QwowiGolf Review: OGIO Anomaly Cart Bag
It wouldn’t be a golf season here at QwowiGolf without an OGIO bag review. As I’ve said numerous times in the past, I’m a cart bag guy. Yeah, stand bags are convenient, and lightweight, and fit in my buddy Jon’s trunk (we had what I’ll call an “Atlas Incident” some months back), but cart bags offer more storage, easier access, and command more attention on the golf course (even if it from a frustrated bag attendant who wonders why my bag weighs 50 pounds). So yeah…short story told in appropriately short fashion; I love big, spacious cart bags, which is why, when given a choice of just about every bag in their lineup, I asked OGIO to send me an Anomaly.
In some respects 2009 has been a quiet year for OGIO as far as stand bags are concerned. At the time I received my Anomaly for review, they had (in addition to the Anomaly) released the multi-functional Devolver, and an update Atlas. Having only moments ago looked in on the OGIO site, I can tell you that my friends in Utah are going completely buck-wild this fall. New to the cart bag roster are the PPK, Spry, Sultan, new Syncro, new Kingpin, and the sub-$100 Section. I think my head is about to explode. Seriously…bear with me here while I try and regain enough focus to tell you about the Anomaly.
Features (Shamelessly lifted from OGIO.com as usual)
- 10″ Uniter ™ 15 club top version 1 ™ 33 with integrated top grab handles
- Individual full length club dividers
- Lightweight exo skeletal frame
- Magnetic OGIO ball marker
- Integrated tee holders
- ZBP – Zipperless Ball Pouch ™
- Lift Grip ™ integrated trunk handle
- Internal Isolation Chamber wet/dry pocket
- Dual flip up pockets for easy on cart access
- Glove/putter cover velcro attachment loop
- Fleece lined valuables pocket with cell phone sleeve
- Easy access divot tool and pen sleeves
- Custom OGIO ergonomic 3-point handle
- Dual insulated hydration pockets Elastic oversized towel loop
- Full length umbrella containment
- Easy access top scorecard and pencil sleeve pockets
- Gripping rubber feet on base to prevent on-cart twisting
- Multiple accessory pockets (all front-facing for accessibility while on cart)
Clearly the designers at OGIO went to great lengths to include as many features as they possibly could into a single bag. As I pointed out when the Anomaly was first announced, in many ways, this bag represents the culmination of everything OGIO has done thus far with its golf bags. One can’t help notice the Uniter, which until the latest round of bags was announced, was the OGIO standard for larger cart bags. The flip-up pockets are borrowed from the original Kingpin, the Exoskeleton design was taken from the Exo stand bag (the first OGIO I ever owned). Many other standard OGIO features (wet/dry isolation chamber, lift grip, tee holders, fleece-lined pockets, etc.) have been integrated into the Anomaly as well. Throw in the massive storage of the Atlas, and at first glance, the Anomaly appears to be the most complete cart bag OGIO has ever made.
Of course, almost nothing in this world is perfect, and I’m afraid the Anomaly is no different. For all of its features, there are a couple of glaring omissions that will most likely disappoint OGIO fans. The most obvious of these is without a doubt the patented (and I think popular) ball silo. For whatever reason OGIO chose to leave the handy little external 3-ball storage device off the Anomaly. I was also concerned about what appeared to be undersized hydration pockets (only 1 of them is actually insulated). While both of those omissions are somewhat disappointing, in this not-so-humble reviewers opinion, the most glaring omission from the Anomaly is some sort of…heck…any sort of external clip, hook, loop, etc, for attaching things like brushes, cleansers, tags, GPS/Rangefinders, or anything else you might like to dangle conveniently from your bag. I carry a fair amount of external…for lack of a better word, I’ll call it crap. I carry a lot of crap on my bag (one could almost mistake it for a clumsy charm bracelet), and the OGIO Anomaly leaves me with no means whatsoever to secure it to my bag. I’m totally bummed about this.
You’d also be hard-pressed to miss the exoskeletal plastic that surrounds the Anomaly. To say it looks odd is a bit of an understatement, but it’s a small price to pay for the reduction in weight, and increase in storage capacity that results from it. The integrated tee holder, and matching silver tees have a bolt-like appearance which gives the bag a sort of Shrek meets Frankenstein’s monster appearance. It’s certainly not my intention to suggest the Anomaly is ugly…it’s not, but it looks like no other golf bag I’ve ever owned. Let’s just say it’s appropriately named.
I’m not overstating it when I say that the Anomaly offers more storage space than any bag I’ve carried to date. As I mentioned above, I carry a lot of crap. And even allowing for the fact that OGIO neglected to give me anything to clip my crap to (which means I have to stuff it all into the bag), I haven’t come close to pushing the Anomaly to capacity.
Large Side Pockets
The largest of pockets is found on the right side of the bag. This primary storage area also features the internal isolation (wet/dry) pocket which can be used to keep wet and smelly things (like dirty socks, and rain soaked shirts) from things you’d just as soon not have stinking like a Fenway Park bathroom after the 8th inning.
As with other bags I’ve reviewed, the large pocket on the left side has been more or less designated by OGIO as the Hoode (clamshell rain hood) storage pocket. In past iterations this was somewhat problematic insomuch as the Hoode top would fill almost the entire space. In the Anomaly, however, the pocket has been cleverly designed such that the Hoode sits relatively flush against the structure that holds the club. It’s essentially recessed, which means there’s room in the pocket for additional stuff.
In addition to the Hoode, I’m able to hold my rain gear, which includes an elaborate (and somewhat unwieldy) Mibrella Load-N-Go holder, gloves, and jacket (have I mentioned all the crap I carry?) without adding any external bulk or interfering with the bag next to mine on the cart.
