The Story of the Back9 Golf Backpack
The Back9 has been a year in the making. It all started when I tried to ride my bike to the Diversey driving range on a late summer Chicago afternoon. I had been (still am) trying to work out a nasty hook that had been popping up in the tee box. I love biking in the city, and had purchased a cheap velcro golf club “carrier” so I could attempt to bike there instead of driving (you’re welcome, environment). I threw on my gym shoes and set off for the 20 minute bike ride. I had the carrier slung over my shoulder, but as soon as I turned onto Halsted the clubs immediately slid back into the case, nearly tangling in my tires as I bobbed and weaved through traffic. I eventually made it to the range, cursing Amazon as I steered with one hand and gripped my clubs with the other.
Sometimes you don’t see something until you see it, then you can’t stop seeing it. That’s what happened at the driving range that day. I stood in front and watched as biker after biker pulled up with golf clubs stuffed into backpacks, drawstring bags, or clamped desperately to front handle bars. These were bolder folk than I, although they didn’t look too satisfied with their makeshift arrangements.
The last straw was when I went golfing at Joe “The Champ” Louis golf course on the south side with my cousin. This was early in the pandemic: our masks were fresh, our hand sanitizer was at the ready, but we needed to get out and play. Some may recall the city order against renting golf carts and pull carts at courses in Chicago, so we had to walk 18 with our bags on our backs. I enjoy a good walk, but after an hour of the bag pulling on my shoulder and clubs clattering at my side, I knew there had to be a better way. I wanted something that was easier to walk with, could hold my clubs securely, and I could take on my bike. Heck, let’s have some more room for our shoes and gear while we’re at it.
That night a vision started to form. A vision of a golf bag that didn’t clatter, that could be worn like a backpack, that you could use to golf anywhere. This baby could transform the game. I could bike to the park to get some chipping in, to the driving range, even up to Sidney Marovitz or Robert A. Black for a quick 9. I just had to figure out how.
Into the garage I went. I’ll spare you my earliest idea, which could best be summed up as a sawhorse with clamps. But that was quickly scrapped and followed up with a better idea, more like a folding chair with clamps. The drawings kept evolving, and I wore out the path between my garage and Home Depot buying pieces and parts to bring my ideas to life.
I was getting positive feedback from people I showed my prototype to, but didn’t know what to do next. So what if I could build the perfect golf backpack in my garage, how could I make it for golfers everywhere? What was the plan?
Kickstarter is an awesome platform. You can find everything from electric bikes to homebrew board games to beach chairs with built-in coolers all in one place. This was it, this was the way forward, if I could figure out how to launch the golf backpack on Kickstarter I would be set. So I started researching and calling product developers and designers. Eventually I found a group of folks who could bring the vision to reality, Klugonyx. I started working with their awesome team. We proceeded to tear my original vision down, build a new one, tear that down, then build it up again. After much trial and error we have arrived at the final design. A lightweight, durable, thin golf backpack that can withstand Chicago traffic, and still looks sleek AF too.
So that’s where the Back9 is coming from. It's a simple idea, 9 clubs on your back. A purpose driven product for the unconventional golfer. Stay tuned and I hope you get to golf today!