When you think of golf, most people probably think of golf clubs, resorts courses, expensive equipment, and Tiger Woods; but how many of us think about the humble golf bag?
In actual fact, when you think about it, the golf bag is arguably the most important piece of golfing equipment you’ll ever buy.
Inside your golf bag, you’ll be keeping expensive clubs, golf balls, and tees, not to mention personal items like your wallet and keys. Your golf bag is designed to protect your equipment from the elements; not only does it keep them safe but also clean.
When choosing a golf bag, there are several factors to contemplate, like do you have a complete set of clubs? Do you generally walk or take a motorized cart? What type of bag do you currently have? How serious a golfer are you? and of course, how big or small is your pocketbook?
It’s fair to say your clubs, shoes, and golfing fashion says a lot about you, but in reality, it’s your golf bag that catches the eye of most other golfers. To sum it up, the aim is to find a bag that’s ideal for your golfing needs; a practical and functional bag, and a bag that looks good while doing it.
This complete guide to buying a golf bag will provide you with detailed information on the different types of bags, materials, sizes, and brands. I’ve done the research, so you don’t have to; this buying guide takes the guesswork out of it.
Let’s get into it!
What is a Golf Bag?
What a silly question you’re thinking to yourself; a golf bag holds my clubs; but think about it, is that the only purpose your golf bag serves?
A golf bag is actually designed to carry much more than just your clubs. Have you seen the size of the bags used on the PGA Tour? They’re enormous; some look like small apartments. But that’s because, inside your golf bag, you can carry a whole array of equipment that’s essential to your round.
A golf bag can store everything from:
- Tees and balls
- Spare clothing like a wind jacket
- Food and drink
- A pair of sneakers
- Towels and even an umbrella
On top, your golf bag, you’ll find several divided sections that are generally covered with a soft felt; these dividers let you arrange your clubs in an order that suits you and helps keep them from getting damaged.
Depending on the bag you choose, you’ll find several pockets, large and small, around the sides of the bag. Some of the pockets will be designated to hold your golf balls and tees, while the larger pockets can carry clothing or equipment like windbreakers or another pair of shoes.
How Big are Golf Bags?
Golf bags can differ significantly in size and weight depending on the type and brand you choose.
To give you an idea, golf bags used by professional golfers can weigh close to 15 pounds, and that’s without the clubs and extras. Trust me, I’ve caddied on the Pro Tour, and hauling a 30lb bag over your shoulder for four hours is no picnic.
Pro Tour golf bags, however, are designed oversized for a reason; pros carry a lot of equipment in their bags, including extra clothing, supplements, and food to stay fuelled on course.
At the other end of the golf bag spectrum, you’ll find “stand bags ” and “Sunday bags.” Sunday bags are the smallest type of bag and generally weigh between 3-5 lbs. As the name suggests, they’re perfect for the Sunday golfer, who only gets out once a week or so and doesn’t carry a lot of extra equipment.
Stand bags, while slightly bigger, are also an excellent lightweight option that comes with back straps and a practical stand making it easy to place your bag anywhere.
Tips before Choosing your Golf Bag
Type of Bag
First and foremost, you need to decide what type of golf bag you’re looking for. Golf bags come in many different shapes and sizes but generally speaking, four types are the most popular.
- The Pro Tour Bag
- The Carry Bag
- The Stand Bag and the
- The Cart Bag
As we’ve seen, the “pro tour bag” is the giant of the bunch, and they can set you back a pretty penny. The “carry bag” is designed for you to do just that; yes, believe it or not, some golfers like to carry their bags.
The “stand bag” is probably one of the most popular bags because although they’re compact, they’re still big enough to carry extra equipment, and the retractable stand makes them very convenient. Last but not least is the “cart bag,” designed for players who typically play using a motorized cart.
Divide and Conquer
When you’re looking for a golf bag to purchase, you’ll notice the inside of the bag is divided into different sections. The dividers allow you to set your clubs inside and keep them from getting scratched. But be careful; the dividers are molded into the bag, so make sure your bag has enough.
As mentioned, it’s not much fun lugging around a heavy golf bag for the entire round. But it’s not just the round itself you have to worry about. Remember; you’ll be putting your bag in and out of your car, carrying it up and down the clubhouse stairs, and on and off the cart.
Extra equipment like clothing and shoes will also weigh your bag down, not to mention an entire set of clubs and a dozen or so golf balls.
The amount of pockets and compartments is another critical factor to consider before purchasing a golf bag.
With the additional equipment you’ll be carrying, such as tees, balls, gloves, food, and drink, to name a few, you’ll want to make sure you have ample space to pack these things away.
Other considerations and comforts are secret pockets, preferably lined, to hide your valuables and an insulated space to keep drinks nice and cool during the summer months.
Types of Golf Bags
With so many different types of golf bags and brands on the market, choosing the right one can be challenging. So let’s take a deeper look at the details of each bag and the pros and cons that come with them.
The stand bag is a type of golf bag that provides the user with retractable legs that fold out a 45° angle making the bag ideal to take anywhere you go.
Easy to use and relatively lightweight, stand bags come equipped with cushioned back straps allowing you to carry your bag comfortably and safely while walking the course. Stand bags generally weigh anywhere between 5-8 lbs which is also part of their appeal.
The importance of being lightweight and comfortable is a real selling point. The cushioned straps coupled with the light weight of the bag help mitigate fatigue and reduce the chance of back injury.
