A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
OGIO is an anomaly in the golf industry. Unlike most of the familiar golf brand names, the Bluffdale, Utah bag manufacturer traces its 20-year old roots to youth â€œactionâ€ sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, motocross, and snowmobiling. Capitalizing on its â€œoutsiderâ€ status, OGIO quickly developed a reputation for designing stylish golf bags with innovative features, including nontraditional club dividers, zipperless ball pockets, easy-access clam-shell rainhoods and, most recently, stand legs that arc open and closed instead of popping straight out.
Before OGIO entered the golf scene, the most difficult feature to find on a golf bag was an effective club organization system â€“ dividers that didnâ€™t just compartmentalize clubs, but actually organized them. Fortunately, since OGIO introduced its Woode club divider system, other manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon and have started releasing their own versions of bags with club organizers. The result is more choices for the consumer. Still, OGIO is the originator of the species and its Woode system remains the gold standard for golfers seeking advanced club organization without stepping up to the added weight and smaller compartments of a full-fledged 14-way divider system.
The 2009 OGIO Ozone holds on to its heritage as a lightweight bag designed for walkers, like its little brother the Vaporlite. But while the Vaporlite (3.8 lbs./1.7 kgs.) is OGIOâ€™s stripped down and lightest full-sized stand bag, the Ozone (4.2 lbs/1.9 kgs) takes the basic construction of the Vaporlite and adds several small organizational and convenience features.
HOW WE TESTED IT
Over a period of approximately two weeks, the OGIO Ozone served as my primary golf bag. If I was doing something golf-related, whether that was practicing or playing, the Ozone was with me and transported all of my equipment and supplies.
DETAILED FEATURE ANALYSIS
Woode Club Management System: The feature most commonly associated with OGIOâ€™s line of golf bags is the Woode (pronounced â€œwoodyâ€) club management system. Rather than traditional symmetrical dividers, the Woode system uses an asymmetrical layout that isolates the entire woods section on one side of the bag, with individual compartments for each wood or hybrid, while locating the irons in three horizontal compartments on the opposing side of the bag. OGIO claims that â€œthis organization provides a clear view and easier access to both woods and irons.â€
I have been a fan of the Woode system since acquiring an OGIO Vaporlite several years ago. It provides a specific and individual location for four woods or hybrids, and three general slots for irons and wedges. When situated in a Woode bag, clubs are clearly visible and easy to grab when needed. An added benefit is that, when walking, a single arm can be draped over the irons to minimize bag chatter. With the Woode 4.0 top, the latest incarnation of the system, OGIO has slightly reduced the size of the four individual wood/hybrid compartments in order to increase the size of the three iron compartments. The result is a vast improvement over previous Woode designs. I experience virtually no club tangle when using the Ozone, in contrast to my Vaporlite which suffered from nagging minor club tangle in the iron compartments. Also added to the Woode 4.0 are â€œshaft separators,â€ which are essentially nubs in the iron compartments. When walking, the nubs provide no real separation benefit. However, when the bag is resting on the ground, the nubs allow the golfer to push aside clubs, which then stay put.
OGIO’s Woode top is an excellent organization design for anyone using four or less headcovered (woods and hybrids) clubs. Although still an outstanding system, it is less effective for golfers using more than four headcovered clubs because the â€œexcessâ€ clubs must reside in one of the iron compartments, disrupting the system.
One minor criticism with the Woode system is the lack of true â€œfull-lengthâ€ dividers. It is unclear why the 8-way fabric dividers terminate a few inches before the bottom of the bag. The result, however, is that, occasionally, grips from different compartments rub together. On the Vaporlite, this was a major cause of the club tangle. The bigger iron compartments of the Woode 4.0 on the Ozone seem to have mostly mitigated the problem, but the lack of true full-length dividers is curious.
ARC Lite Stand System: The 2009 Ozone is the first bag in OGIOâ€™s lightweight carry line to include the new ARC Lite legs. OGIO describes the new legs as a system that â€œdeploys the legs in an arced motion, providing the user with additional clearance to help reduce and eliminate entanglement on the userâ€™s leg when returning to the carry position.â€ The system also replaces traditional round legs with â€œoversized extruded aluminum legs [which] provide added stability while remaining ultra light for carrying.â€ The performance of the ARC Lite stand system is arguably the most important review point on the 2009 OGIO Ozone for two reasons: first, it is the most substantive change from the 2008 Ozone, which can currently be found selling at retailers for a discount over this yearâ€™s model, and; second, the traditional style stand system used OGIOâ€™s prior bags is easily the most criticized aspect of OGIO golf bags.
