Before you rush out to purchase a new golf bag, you need to understand what you’re buying. We can help you make the right decision by exploring the features you’ll find on various products. Using the right golf bag will make your time on the golf course more enjoyable and it’ll help you shoot lower scores.
Let’s get started!
Different Types Of Golf Bags
We could quibble on the classification of different bags, but for the purpose of this conversation, we’re going to state that there are 5 different types of golf bags.
Carry Bags/Stand Bags
The carry bag or stand bag is the choice for all high school and college golf teams. They’re designed for the competitive golfer that has to walk and wants a full set of clubs. This type of bag won’t have as much storage as a cart or Tour Staff bag but does allow you to carry your critical golf equipment (rangefinder, umbrella, etc.)
If you decide to rent a cart, these bags will easily attach. Carry/stand bags are relatively lightweight and are the most common type of bags on the market. When you visit Dick’s Sporting Goods, the majority of the products you see fall in this category.
Tour Staff Bags
It’s all in the name. Tour Staff bags are used by golfers on the PGA tour. Why are they called “Staff” bags? It’s because Callaway, PING, Titleist, or another golf manufacturer have paid the player to be on their “staff” and use their golf bag.
Tour Staff bags are large (heavy), made of leather, and have storage for everything. A PGA tour player has a caddy and never wants to be caught without a piece of golf equipment they need.
Let’s be honest, you play for $5 on the weekends and they’re competing for millions.
You can buy a Tour Staff bag, but it’ll expensive and you may struggle to carry it from the parking lot to your cart. For the most part, we recommend you let the players that get paid to play use this type of golf bag.
A minimalist golf bag is for the player that believes “less is more.” The type of player that loves the game of golf, but doesn’t take it too seriously. You want to shoot a low number, but your score is less important than the time with family and friends. If this sounds like your approach to the game, you need to consider a minimalist golf bag.
They’re similar to carry/stand bags, but a bit smaller. Lighter and easier to carry, they can typically hold between 6-10 golf clubs and all of your golfing essentials (balls, tees, gloves, etc.). In other words, keep it simple and enjoy your afternoon in the fairways.
The standard cart bag is designed to be used when you rent a cart. You can walk and use a pushcart, but you’ll never want to carry this bag around the course. These bags are bulky and heavy. The storage solutions in cart bags are awesome. You can bring all of the golf gear you own including rain gear, golf shoes, and dozens of golf balls.
Source: Golf Week: USA Today
You should consider a cart bag if you always want to ride in a golf cart. Yes, they’ll work on a pushcart, but that should be the exception, not the rule. If you’re a cart bag golfer you may want to consider a secondary bag (Sunday bag) that you can use when you practice.
Sunday bags are the lightest you can find on the market. They often weigh less than two pounds and are perfect for a trip to the driving range or to play your favorite par 3 courses. Sunday bags are designed to hold ~5 clubs and have enough storage for your golf balls, tees, and gloves.
Can you play 18 holes with a Sunday bag? Definitely. Anyone can walk and carry this type of bag. This type of product can work perfectly for the junior golfer in your life.
For a competitive golfer, a Sunday bag can be an awesome secondary bag. Use it when you want to practice or just mess around during a late afternoon round.
Factors To Consider When Choosing The Right Golf Bag
Reading the product descriptions for golf bags can be overwhelming. Do you need full-length dividers? What’s a rain hood? Why would I need a valuables pocket? Below we explain these different features and the value they add so you can make an educated decision.
Size/Number Of Clubs
Golf bags are not one size fits all. In fact, different types are designed to handle more or fewer golf clubs.
You’re legally allowed to carry/use up to 14 clubs during a round of golf, but that doesn’t mean you have to lug around that many. How many clubs should you carry?
The answer to this question will vary from player to player. Beginners and casual golfers can enjoy the game with 6 clubs or less, while competitive golfers will typically carry 14. Tour bags, Cart bags, and Carry/Stand bags will typically hold 14 clubs, while Minimalist bags and Sunday bags will hold less.
