There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
Sun Mountain’s Boom Stand Golf Bag. A carry bag with built-in Bluetooth speakers
Who Tried It
Dave Wolfe– MyGolfSpy writer and putter fanatic. I’m also the OG of golf bag and portable audio testing at mygolfspy.com.
Wait, you can play music while playing golf?
Man, wouldn’t it be great to listen to music while golfing? Sounds like a great way to enhance a great game. Let’s grab the buddies, play some tunes, shotgun some Claws and smash the rock around the course. It’ll be like Topgolf—except out in nature!
Admittedly, I probably should have had a trigger warning before that paragraph.
Look, I know that many of you are not down with music on the golf course. In terms of loud, invasive music, I am right there with you. That said, I find that playing music during a casual round, at an unobtrusive volume, adds to the enjoyment of that round. As it turns out, I’m not alone.
Bluetooth speakers are ubiquitous on golf courses these days. Many golfers bring portable speakers from home. Some golf courses now feature golf carts with built-in Bluetooth speakers that players can connect to while riding. Like I said, speakers and music are everywhere.
Golf Companies Answer Knocking Opportunities
Obviously, golf companies are aware of this musical manifestation and want to get in on the action. COBRA/PUMA Golf was an early speaker seller but it wasn’t a needle-mover for sales. I don’t know anyone except our Tony Covey who had their Soundchuck speaker, a solid complement to his ever-present PUMA driving cap. Years later, you can find six speaker options on the PUMA site. Still, I’d argue that none of these is specifically a “golf” audio product. They are just speakers with golf branding.
Sun Mountain’s ’22 Boom Cart Bag
When Sun Mountain released the Boom cart bag last year, we saw the first real integration of speaker technology with a golf product. That bag was straight out of Caddyshack. Not only did it have built-in Bluetooth speakers but it actually performed very well as a cart bag. Sadly, the Boom cart bag lacked the anticipated beer tap and a television. Though it had a few flaws, the Sun Mountain Boom cart bag was adept at both playing music and toting golf gear. That bag truly integrated the golf and audio arenas.
Enter the 2023 Sun Mountain Boom Stand Bag
The one thing that the Sun Mountain Boom cart bag did not do well was work as a carry bag. Not that it should have, being that it was a cart bag after all. Thankfully, Sun Mountain was aware of this and developed the Sun Mountain Boom carry bag for the music-listening walking golfer.
Let’s see if the Sun Mountain Boom stand bag with its integrated speakers is a bag worth slinging as you get in your steps.
Sun Mountain Boom Carry Bag Sound Quality Review
Let’s start with the sound. This new Boom carry bag packs solid sound output levels. The Sun Mountain Boom carry bag handles the volume well. The volume is perfect for most golfing conditions. The volume was excellent, on par with most portable Bluetooth speakers. At no time during play did I wish for it to be louder. For a speaker designed to be used outside, volume is a top priority.
Pat Perez dancing at a LIV after-party will need a few more decibels but you should have ample volume from tee to green during your round.
Like its cart bag predecessor, the bass is still on the weak side with the Boom stand bag, not surprising as the speakers look to be the same in both bags. I had hoped Sun Mountain could figure out a way to put some more “boom” in the bass. It seems to me the speaker unit could hold a passive subwoofer like the one found in JBL’s Flip 5 speaker. The space for bass enhancement is there. It’s a large golf bag after all. Maybe this will be addressed in the second incarnations of the Boom bags.
Battery life is once again about four hours. This is not unexpected since the battery used for the stand bag and the cart bag is the same. Unfortunately, many of the rounds I play these days are over four hours. This means you will need to bring an extra battery along to juice up the Boom battery for the closing holes.
Slow play sucks but slow play with dead speakers sucks more.
General Golf Bag Design
With one caveat, the Sun Mountain Boom carry bag is a very comfortable carry bag. A couple of the features really impressed me during the review.
Funtastic Four-Way Top
Above all, I loved the top design for this bag. The large handle at the top of the bag made for easy pickup and transfer to the back. Though I was initially skeptical, I really enjoyed the open space in the four-way top. Normally, I am a 14-way guy. I like to have all the clubs reside in their individual homes, nary a deviation from their set positions. Anal retention is alive and well in my golf bag.
The ease of access provided by the four-way top won me over. Clubs slid in and out without tangling and there was ample room for all 14 clubs. Sure, I couldn’t always automatically keep the irons in numerical order but it wasn’t like they were hard to find. Naturally, I did occasionally (always) reorder them when deviations were observed.
Sensational Straps and Stand
The strap and stand systems on the Sun Mountain Boom carry bag are excellent. The straps are comfortable and find their way to the same spots on the shoulders with ease. Nary a twisted strap observed. Once adjusted, taking the bag on and off was simple and forgettable. That’s probably the highest compliment I can pay a carry bag. For those of you who prefer a single-strap system, that is also an included option with the Sun Mountain Boom carry bag.
The leg design is also on point. The flat legs pop out with purpose, tucking away instantly with the lift of the bag. Not once did I reach back to tuck in a renegade leg.
That One Thing …
I only have one real on-course criticism of the Sun Mountain Boom carry bag. It’s top-heavy. Obviously, those speakers at the top are the packing-on-the-pounds culprits. Maybe some of the weight could be shaved by reducing the plastic around the speakers but having the speakers up there means you’ll have more weight there.
By no means is this a fatal flaw but it does require accommodations. First, you will likely set the strap system so the bag carries a bit more upright than you are used to carrying. Second, you will need to keep it nose-up when taking it off your shoulder. I did dump my clubs in the turf taking off the bag before I realized this.
Adding a full water bottle to the lower pocket helps balance the bag, but not completely. The speakers add weight to the top and make the bag feel different than a traditional carry bag where there is very little mass at the top.
You’ll likely get used to the weight shift quickly but understand that this is an unavoidable feature of the bag.
Carry or Ride—Don’t Push
The Sun Mountain Boom carry bag is a two-phase bag. It works great on your back and quite well on a riding cart. On a push cart though, the speakers are an issue. They sit right where most push cart brackets attach to the top of the bag. Even if you can fit the strap around the bulbous Boom speakers, the plastic-on-plastic contact leads to lots of twisting as you push the bag around.
Perhaps Sun Mountain will see an opening here and produce a Boom version of their SYNC bag.
Sun Mountain Boom Carry Bag: A Solid Gen One Unit
Overall, I dig the Sun Mountain Boom carry bag. For the most part, the design works. I think it is a solid first incarnation of the built-in-speaker carry bag. Like the cart bag, there are places for improvement but, overall, it checks the boxes. The top is great. It has lots of pockets, though the largest one is reduced a bit to accommodate the speaker at the top.
The sound could be improved but is still pretty good. I think there is room for some redesign here. The speakers look cool at the top of the bag but maybe some of the decorative plastic could be removed to drop the weight. To non-engineer me, it seems there is a way to incorporate a passive subwoofer into the design to improve the bass. Maybe it could even face the inside of the bag, using the large volume of the bag for low-end resonance.
How about dropping a powered subwoofer into the bottom of the bag? Sure, you’d add some weight but that would balance out the weight at the top. Plus, wouldn’t be fun to have the bag hit hard enough to make the water hazard ripple a bit?
Find out more about the Sun Mountain Boom stand bag at sunmountain.com
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