This is my early review- and a few questions-on the Mystery Ranch Mahal bag.
I won't be comparing the Mahal to a Grip bag (as I don't own one) but will make comparisons to Revolutions bags, which I have used for many years and found to be fine products. I just got the Mahal and have used it for 3 rounds. Basically it seems like a well made and designed bag so let me start with questions:
* What the heck does the velcro on both sides of the main compartment do? What is the space between the main compartment and the side pockets designed for? There is this funny little gap, partially closed by velcro separating the main and side pockets. I may use it to hold a scorecard unless someone tells me its real purpose.
* Since I don't plan to use the chest straps or the waist straps ever (or hardly ever), should I just cut them off? They dangle all over, catch on things and get in the way so I have wrapped them up. Unless I was hiking a long way out to a starting hole it wouldn't be worth it to go to the effort to unwrap them then rewrap them just to make it fit more snugly for a hike. Heck, on short holes I just sling the bag over one shoulder and don't bother with both shoulder straps.
* I have not tried to adjust the yoke. From the video it looks like it would take a degree in engineering to figure it out. Is it worth the bother? I talked to a buddy who has had his bag for months and he has never tried to adjust it. My bag feels all right. How do I know if I should go through the effort?
* What are the impressions of the players who have both Mahals and Revos?
OK, initial impressions:
The shoulder straps are more difficult to get in and out of than in my Revo bag with Phenix straps. This may not be a big deal to most players, or even noticeable, perhaps. I do not have good flexibility and it took me a long time to get comfortable with dual straps.
While there are a bunch of pockets, I'm not sure the Mahal actually carries more stuff than the Revo. Certain items are large or bulky by their nature: towels, jackets, vests, hats, mittens, etc. The Revo side pockets are big and hold big items well. None of the Mahal pockets are as big and the couple extra small pockets don't seem to be all that useful because, well, generally small pockets aren't all that useful to me.
The Mahal does not balance as well on a stool as the Revo does. I am pretty committed to using a camp stool because I don't want to set my bag on the ground (in the dirt or wet or mud or snow) and it is easier on my back if I don't have to bend down as far. Because the Mahal is wider than the Revo the balance is more precarious especially on uneven ground or side hills. The added width also makes it harder to navigate the tight spots we walk through on the course. With practice I think I will adjust to the added width but it does seem odd that the Mahal is both wider and seems to carry less than the Revo.
The main compartment of the Mahal holds fewer discs than the main compartment of the Revo. Not including risk discs I usually carry 17 or 18 discs (at least 3 putters, 3 mids and the rest drivers). Without overstuffing, the Mahal main compartment comfortably holds 14 discs. It may well break in and the Barsby method might help too. But so far I have needed to use one side pocket for discs, further limiting space for bulky items.
The putter pocket of the Mahal is bigger (and better) than the Revo. My current Revo has been in service for a few years and has tightened up from exposure to rain and snow. I carry one standard sized putter (Magnet) and one somewhat bigger putter (Rattler) in the putter pocket. It bugs me when I have to fight to pull out my putters. The Mahal is nicely bigger yet still feels secure (you don't want your putters falling out as you carry your bag).
The Mahal has a triangle shaped space above the main compartment, on top of the discs (formed by the sides of the bag) which I really like. It is easy to jam a towel or a mitten in this space and have it feel pretty secure from falling out as you walk down the fairway. Since there is this bonus space I wonder if anyone has tried folding a jacket and putting it under the discs (as another way to use the space)?
The Mahal seems to carry more weight (discs, liquid) than the Revo without feeling like it. This may be more based on perception than reality. With my Revo I could feel the weight difference if I pulled out a couple discs or even filled my water bottle half up. Eventually I might become that sensitive to the Mahal.
So, btw, I have had many different bags, including most of the top of the line entries. The last bag I tried then gave away was the Phenix as I found it substantially lacking (hated the pockets).