Having owned and an OGIO Vaporlite for several years, I can attest that criticism of the previous stand system is well-justified. Legs on older OGIO bags are unstable and no amount of tinkering keeps the legs from failing to fully extend or from flopping around when retracted. As such, the prior leg design was a regrettable misstep on an otherwise fine bag.
Consequently, the arc-shaped path of the new leg system was far less important to me than a system that deploys firmly, retracts securely, and provides stability when the bag rests on the ground. The ARC Lite system achieves these goals and finally corrects the biggest flaw in the OGIO golf bag line. Although the ARC Lite legs donâ€™t deploy with the same vigor as some other stand bags (such as the TaylorMade Monza Featherweight, which THP reviewed earlier this year), they are a vast improvement. The legs also retract quickly and hug the bag when not in use. Interestingly, OGIO bags seem to stand at a slightly more upright angle than some other bags. As a result, the Ozone can potentially be less stable than bags with a wider footprint when placing the bag on sloping ground. Under normal use, however, the difference was nominal.
Shoulder Straps: The OGIO utilizes the â€œCrossbow Lite Shoulder Strap System,â€ which is really nothing more than OGIOâ€™s version of a dual strap carry system. The straps themselves are well-padded and comfortable, even with a fully-loaded bag. The straps are secure and easy to adjust, although our Ozone needed very little adjustment out of the box, even for my six foot four inch frame.
Ball Silo: OGIOâ€™s â€œBall Siloâ€ is an externally mounted molded plastic frame designed to hold three golf balls. The Ball Silo is located on the front of the Ozone, just below the main carry handle. Balls slid in and out of the fame easily and with no visible scuffing to the balls. The Silo is conveniently located and is a welcome alternative to fishing through an overloaded ball pocket crammed full of items other than balls â€“ particularly when reaching for a provisional while still shell-shocked from watching your first ball take a sharp right turn into the woods or water.
Front Pockets (2): The front of the Ozone has two pockets: an average-size ball pocket and, above that, a small pocket suitable for tees, a divot tool, batteries or other small items that tend to get lost in larger pockets. The ball pocket is a good size and functions well. The small pocket located above the ball pocket, however, is partially blocked by the Ball Silo, making zipping and unzipping the pocket somewhat annoying. But there is no other obvious location for the Ball Silo, and the small pocket is still useful for miscellaneous small items despite the inconvenience.
Right Side Pockets (3): The right side of the Ozone incorporates three pockets: a small fleece lined â€œvaluablesâ€ pocket sits jut below the top of the bag and has an internal mesh â€œCell Phoneâ€ sleeve; a large apparel pocket that spans three-quarters of the length of the bag and which sits just below the valuables pocket; and a shallow pocket suitable for flat items like a glove, rule books, or located on top of the apparel pocket. The apparel pocket is not as large as those on some other bags, but is still big enough for a sweater or waterproofs. It would be nice if the flat pocket on top of the apparel pocket was just a tad taller so that gloves still in their plastic sleeves were easier to store and remove.
OGIO’s valuables pocket is relatively deep for a small pocket. It is fleece-lined and large enough for keys, a wallet, and whatever else you forgot to take out of your pants pockets before hitting the links. The internal cell phone sleeve is large enough for an average size flip-phone, and is equally adept at securing a small GPS rangefinder. However, larger cell phones, such as Blackberries, may be a challenge to fit into the smallish sleeve.
Left Side Pockets (2+): The left side of the Ozone includes two pockets plus a water bottle holster, scorecard sleeve, and a pencil strap. The larger pocket on the left side uses a zipper facing the front of the bag for a moderately deep pocket. The pocket is large enough to hold a wadded up long-sleeve windshirt. The smaller pocket uses a zipper facing the rear of the bag (leg area) and is thin and shallow, suitable for several Sharpies or a small cigar case. The water bottle holster is a mesh and fabric cylinder large enough for a small sports-drink bottle. The scorecard sleeve is a flap of fabric that is open on one side and situated on top of the larger of the two pockets. The pencil strap is a reinforced piece of elastic designed to hold a small scorecard pencil. The scorecard sleeve and pencil strap are conveniently labeled for those forgetful souls who may have suffered too many snowboarding related concussions. Now, where was I? Ahh yes, pockets . . .
