The golf bag is arguably the most important tool in a golfer’s arsenal, but picking the right one can be tricky. Larger bags offer more space for clubs and accessories, but they are heavier and can be cumbersome to carry. On the other hand, smaller bags offer more freedom of movement but don’t allow you to carry your favorite extras like a water bottle or umbrella.
Golf bags are designed to carry all the clubs and accessories you need for a round of golf. They have different compartments, handles, straps, and stands. Selecting the right golf bag is important to help you play your best. Here are some tips to help you find the right one.
Types of Golf Bags
Before we move to the tips, you must first get familiar with the types of golf bag options you have:
1. Carry Bags/Sunday Bags
These bags have a single shoulder strap or handles on the top, but they do not have a stand. They are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry. They typically can hold up to 8-10 clubs and a few small accessories such as tees and balls. These bags are best for golfers who walk the course with their clubs or use a pushcart.
2. Stand Bags
These bags typically have two shoulder straps and are made for walking the course with your clubs. They also have kickstands that pop out from the bottom of the bag and keep it upright when you set it down on a flat surface. Stand bags tend to be larger than carry bags and can hold more clubs (10-15) because they don’t include a stand, so they weigh less than cart bags.
Some stand bags can fit into a push cart without needing an adaptor sleeve, which adds another layer of convenience if you use both types of equipment.
3. Tour Staff Golf Bags
Tour staff golf bags are the largest and heaviest golf bags available. These bags are designed to hold all your golf equipment, including multiple drivers, woods, and hybrids, as well as a full set of irons. The top of the bag is a 14-way divider system to ensure that you can separate your clubs easily and quickly. With this type of bag, you will be able to carry every club in your bag with ease.
The downside to these bags is their size and weight. If you are using a cart, it may make sense to carry an extra driver or hybrid or two in case the course conditions change or if you want to try a new club during your round. However, carrying every single club in your bag may not be necessary for most players.
4. Cart Golf Bags
Cart golf bags are specifically designed to be placed on a golf cart or “trolley.” This type of bag is popular with amateur players. They’re bigger than other types of bags, which means they can carry more equipment (and more food and drink!). Due to their size, they also have a larger number of extra pockets for storage.
Following are some tips to choose the best golf bags:
1. Check Out the Material
Golf bags are made of nylon or polyester fabric. Fabrics come in different weights based on how many layers of material were used in production. The higher the denier number, the more durable the fabric is, but also the heavier it will be. Cordura fabric is solution-dyed nylon developed by Dupont and used by many manufacturers in their premium golf bags. Cordura fabric is typically highly abrasion-resistant, water-repellent, and mildew-resistant.
Here are some common materials that golf bags are typically made of:
This type of material is often found in budget-priced golf bags, such as “stand” or “carry” bags. While it won’t last as long as some other materials, such as leather, it is highly durable, waterproof, and does not tear easily.
Nylon is often found in less expensive golf bags. The material is strong and lightweight but can be torn more easily than polyester. It is also not as waterproof as polyester. However, nylon bags can be purchased with a polyurethane coating that improves water resistance.
Leather golf bags are usually quite expensive and only purchased by serious golfers who carry a full set of clubs. These types of bags will last for years but are quite heavy when fully loaded with clubs. They can also be damaged when exposed to water, so they must be treated carefully in wet conditions.
2. Consider the Size
You have to consider the size of a golf bag before purchasing it. There is no point buying a small golf bag when you have 14 clubs and plenty of accessories. If you are planning on carrying 14 clubs, then you will want to buy a bag that can carry at least 14 clubs. Some people may even carry more than 14 clubs, so this needs to be considered if you are looking for a spacy golf bag.
Choosing a lightweight golf bag can make a big difference at the end of an 18-hole round. It’s also easier to carry when you’re walking instead of riding in a cart. Look for bags made from lightweight materials and have padded shoulder straps that make them easy to carry.
4. Strap Design
The handle on top of a golf bag is usually padded and easy to carry, but most golfers use the shoulder strap. Go for the one that’s comfortable and easy to adjust. Also, look for extra padding — both in the strap itself and where it rests on your shoulder.
5. Shoulder Strap vs. Backpack Design
The shoulder strap bag is what most people picture when they think of a golf bag. It might not have the same bells and whistles as a backpack-style bag, but it can be preferable for people who only play occasionally. If you’re looking for something that makes your clubs easy to carry, or if you’re particularly prone to back pain, a shoulder strap-style bag might be right for you.
6. Quick-Access Pockets
Most golf bags have pockets for storing balls, tees, and other accessories. Look for a bag that has plenty of these pockets, and it has organized them by purpose (ball pocket, tee pocket, divot tool pocket, etc.). Accessibility is also important—look for bags that offer easy access to these pockets when standing on the course.
A few golf bags even have cooler pockets where you can store beverages to stay cool while out on the course. If you like having snacks with you on the links, look for a golf bag that includes a snack pocket as well.
7. Number of Dividers
If a bag is going to hold 14 clubs, you want to make sure each one has its own space. Many bags have designated spaces for drivers, woods, and irons. Some have separate slots for each club, so clubs don’t bang against each other during the round.
Which Golf Bag Is Right For You?
Now that you know the types of golf bags available on the market and tips to choose the best golf bag, it is time to decide which one is right for your game.
The golf course you choose to play has the biggest effect on what type of golf bag you will need, such as a full set of clubs for a regulation length, an 18-hole course, or only the essentials for a 9-hole executive course. Sunday golf bags are perfect for non-regulation golf courses and short game practice, including par-3 courses and executive-length golf courses.
A stand bag is preferable for beginners not sure how much walking they’ll be doing on the golf course. It can still fit in a golf cart, so you can ride or walk depending on how you feel and how walkable the golf course is. Some golf courses forbid walking, so if you play at one of these clubs, a golf bag on wheels or with a cart-like handle is the best choice.