Golf Bag Reviews Golf Bags

Sun Mountain Golf 2018 3.5 LS Stand Bag Review

Last year’s 2017 model was a big deal to golf fans that wanted a lightweight golf bag. The new 2018 3.5 improves on a lot of the features while maintaining the same light weight that made the original so popular.

Sun Mountain Golf 2018 3.5 LS Stand Bag

This Sun Mountain bag hits the middle of the pack as far as pricing goes. Everything about the product is what you would expect from a standard stand bag. It has an average amount of pockets, plenty of space in the beverage pouch and a good design. The only real standout with this model is the foot pads on the stand legs. Although it isn’t a true standout like the rest of the Sun Mountain line, the 3.5 stand bag is a great buy for beginners or hobbyists. This is a nice value if you don’t want anything too extravagant.

Who’s It For?

A good way to describe the user base for this model is ‘fans of golf’. That includes hobbyists, intermediates and of course beginners. This Sun Mountain bag works just fine for any size course and is durable enough to be a main bag or backup emergency bag.

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Pros

  • Carbon fiber legs that don’t sink into soft grass
  • Four way top divider
  • Foam straps are comfortable but strong
  • X-strap system streamlines all strap adjustments
  • Only weighs 3.5 pounds
  • Apparel pocket is full length so can carry thick clothing

Cons

  • Lots of colors, but the only standout is camo

Brand

Sun Mountain continues to market some of the best golf bags in the industry. They are one of the bigger brands in golf, and are not afraid to try new things with their established models. Even with their willingness to try new things, they don’t forget about the consumers that just want a regular golf bag. That is part of the charm of the Three 5 stand bag, and one of the many reasons it is highly regarded by critics. Sun Mountain will always be capable of satisfying the needs of beginners, intermediates and even professional golf players.

Durability

Sun Mountain bags have never had a problem with durability, so this new 2018 model is no different. Last year’s model gained the 2017 Golf Digest Editor’s Choice Award. The current 2018 version improves on the toughness of the original bag without adding any extra weight. Its strength to weight ratio is one of the best in Sun Mountain’s lineup, and considered to be in a league of its own when measured against the rest of the industry. The durability extends to the rest of the bag, including the straps, pockets, zippers and even dividers. It is a solid bag that really doesn’t have a lot of weak spots.

Price

“Just about right” describes the pricing for this stand bag. Customers with the old 2017 version won’t feel like they are getting ripped off because of the great pricing of the new model. That makes upgrading a worthwhile option rather than a complicated ordeal. The price is also a great choice for owners of the 2.5 version. If you want to stay within the same series and gain some pretty cool features, then the price to upgrade to the 3.5 is at a sweet spot. The only buyers that will be a little wary about the price are professionals looking for golf bags with more features.

Materials

The 3.5 uses familiar materials for the bulk of the bag. Heavy focus is still on keeping the bag light, so they defaulted to the usual nylon fabric of previous versions. Most of the extra weight comes from the cushioned straps, adding just under a pound total to the overall weight. This extra cushion keeps the bag comfortable even when you load it up with multiple clubs and accessories. With the high density foam used within the carrying straps, users get performance similar to that of a memory foam product. The only thing that didn’t get the premium treatment is the rainhood. It is no different than the one included in the 2017 version.

Design

Design comes down to personal preference, and for many is the only con about the bag. It uses traditional colors with over nine different variations. The problem is that they are all plain colors on a pretty average design. Camo is the only big standout, and it is a massive break from the rest of the offered colors. With camo, it is such a distinctive design that only consumers looking specifically for a camo bag will be interested in it. The average design doesn’t qualify as ugly, so it is a minor misstep in an otherwise fantastic bag.

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Best Features

Many of the features of the 3.5 are just big improvements over the original model. Sun Mountain fine-tuned this series so that it had as little bad spots as possible. This is the best iteration of the series, and ranks high among owners of the older models.

  • Although the design is one of the weak points, variety with color is always an appreciated feature by consumers. Available colors are navy/red/white, black, white/midnight/camo, gunmetal/red, black/flash, orange/gunmetal/black, black/white/red, navy and black/cobalt
  • Thick carbon fiber legs that can hold up a lot of weight
  • Velour lined valuables pocket is part of the seven pocket system
  • Hydration pouch and apparel pocket are huge
  • Carry straps are thick, lined with foam and wider than normal golf bag carrying straps
  • Price is perfect for users that want to upgrade from the old 2017 model or any 2.5 model
  • Only weighs 3.5 pounds total

Some Key Features

The hip pad has more cushion on it than previous models. Combined with the X-strap system, it allows for a more comfortable carrying experience. Stand bags that neglect a well-placed hip pad can be grating on your sides while walking. With the light weight of the Sun Mountain 3.5, even an overstuffed bag will be easy to carry with the hip pad/strap combination in use. The materials used in the hip pad are similar to the foam used for the shoulder straps. With the hip pad, they made the foam firm so that it doesn’t lean into you while walking. Under heavy use, the firmness of the foam will hold up just fine.

Best Comparison

An easy comparison would be the 2017 version of the 3.5. For something a little different, fans should use the 2018 2.5+ as a direct comparison. It is the smaller version of the 3.5 model and has already been voted the 2018 Gold Digest Editor’s Choice in the lightweight/ultra-lightweight category. This updated model turned the older 2.5 2017 bag into a “3.5 light” version that is sold at a pretty reasonable price. The 2018 2.5+ is a good alternative for golfers that want the same 3.5 features but in a small capacity.

Size

This bag is below average in size, but not actually small. Small would be the 2.5 version which still stands as one of the smallest you can get without sacrificing a lot of features. The Sun Mountain 3.5 is just the right size to pack the equipment needed for a couple of rounds of golfing. At the top is a 9 inch four way divider, which is pretty spacious for large club heads. For the size, this will handle most golfer’s needs without having to resort to a larger bag.

Biggest Pro

Comfort levels are at an all-time high when using this bag. This has a lot to do with the X-strap system and the thick foam used on the shoulder straps. In the event that something goes wrong with the straps, they are easy to replace. Multiple how to videos are available from the company and satisfied users. You can even enhance the comfort level by adding straps from different models. It is a low key way to customize the bag in a way that is the most comfortable. With no experience at all, the X-strap system is usable by any golfer that wants the most comfort out of their bag.

Biggest Con

Design is still going to be the biggest detractor when purchasing the 2018 3.5 model. Sun Mountain could have made a lot of improvements in this area, or at the very least made a color scheme that made the design pop out more. Once again, this isn’t an atrocious design that you’ll hate. But the 2018 design would have been average looking ten years ago. So with today’s modern designs, it really does look bland compared to the competition. Users that take pride in having a unique looking bag will have to decide if the awesome features outweigh the design cons.

Summary

Smaller is better in this case, which is why the Sun Mountain 2018 3.5 nails it. It’s a capable stand bag that doesn’t take too much away and still provides one of the lightest experiences possible. With its reasonable price and deep features, this continues to be one of Sun Mountain’s most profitable series of stand bags.