OGIO’s â€œwalking accessible water bottle holsterâ€ is just that â€“ easily reachable while walking provided you are wearing both shoulder straps so the Ozone hangs across your back. Also accessible are the scorecard sleeve and pencil strap. These little convenience features proved to be much more appreciated than initially suspected â€“ especially for someone who dislikes carrying anything in his or her pockets while playing and who forgets his score immediately upon stepping on to the next tee box. (The consequences of those pesky snowboarding headers again.) Writing legibly while walking, however, is a skill I still have yet to master.
Pockets (generally): Except as noted above, pockets are well-located and large enough to store everything required for 18 holes or more. The pockets appear well-sewn and sturdy. Zippers, however, are a tad sticky. The zipper on the valuables pocket in particular snags almost every time it makes its way around the first corner of the pocket.
Handles: The Ozone has three handles, excluding the shoulder strap system. The primary carry handle, used to move the bag quickly and carry it for short distances, is well-padded and comfortable. However, because of the position of the Ball Silo, it is located slightly higher than on other bags. As a result, the bag feels alittle heavier and more out of balance than it should. But this is a minor annoyance considering that any lengthy carrying of the bag will be achieved using the shoulder strap system. Moreover, the added convenience of the Ball Silo is worth the minor inconvenience of the handle, which still functions adequately.
The â€œLift Gripâ€ is a small handle located underneath the ball pocket and is helpful for maneuvering the bag into a car. The Lift Grip is sturdy and the enclosed design keeps it from snagging while the bag is in the car with other items.
The â€œintegrated grab handleâ€ is a bit of a curiosity. Although useful when the Ozone is empty, as soon a putter (particularly on with a cover) is inserted into the putter well, the handle is substantially blocked. However, the handle does not present any immediately identifiable problems, so its inclusion is not a detriment.
Tee Holders: On the front of the upper part of the bag, on either side of the primary carry handle, are four elastic tee holders. The straps securely hold one or two traditional tees each, and keep you from holding everyone else up while you dig through your bag after realizing you donâ€™t have a tee in your pocket.
Velcro Strip: To the right of primary carry handle is a large Velcro patch (the soft â€œloopâ€ part of Velcroâ€™s â€œhook and loopâ€ system) for holding a glove or putter headcover while putting. Initially seeming unnecessary, I quickly found myself unconsciously using the Velcro strip, instead of my pocket, after removing my glove.
Pen/Sharpie Sleeve: Just below the Velcro strip is a long, narrow sheath designed to hold a Sharpie. Although it is a complete luxury, the additional weight is virtually non-existent. Moreover, it is nice not having to dig to the bottom of a bag pocket when you need to quickly and surreptitiously mark your buddyâ€™s ball so he will quit â€œfindingâ€ his ball on the short grass when both of you saw it land in the knee-high weeds.
Rain Hood: The rain hood included with the Ozone is the typical strap-down, single-zipper hood almost always supplied with any stand bag. While it works fine, it is a bit disappointing that the Ozone was not fitted with the OGIO invented â€œHoodeâ€ clamshell rain hood, which is included on bags such as the Nexos and which is a exponential improvement over the old stand-by hood.
Towel Loop: The Ozone uses a small elastic strap to secure a towel. It works as intended.
Umbrella Holder: The Ozone uses a fabric sleeve and a drawstring to secure a golf umbrella. It also works as intended.
Weight: OGIO lists the weight of the Ozone as 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilograms). Analysis on the Longshanks Bathroom Scale of Doom confirms a weight in the mid four-pound area.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Performance: Everything on the OGIO performed exactly as it should. Clubs slid easily into the bag and came out just as effortlessly. The Woode divider kept clubs organized and visible. The legs and stand mechanism are a quantum improvement over previous generations. The shoulder straps made the bag both comfortable to carry and easy to put on/take off. Pockets were adequate in both location and size for a bag of this type. The water bottle holster allowed easy access to hydration while walking, as did the scorecard sleeve and pencil holder. The Ball Silo, tee holders, Velcro strip, and Sharpie sleeve all worked exceptionally well and added an element of luxury to a still lightweight bag. Overall, the performance of the Ozone proved to be everything I had hoped for, and more.
