fiber fabric that is also very strong and very durable. The material is used in other sports equipment, most notably in Lionel Messi’s soccer cleats at the World Cup. Together, Vessel and Carbitex have figured out a way to use Omniflex in a golf bag to make it stronger, lighter and more durable.
However, that does beg the question: How much lighter, stronger and more durable does a golf bag need to be?
“It’s a luxury to have,” says Shaw. “Is it a must-have? No, not really. But it’s something no one else can do so it’s how we can push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
Vessel is using Omniflex in several parts of the bag in place of polyurethane (PU). In a product release video, Vessel shows a strip of Omniflex lifting a 41-pound weight and staying completely intact. A piece of PU lifting the same weight stretched like a rubber band.
“When PU starts to stretch, the integrity of the bag starts to go down,” says Shaw. “In our bag, we connected the top and the bottom with a carbon fiber piece. So no matter how heavy you load the bag, nothing will ever stretch.”
Think Concept Car
If you’re still thinking about storming the castle, maybe try thinking of the Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection as a concept car. Vessel is doing this to prove it can make Omniflex work in a modern golf bag, and to see what’s possible.
“One of the heaviest areas of the golf bag is the spine,” explains Shaw. “The area behind the main handle is usually reinforced with maybe four layers of PU. Now that we know how to work with carbon fiber, you’re going to see a new collection in the future that will replace those four layers of PU and backing with one strip of carbon fiber.”
This project has been in the works for more than two years and is truly a limited edition. Vessel is making only 560 stand bags, 250 cart bags, 150 staff bags and 450 head covers. Each one will be individually numbered.
Vessel is a high-end luxury bag company. Believe it or not, the luxury market is surprisingly underserved. But this price point is virgin territory. Again, many of these bags will no doubt be purchased as gifts for clients or as a collectible. Whether any golf bag is worth that kind of money isn’t even a consideration.
“The price is a combination of our premium material and our 10th anniversary,” says Shaw. “You can’t find it anywhere else nor is anyone else doing anything like this.”
What’s in the Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection?
The Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection features three bags plus a commemorative driver head cover. The Player III Carbon Black stand bag is the Carbon Collection’s version of MyGolfSpy’s 2022 top-rated stand bag. It features six full-length dividers, lots of pockets, waterproof zippers and anything else you could think of in a bag selling for $1,595. There’s even an interior valuables pocket with a combination lock. It weighs just over six pounds.
The LUX Cart Carbon Black cart bag features 14 full-length dividers, has even more pockets and storage as well as that valuables pocket with the combination lock. The cart bag also sells for $1,595 and weighs just over seven pounds. Its non-Carbon Collection brother finished a close second in MyGolfSpy’s 2022 cart bag testing.
The PrimeX Tour is a new Vessel staff bag model designed exclusively for the Carbon Fiber Collection. It has a six-way divider, weighs just under 10 pounds and sells for $1,695.
The $245 head cover features Omniflex carbon fiber side panels with a synthetic leather front and back.
A Decade For Vessel
I hope everyone has calmed down enough to realize the Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection is not another perceived brick in the wall keeping the average folks out of the game. And it’s not further proof that golf manufacturers are out of control.
It’s just a one-off luxury item to celebrate Vessel’s 10th anniversary.
“I’d be lying if I told you we’d be the company we are today,” says Shaw, who started working in his father’s golf bag company when he was 10 years old. “I thought I’d be back in China making golf bags. This has been an incredible journey and beyond my wildest dreams.”
A new backpack with Omniflex is due in the next month or so and Shaw says Omniflex will eventually find its way into other Vessel products. Will it wind up taking over the golf bag industry? Who knows? It comes down to a very practical question: How much stronger, more durable and lighter does a golf bag really need to be?
“This is the start of something that Carbitex and our team can do together in the future,” says Shaw. “This is our first project. Our bags hold up the way they are, but it’s pushing what’s possible.”
For more information on the limited-edition Vessel Carbon Fiber Collection, visit the Vessel website.