As first glance I was convinced that the hydration pockets were undersized, and dare I say, inadequate. I was all set to write of the Anomaly (at least from a beverage capacity standpoint) until I actually got around to putting things like water bottles and beer cans into those hydration pockets. Though they look small, the pockets are able to expand into the bag (a nice benefit of the exoskeleton design), which basically means that both pockets are bigger than they look. I’m able to fit either a 32oz. water bottle, or two beer cans (depends on the kind of day I’m having) into either (or both pockets).
While both pockets are labeled hydration, only one of them is actually insulated, which means whatever you stuff into it, isn’t going to stay cold (or hot) for very long. OGIO’s description of the bag would seem to suggest that both pockets are insulated, but that simply isn’t the reality – and it’s disappointing.
Flip Up Pockets
Perhaps no feature of the Anomaly garners more attention that the two flip-up, magnetic, side pockets which are designed to sit over the top of the cart strap. This design allows full access to the contents of the pockets, even when the bag is secured to the cart. Of course, the design is only really cool if it actually works – and that’s the rub. Whether or not the pockets behave 100% as advertised is a simple matter of positioning. Depending on which side of the cart your Anomaly is attached to, one or the other of the flip-up pockets will work perfectly, the other…um…well…it kind of works…sorta.
I’ve had my Anomaly on a few different models of golf cart, and in every case, the results are the same. The outside pocket’s ability to flip back down into place (after the strap has been run underneath it) is inhibited by the cart’s bag strap. What happens is the pocket doesn’t sit completely flush with the bag (it flops loosely over the strap). It’s still completely accessible (which means it’s a great place to store phones, keys, wallets, and snacks), it just doesn’t look as cool as the inside pocket which, without the restriction of the mechanism to secure the cart strap, sits flush on the bag as if the strap wasn’t even there.
Small Accessory Pockets
The Anomaly also features 1 small, and 1 smaller still, accessory pockets located above the Zipperless Ball Pouch. The Atlas has a similar pocket, which despite its diminutive size, was probably the most useful pocket on the bag. The same is true of the pockets on the Anomaly. The larger of the two is big enough to hold a small first aid kit, Callaway uPro GPS, Callaway I-MIX Wrench (I swear I’m not a Callaway guy…hmm…maybe I am. Anyway…) and a couple, two, three gloves. The smaller of the two is ideal for smaller items that might otherwise be difficult to locate in a bigger bag. I generally keep a chapstick (Aveno lip balm actually), a small sharpie to mark my balls, a couple coins (ballmarkers), and divot tool or two. They’re both easily accessible, and truth be told, I’d give up any other pocket on the bag before I’d give up either of these smaller pockets. Every golf bag should have similar.
There really isn’t much I can say about the 15-way Uniter top that I didn’t cover when I reviewed that Atlas a couple years back. It’s functional, and allows for easy access to all of your clubs. I like having the 15th slot as it allows me to bring a little something extra in the bag. Some days it’s my TourStriker training club, some days it’s an extra wedge (Jim Furyk style), and some days it’s an extra I-MIX shaft (I’m still trying to figure out if the UST Proforce V2, or Mitsubish Rayon Fubuki is a better fit). On no day has it ever been a ball retriever, but if that’s how you roll (or fish), well, that’s fine too.
Other useful features include a velcro patch for sticking your glove to when it’s time to putt, external divot tool and pen sleeves (I prefer the smaller pocket for such things), and the umbrella pocket. The Hoode Clamshell rain hood is still not perfect, but I’ve never seen it done any better.
There’s plenty I love about the OGIO Anomaly. It has every bit the storage space of my beloved Atlas, despite being more than a pound lighter, and having a noticeably smaller footprint. The exoskeleton design allows for more bag in less space, and that’s really cool…even if it looks a bit strange. It offers an assortment of OGIO’s best features; including the zipperless ball pouch, flip up pockets, and an insulated hydration chamber. The two small accessories pockets are indispensable.
The Anomaly isn’t without its shortcomings. Only one of its “hydration” pockets is insulated (the non-insulated one works great for snacks), and it lacks a ball silo.
From my perspective, the lack of any sort of anchored attachment ring has been an ongoing oversight on OGIO’s part, and one I would think is easily correctable. Alas, not on the Anomaly. Although it was several rounds before I noticed, them; a few of the zipper pulls do have a hollow design which allows smaller items to be clipped to them. They’re borderline genius for most of the clip-attaching things that golfers carry, but for larger, heavier gear, however; a stable D-ring would be my preference.
Esthetically, the Anomaly is…different. My guess is it won’t appeal to everyone (even if I think it’s really cool). It’s not exactly the Steve Buscemi of golf bags, but hopefully you get the point.
Finally, with a street price of just under $300, one (me anyway) wonders if perhaps the Anomaly isn’t priced a bit high when compared to other bags in its class.
As a bit of an aside…do you remember that episode of the Simpsons where a car company lets Homer design the perfect automobile? Homer has free rein, fully creative control; and it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster. I have this recurring fantasy where I get to design the ultimate golf bag, but it would probably turn out the same way as it did for Homer. Still, I can’t help but think I’m on to something with this whole accessory clip thing.
After weighing the pros and cons of all 3 (mostly in an email), I came to the realization that forced to make a choice between the 3, I’d take the Anomaly. It’s difficult for me to explain why (especially after being so totally frustrated by the lack of an accessory hook, ring, clip, etc.), but I love this bag. In fact, it’s my favorite among all the golf bags I’ve ever owned. If anything it leaves me feeling optimistic about the next generation of OGIO bags, because as functional as the Anomaly is, there is plenty of room for improvement, which makes me think OGIO might just be getting closer to making the perfect golf bag.