Recently, as I’ve been walking around my local courses I’ve been keeping an eye on something specific, people’s golf bags. My biggest takeaway from these observations is that everyone’s preference varies when it comes to their golf bag.
There is no one right answer as to what is the Best Golf Bag. So then, what’s so darn tricky about picking out a golf bag? And, why do golf sales representatives have countless customers who will take 5 swings with a driver and say that’s the one for me, but take 3 months dissecting every aspect of every bag?
Other golf bag reviews and informational guides may push one bag or brand, but those articles are often based on their own personal scale or matrix of what they look for in a bag.
After compiling some numbers and through a few conversations I’ve had with industry experts, it became clear that the goal of this guide should be to help you better determine what golf bag is right for you.
Golf bags are unique. They are one-part function and one-part identity. We do not hit golf balls with our bags (though we may hit our bag with a club from time to time), they do not help us line up a crucial putt, they simply carry our clubs. They also outwardly project a little something about us as a golfer, too.
Are Tour Staff Bags The Right Choice For Me?
The important thing to understand is that there are different styles of golf bags to suit the various needs of players. One style of bag I am only going to briefly mention is the Staff bag. A staff bag is for players who are lucky enough to have someone else carry their clubs for them (or for someone with an incredibly strong back). Traditionalist may love the look of the Staff bag, perhaps it gives them a little ego boost when rolling up to the bag drop, but the costs highly outweigh the benefits. They are heavy, bulky, and don’t offer that much extra storage compared to a cart bag or stand bag. They’re ideal for tour professionals who need the extra real estate for the brands and manufacturers that sponsor them. Yes they do offer some added club protection, but beyond that Staff bags should mainly be considered by players who regularly compete in high-level tournaments.
Outside of staff bags, there are three types of golf bags at will fit the needs of the average golfer: Stand bags, Cart bags and Carry bags. Stand and cart bags are full size bags, meaning they typically have a rigid structure, hooks for towels and accessories, and multiple pockets for storing your gear on the course. Carry bags are very compact and are designed to minimize weight as much as possible, they often lack any real structure and only have a few pockets for storage.
The minimalist will prefer to use an ultralight-weight Carry or Sunday bag. The average walker will most likely employ some form of Stand bag. Golfers who use a push cart or ride in powered golf cart on the course will traditionally opt for a Cart bag.
Let’s dive into each type of bag further.
A Great Choice For Push Cart Users And Riders
Designed specifically to sit on the back of a powered golf cart or on a push cart, cart bags are full size bags that offer plenty of storage space for all your needs on the course. Weighing around 5 to 9 pounds cart bags have a larger footprint than either stand and carry bags.
Golf Cart bags typically have a single strap and do not have a built-in stand mechanism since they are not designed for carrying on the course. The strap will have either a tie down or sleeve to keep the strap secure and out of the way on a cart. The pockets on a cart bag are forward facing and engineered in a way where the zippers are all accessible when the bag is strapped into a cart. They often have full length club dividers for easy access and to help keep your clubs organized.
Versatile Design For Walking And Riding
As the name suggests, golf stand bags have a built-in stand mechanism and are designed for players who like to carry their clubs while walking the course. Stand bags are the most versatile of all golf bags and typically weigh anywhere from 3 to 7 pounds, depending on the features.
A balanced bag on your back is key for comfort and reducing fatigue. Manufacturers design stand bags with ergonomic and contoured backpack-like double shoulder straps and a padded section where the bag sits on your back. Utilizing a dual shoulder strap system distributes a bag’s weight across both sides of your body much better compared to a traditional single strap.
Manufacturers understand that it isn’t always feasible to carry your clubs, so most stand bags have clips or a strap that lock in the legs when using a push cart or riding a powered golf cart, an often underappreciated and overlooked feature of these bags. A nice accessibility design element some stand bags are starting to feature is a pass through for a cart strap that sits behind the valuables pocket.
Lightweight stand bags reduce the overall weight a player is carrying; however, the tradeoff is that they tend to have a little less storage space and are made from lighter (sometimes less durable) fabrics and materials.
The most robust stand bags look almost like compact versions of tour staff bags. These bags have multiple large pockets with enough storage space for extra layers of clothes, balls, accessories, snacks and drinks.
Lightweight And Compact
Carry bags are the most compact of all the bags, usually are structure-less, and easy to carry. They can be folded up for easy storage, and on the course their main function is to carry the bare essentials. There is still a hookup for a golf towel, a single large pocket and often a ball pocket, but that’s about it. Their lightweight designs makes these great bags for sneaking in a fast round in the morning before work or if you want to bring your sticks on the road, but are tight on storage.
A Helpful Flow Chart To Help You Decide Which Bag Is Right For You
If you’re still unsure about which bag is best for you, take a look at the infographic below and see where the results take you!