- Multi handle 8 way golf club top
- 6 total pockets including a water bottle sleeve
- Removeable XL ball pocket
- Veloured lined dry pocket
- 4. 5 Lbs.
Stand bags are perfect for those who like to take minimal equipment with them on the course. If you’re a golfer who enjoys a good stroll around the course, you’ll find the stand bag is the pick of the bunch when it comes to carrying comfort.
- Lightweight yet durable
- The fold-out legs make the stand bag functional and practical
- Compact, yet still plenty of room to carry additional equipment
- Typically, the same amount of dividers as a Tour bag, just smaller
- Ergonomically designed, reducing the chance of injury
- Most stand bags are made from water-resistant materials
- Stand bags are generally equipped with an umbrella holder
- Not as big as the Tour or Cart bag, which means less space to store stuff
- The retractable legs can be prone to damage if not used carefully
The Tour bag, or “staff bag” as it’s often referred to, is the Rolls Royce of golf bags.
These bags are popular on the PGA and LPGA Tours because their sheer size allows the golfer and caddy to carry a whole heap of essentials during the round. Weighing in at about 10-15 lbs, they’re the heaviest golf bag on the market and the most durable; but be ready to get the pocketbook out; some tour bags can you set back close to $1000.
Before purchasing a tour bag, think long and hard about why you need one. Do you genuinely carry as much gear as the pros? or do you just love the look of the bag? If you answered yes to the last question, that’s ok; there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look stylish out on the course.
On the other hand, if you do carry additional equipment, you better make sure you’re either as strong as an ox or have a motorized buggy.
- 5-Way Top Cuff: 9.5", 5-way top cuff.
- Molded Side Panels: Molded side panels with interior organizer pockets
- Insulated Drink Pouch: Keep drinks or a towel cool all game long.
- Umbrella Holder
- Metal Accessories Ring: Premium branded accessories ring.
There’s no doubt about it; the tour bag is undoubtedly best suited for professional players or coaches who need to carry extra gear. However, that being said, if you are an amateur golfer, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a tour bag to keep your equipment and belongings safe.
- Tour bags are robust and will last years if looked after correctly
- High-quality materials are generally used to manufacture tour bags, so durability and style are never compromised
- Ample space to store your equipment plus extra storage to hold things like clothing, food, and drink
- Tour bags generally come equipped with full-length dividers designed to keep your clubs from getting damaged
- Hood and cover protecting your clubs and valuables from the rain
- A couple of stainless steel rings on the side of the bag are great for hanging towels and membership tags
- Umbrella holder
- Tour bags can burn a big fat hole right in your wallet
- Very heavy, making them tough to carry on course and to and from your car
Golf cart bags are similar in looks and style to tour bags, with the main difference being weight. Cart bags are typically lighter than tour bags, making them much more versatile. You can carry a cart bag or even secure it to a pull cart.
As the name suggests, cart bags are designed to be carried on the backs of motorized carts with their pockets strategically placed at the front for easy access. Cart bags in a way are almost like a hybrid car; they offer similar storage and durability as the tour bag but are lighter with a cheaper price point.
Cart bags take a good pounding, but don’t worry; they’re made from durable high-grade material, like leather, vinyl, or a mix of the two. They offer all the functionality and practicality of the tour bag but without all the bells and whistles.
- Lightweight-Easy to carry-transport at only 5.0 LBS
- 11 Pockets-including a magnetic velour lined range finder pocket, dual oversized apparel pockets
- Oversized Insulated Cooler Pocket-Fit up to nine cans of your favorite beverage in the oversized insulated pocket
- Pass Thru-Built in pass to attach to a cart without restricting pocket access
- 14 Way top including 3 full length dividers for easy access to your clubs
Cart bags are best for golfers who use motorized carts or electric pull buggies when they play.
- You get all the style and functionality of a tour bag but with considerably less weight
- Less expensive than tour bags
- Manufactured using high-end materials like leather and vinyl
- Plenty of storage space
- Durable and robust
- Cart bags arent as versatile as stand bags or carry bags
- Too heavy to carry for 18 holes
- Generally, you’ll only find a single shoulder strap
Ok, last but not least, the carry or “Sunday” golf bag is the lightweight of the pack, but don’t let that fool you; these bags still pack a punch.
Carry bags are ideal for golfers who may not carry a full set of clubs or golfers who only get 18 holes in once in a while. Carry bags have comfortable straps allowing you to carry your clubs with comfort and ease.
- Ultra-lightweight stand carry bag weighs a mere 1.95 pounds
- Two compartment top and enough room for as many as 6 or 7 clubs comfortably
- One accessory pocket enough for balls, tees, pencil and ball marker
- Durable carry handle plus shoulder strap to tote your clubs
- Rectractble legs provide support and easy access to clubs
Weekend golfers, beginners, or those that take little to no additional equipment to the course.
- Carry bags are super lightweight and make the perfect option if you’re a golfing minimalist
- Classic, traditional styling
- Relatively cheap compared to the other bags listed
- Little to no storage
- No space for a full set of clubs
- Although compact, the Sunday or carry bag does not come with retractable legs like the stand bag
Wow, that was one of the most complete and comprehensive guides on how to purchase the right golf bag you’ll find.
Let’s take a quick final recap:
- First and foremost, choose the type of bag you want
- Ask yourself, why you need that particular type of bag?
- How big is your pocketbook?
- Do you carry a full set of clubs plus additional equipment?
- Are you a minimalist?
Taking the time to answer these critical questions will have you one step closer to choosing the bag that’s right for you.