If you received the November issue of the THP Newsletter then you would have read that we had a chance to chat with the man who lead the soft goods department which created the newest golf bag line from PING Golf. For their 2012 line PING has introduced new technology and new features to really make their golf bags stand out above the rest. Below is our interview with John Loudenslager, PING soft goods development manager. Here he explains about the new technology and what goes into creating the perfect bag for today’s golfer.
After reading this interview be sure to check out the THP website because PING has asked the THP forum members to test these new bags!
THP: The 2012 PING Bags are packed with state of the art technology and designs. Can you tell us about the E2 Label and how that pertains to the creation and design of these new bags?
JOHN: E2 stands for “Enhanced Ergonomics” and the product features that embody the E2 concept were identified and developed as a result of extensive player research and testing. A summary of the E2 features in our new bags includes…
1) The “strap slider” which organizes the dual strap system into a backpack-style dual strap, but retains the flexibility of an independent dual strap setup. This new part holds the straps together across your back, but allows the straps to continue to slide independently.
2) Strap design and construction for optimized comfort and fit. We tested and refined our new strap system via a series of player tests, (actual rounds of golf) including juniors, women, and men in order to optimize the design for fit and flexibility, even weight distribution, and balance. The result is a strap system that will accommodate players of all sizes with adjustability for the perfect fit! Features of the strap design include breathable mesh covered shoulder pads, seat belt style webbing, 4-point adjustments, and dual sliding shoulder pads that can be positioned anywhere along the strap with quick release hardware.
3) Integrated handle in the bag top. The handle is used for holding the bag to deploy the stand and moving the bag around easily.
4) The new leg retention system engages when the strap is lifted and the bag legs elevate and hold snug against the bag for a smooth walk down the fairway.
THP: When developing this new line what materials did you use and why?
JOHN: The bags are constructed of high-denier polyester and nylon. All of the materials that we use in our golf bags are pre-qualified and tested according to our PING standard test procedures before the material is ever considered for production. We hold all of our material suppliers to minimum test requirements and material standards that are second to none in the golf industry. For PING the material make up of the bags includes the woven and non-woven fabrics as well as all of the individual components such as bag tops, bottoms, zippers, and stand mechanisms. Woven fabrics for the new line include “ballistic” style nylon and “luggage-grade” polyester. After all the golf bags really are “luggage” for our golf equipment. These bags are built to last and will protect the golfer’s equipment for years to come. All of our bag tops and bottoms are subjected to a series of tests such as “Finite Element Analysis”, or FEA, which is a CAD simulation for testing the strength and durability of the parts. We also subject fully assembled bags to very aggressive cycle testing to simulate years of use in the field to again test for durability and reliability.
THP: What improvements have you made with this new line in terms of structure?
JOHN: We have developed all new tops, bottoms, materials, and stand systems for this bag line that all contribute to improved structure and stability. We increased the wall thicknesses of the tops and bottoms as well as optimized the geometry for impact resistance and stiffness. The stand system as well as the stand bracket are also completely redesigned and include a built-in leg stop to eliminate over-extension of the legs. The bracket is molded from a high-impact glass filled engineering resin for strength and durability.
THP: When designing a golf bag how do you decide on certain features such as how many openings the top will have, how many full length dividers it will have, the weight of the bag, number of pockets, etc.?
JOHN: Before beginning any new design we develop general goals for the product which include individual features such as top design, pocket configuration, weight, etc… Our underlying and over-arching goal and mission as a company however is to build the best golf bags in the industry hands down. We also balance our product line offerings by providing point solutions throughout the line that are driven by customer needs within that class or category of product.
THP: How much influence does consumer feedback have on designs and function?
JOHN: At PING we live by the philosophy of “test-then-design”. In concept this means that we first test individual product features, components and materials, understand the value and benefit of the features or attributes and then marry them into our total product solutions. All of our products whether it’s a golf bag, head cover, accessory, or golf club are born of this philosophy. This does include extensive consumer and account feedback however we typically design our research programs to study the “opportunities” in order to formulate product solutions. For example, with a new bag category we may interview and observe the customer directly to understand their current experience from “closet-to-course”, or “garage-to-grass” to identify opportunities that are related to the total product experience, storage at home, loading into a car or cart, and playing a round of golf. From these contextual experiences we then begin to turn observation and input into reality.
PING has truly outdone themselves with their new golf bags for 2012. It’s amazing just how much research and hard work goes into making these bags. We want to thank John for taking the time to speak with us and teach us a bit more about what goes into making a PING golf bag. For more information on these bags and other great PING Golf items you can visit their website at www.ping.com.