Quality: In past years, OGIO has taken a reputation hit over the quality of their golf bags, primarily because of the sub-par leg system, but also because of occasional quality control issues in the form of broken zippers, imprecise plastic cutting, and fabric problems. There were even rumors that the delay in the introduction of the new OGIO line was the result of problems with quality control.
However, the Ozone provided to us (as well as several Ozones I inspected at different local stores) was close to immaculate. Except for the aforementioned zipper snagging, the bag appears as well-made as any bag currently on the market. Seams were clean and tight, fabrics strong, and buckles secure. Compared to my three-year old Vaporlite, the quality improvement in the Ozone is visibly apparent. Frankly, I bought my Vaporlite solely for the Woode divider system and, at the time, knowingly and voluntarily sacrificed quality in other areas to get it. But fortunately for consumers contemplating an OGIO golf bag purchase, that conundrum no longer exists if the Ozone is any indication of the quality of the entire 2009 OGIO line
Appearance: Besides innovations in golf bag features, OGIO has spearheaded innovation in golf bag style. In addition to conventional bag colors, OGIO offers most of its bags in several non-traditional colors and/or patterns. Both conservative golfers and golfers wishing to stand out from the crowd will undoubtedly find something to suit their own style.
The Ozone provided to THP for review was the Copper/Copper Plaid pattern, which is new for the 2009 line (itâ€™s new enough that the OGIO website doesnâ€™t display that color option for the Ozone yet.). I have historically selected conservative bag colors such as black and navy, and the Copper Plaid pattern initially jarred me. But after less than a day, the color scheme started to grow on me. In just over two weeks, I have wholeheartedly adopted the stylish color scheme to the point where I actively sought to find another design I like as much. To date, I have only found one â€“ and that was also an OGIO. But if the Copper Plaid isnâ€™t for you, the Ozone is offered in five other color options: Black (solid black), Greyhound (black and grey herringbone), Merlot (red), Electric Blue (grey and bright blue), and Pinstripe (black pinstripe and white with orange piping).
JUST THE FACTS
WHO (is it for?): Organization freaks who still want a lightweight stand bag.
WHAT (can it do for you?): Lighten your load, organize your gear, quiet your walk, and increase your style.
WHERE (should you use it?): On the course, at the practice facilities, or anywhere else your golf travels take you. The OGIO Ozone is light enough to be convenient anywhere, but large enough to carry everything you need. A near perfect combination.
WHEN (can you use it?): The Ozone is equally at home walking or riding. However, if you ride frequently and donâ€™t mind a little extra weight, consider looking at one of OGIOâ€™s bags with an integrated â€œTorq Strapâ€ which keeps the bag from twisting when secured to a cart.
WHY (would you want to use it?): Itâ€™s well-made, well-designed, and has all the organization and convenience features you could want in a lightweight stand bag. Bells and whistles, baby. Bells and freakinâ€™ whistles.
HOW (does it work): Itâ€™s a golf bag. Stick clubs in it and go play golf. Or plant begonias in it if you want. It will probably ruin the bag and kill the begonias, but if thatâ€™s how you roll, donâ€™t let us cramp your style.
LONGSHANKS RATING: Eagle
Price (MSRP): $170.00
Price (Street): $149.99
Top Size: 9″ top
Top Dividers: 8-Way â€œWoodeâ€ 4.0 club divider system with EVA molded shaft dividers and integrated grab handle.
Full Length Dividers: 8-Way
Carry Straps: Dual carry â€œCrossbow Lite Shoulder Strap Systemâ€
Pockets: 7 zippered, including 1 fleece lined â€œvaluablesâ€ pocket
Rain Hood: Strap on, single-zipper.
â€¢ Ball Silo
â€¢ Walking accessible water bottle holster
â€¢ Lift Grip integrated trunk handle
â€¢ Umbrella containment system
â€¢ Elastic oversized towel loop
â€¢ Internal cell phone pocket
â€¢ Glove/putter headcover Velcro strip
â€¢ Pen/Sharpie sleeve
â€¢ Elastic tee holder
â€¢ Scorecard sleeve
â€¢ Elastic pencil holder
Material: Square Ripstop Nylon
Manufacturerâ€™s Stated Weight: 4.2 lbs. (1.9 kgs.)
Color Options: Copper Plaid, Black, Greyhound, Merlot, Electric Blue, and Pinstripe.
14926 Pony Express Road
Bluffdale, UT. 84065
(801) 619-4100 Phone
(800) 922-1944 Toll Free
(801) 619-4111 Fax