Rundown of the Back9 Prototype v4
It’s here! After months of careful design and orchestration, our first manufactured prototype has arrived in Chicago, and we couldn’t be more pumped. The goal of the prototype is to validate our design choices with a physical example, something we could actually throw our clubs in, test in the field, check the dimensions and overall ensure we are on the right track. We are very happy with the size and shape, it cuts a nice profile and the frame is lightweight with plenty of room to work with.
For this rough version, the canvas covering, pockets and backpack straps were stitched on by hand, so it fits a bit loose in some places. The finished material will be a hair thicker and will be more taut when it is riveted in place during the production process. Also we are thinking about swapping the two lower pockets with one larger, extendable pocket. My golf shoes did fit nicely in this one though!
Putting on the backpack is where this piece really shined. The foam wedge underneath the shoulder straps does a nice job of keeping the clubs away from your head and makes it super comfortable on your back. Wearing it while riding a bike proved to be no problem!
We did have an issue with the top-locking mechanism. The idea is to have a piece run the length of the opening, which you can slide closed to press the shafts against the frame of the bag. This is an especially useful feature when travelling to and from the course or when storing the bag so your clubs aren’t clanking around. The current design closes at a fixed width, but we need to make it adjustable so you can lock the clubs in more tightly whether it's closing on the shaft or on a thicker grip. Also the 3D printed levers broke, so in the next run we are going to make it more durable.
We noticed having the two legs pop out independently left the bag a little wobbly, so we are working on a new design that could activate both legs at once. Also, we’re adding a pocket on the backpack so you can tuck the shoulder straps and waist band in when you are out on the course.
There are about 1000 more things we learned and tweaks we will make, but this prototype is good enough to keep us hungry! At this point we are working on documenting all ideas and incorporating them into a new model In a few weeks we should have that in our hands and be that much closer to launching the Back9 on the world.
Stay tuned and I hope you get to golf today!