You can think of dividers as your golf bag shelves - they allow you to organize and separate your clubs. Golf bags can have from 0 - 14 dividers, so always pay attention to this number when reading about the product you’re considering. Outside of the number of dividers, there are also a couple of different types. Full-length dividers run the entire length of your bag, but standard dividers only separate the top of your golf bag (where you put your clubs in).
Pockets & Storage
Ultimately, your golf bag is simply a vessel to carry all of your golf equipment and golf gear. Versatile storage space can be a factor if you enjoy bringing all of your gear when you play.
Do you play with just the golf essentials (golf balls, tees, gloves, etc.) or do you want a specific pocket for everything?
You’ll find golf bags with apparel pockets, valuables pockets, water bottle pouches, and even a dedicated place for your rangefinder. Do you want to carry a towel on your bag? Make sure the product has a towel ring or other attachment mechanism.
If you plan to walk the course and carry your golf bag, the strap(s) are a critical component of your decision. You’ll find single-strap bags and double-shoulder strap options. If you plan to walk and carry, we’d recommend an advanced strap system that protects your back and keeps you feeling fresh throughout your round.
Do you plan to ride in a cart? Make sure your bag has a cart strap that makes it easy to attach to the back of your ride.
If you plan to purchase a golf cart bag, the weight isn’t terribly important. You only need to carry it from the trunk of your car to the pro shop. On the other hand, if you plan to walk the weight of the golf bag is a critical requirement. Golf bags can weigh anywhere from < 2 pounds to >15 pounds.
Golf bags are typically constructed of nylon, canvas, and/or leather. More important than the type of material is that the product is made from quality materials. Read the fine print related to the construction of your bag and pay attention to customer reviews.
Who is better to tell you if a bag is high-quality than a golfer that has already used it?
No one wants to put their new golf clubs in an ugly golf bag! Golf bags are available in many different colors and designs. Find one that suits your sense of style and that you’ll be proud to carry around your local country club.
We all know that the better you look the better you feel. The better you feel, the better you play!
Are you a “fair weather golfer” who only plays in perfect conditions or are you willing to deal with a little rain on the course? Different golf bags have different ways to help you deal with the weather.
You want easy access to your umbrella and a rain hood can help. Of course, you don’t need this functionality if you head to the 19th hole at the first sign of dark clouds.
For the most part, any player can use any golf bag, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard the “gender” of the bag. Golf manufacturers do make women’s golf bags and they’ll be slightly shorter than standard or men’s golf bags. Why? The standard length for women’s golf clubs is approximately 1-inch shorter than men’s, so a shorter bag can fit these clubs better.
Price is always a factor. We love to get a great product for a great price.
The trick is to pay for the features that’ll improve your golf course experience and not pay for functionality you don’t need or will never use.
What To Look For In A Golf Bag: FAQs
What should be in a golf bag for beginners?
Players just starting to learn the game should keep it simple. You don’t need more than 5-7 golf clubs (driver, fairway wood, a few irons, a wedge, and a putter). Always remember to bring plenty of golf balls, because you might lose a few!
How can you tell the quality of a bag?
The quality of a golf bag comes down to the materials it’s made from and how it’s constructed. When in doubt, go with a golf brand you know and/or pay close attention to customer bag reviews.
How many clubs should a beginner golfer carry?
Professional golfers carry the legal limit of 14 clubs, but beginners don’t need this many to learn the game. Five to seven golf clubs are the perfect amount for a player who is just learning the game.
Pick Your Golf Bag Based On How You Enjoy The Game
It doesn’t matter what golf bag Rory McIlroy uses or which product Tiger loves.
The goal is to find the perfect bag for you. What product will improve your golf course experience?
The answer comes down to how you enjoy the game of golf. Do you walk or ride? Do you play competitive golf or prefer casual rounds with friends? Do you need 14 clubs or can you have fun with 7?
Answer these questions and you’ll know the right golf bag for you!