Every time we suspect that the eternal flame of creativity ain’t so eternal, along comes a Joshua Smith to stoke its non-luminous zone. We’ve all purchased golf bags of varying weights and sizes. Some are meant for riding carts, others for push-carts, and still others for carrying. And those bags tell a story, but it belongs to the company or the club. Well, it did, until now. Imagine designing a bag that tells your story. I did, thanks to Joshua and his company, FlagBag Golf Company. I won’t ruin the how, what and why; I’ll let Joshua tell the rest.
1. What was the genesis for the idea?
My “day job” is working as a Golf Course Superintendent at Orinda Country Club in Northern California and I moonlight as a golf landscape oil painter. Last spring, I was in my office and trying to decide what to do with the box of “flown” flags in the corner. As a lifelong golfer, golf history buff and golf flag lover, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw those flags away. I’d battled the same dilemma at Cal Club for 7 years prior to coming to Orinda. They still had a lot of useful life left, and I hated the idea of sending them to a landfill. I knew they still had value to someone.
It was then that the idea struck me of a golf bag. I have used a small leather golf carry bag for nearly 30 years as I am definitely a “walking golfer”. I just envisioned how cool these flags might look put together as a golf bag. Then I started to envision all the great logos on flags around the world and that most courses, maybe every one I have since been in touch with have had no use for past seasons flags. Other than, of course, to have them sit in a box never again to see the light of day, like we had always done.
I reached out to my long-time friend, Todd Rohrer, at Macdonald Leathergoods to see if he could make up a prototype for me. In my opinion, Todd has truly become the most-skilled designer and craftsman of leather golf bags in the world. If you see a custom walking bag on a golf course, there is a good chance that Todd built that bag. With each month that went by I was believing more in my idea, and increasingly worried we wouldn’t be first to market with it.
Once I got the prototype back, it was confirmed that we were really on to something. I started reaching out immediately over evening text messages TOP SECRET to superintendents I knew at the best clubs around the US. Making them promise they wouldn’t leak this idea. Then I reached out to architects I knew like Gil Hanse, Bill Coore, Doak’s Renaissance guys, and Mike DeVries to share the Top Secret idea I had. The feedback was tremendous, some four letter words and WOW and Amazing, all combinations of GREAT IDEA!! and everyone started sending flags to Portland so we could build some additional prototypes with Macdonald Golf.
2. What size bags will you make for customers?
Our first model has an opening that is 6.5 inches in diameter. It is a smaller “carry” bag, but it can definitely fit a full set of clubs. The bag is unstructured, composed of flags, the finest leather, and stainless steel fasteners, very lightweight, and has the most comfortable bag strap I’ve ever used.
We are finishing up the prototype on slightly larger bag that will be 8.5 inches in diameter and have some structure to it. We think the customers will love this bag as well.
3. How many flags will such a bag require?
Each bag uses 3 – 6 flags. Logo size and customer preference help determine the actual number. Additionally, Todd Rohrer, and I oversee the design of every FlagBag so we add a bit of artistic perspective to the process. The combination of input from the customer, Todd, our stitchers, and myself makes each bag truly one of a kind and very unique.
4. Will there be extra support for those flags?
We use a nylon liner in our construction of each FlagBag for extra support. Additionally, we are using premium leather and steel. These bags are built to last.
Our goal is for you to be handing this bag down to your grandchildren one day.
5. How do you feel about matching headcovers?
Everyone’s “setup” is truly up to them and a representation of their “golf” brand. We don’t judge anyone’s preferences for what they put on or in their bag. Well, except for iron covers. We don’t advise using iron covers. We love the idea of mixed texture headcovers, or different color FlagBag headcovers, but personally I don’t want my actual bag to match my actual headcovers. Need some variations there.
6. What question haven’t we asked, that you would like to answer? Ask it and answer it, please.
Good one. I’d say a common question is “can I still get a FlagBag if I don’t belong to a country club or have a home course?”
The answer is definitely yes. I don’t belong to a club myself, and my FlagBag is comprised of numbered flags that we fly at Orinda Country Club – where I am the Course Superintendent.
With our “FlagBag Originals” model bag we are using numbered, checkerboard, state, custom, and logo flags to construct bags. No country club membership or golf course affiliation is needed to carry a FlagBag on your shoulder! We welcome all and will add some great vibrancy to the golf course in the coming years we hope. Using flags makes these bags endlessly customizable. We are making a bag for Bill Coore right now and it will clash with the best of them. Checkered Sand Hills flag, Kapalua, Wake Forest, Friars Head, maybe a Warren Course and Sheep Ranch flags. He asked me to have some fun with his. Not too many of us will be blessed to carry a bag made up of top world courses that we have designed ourselves. Also, stay tuned for duffel bag, valuables pouches, shoe bags, and shaving kit options from FlagBag Golf Co.
Thanks so much for the questions. This has been fun! If your readers have anymore questions about our bags they can checkout our webpage at www.flagbaggolfco.com or email us at info @ flagbaggolfco.com
Thanks a ton, BuffaloGolfer! We appreciate your support and can’t wait to get that FlagBag on your shoulder!