Each year we research, study and test scores of golf bags. Why?
It’s simple: Your game is our job. You don’t have the bandwidth to test every golf bag on the planet in hopes of finding what’s best. We do.
Call us crazy. Maybe we are. But, we just want to make sure that when you spend your hard-earned cash on a new golf bag you’re getting something that will help, not hurt, your game.
Need a new golf bag? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve spent years testing and researching what to look for and we want to share that expertise with you.
Here’s what to look for in a golf bag.
Choose Your Fighter
The first question to ask is whether you want a stand, cart, hybrid or Sunday golf bag. If you’re new to the game, you may not know there are multiple options. No worries, we’re here to help.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of golf bags:
Golf Stand Bag
A golf stand bag is the typical choice for those who prefer to walk rather than ride. This is because of the built-in stand system (the legs) that allows the bag to be propped up off the ground. Most golf stand bags are lighter and easier to carry. A golf stand bag may also contain a cart strap pass-through for those days when riding sounds more appealing.
The PING Hoofer is the quintessential golf stand bag.
Golf Cart Bag
A golf cart bag is generally the biggest of the golf bags that average or recreational golfers might use. These are designed to sit on the back of golf carts (or push carts). As such, they typically lack the leg/stand system of a golf stand bag.
Cart bags are beefier and feature more storage than most stand bags. They’re great for the golfer who loves to bring more than a few drinks and more than a few balls.
The PING DLX Cart Bag is the best of the best in this category.
Golf Hybrid Bag
Like a hybrid iron, a hybrid golf bag is a crossover. A true hybrid golf bag is a cross between a cart and stand bag, taking the best features from each. In general, a hybrid golf bag is larger than a stand bag but has a stand system. Most are smaller than a typical cart bag but feature strap pass-through systems for easy use on a golf cart or push cart.
The PXG Hybrid is a good example of a top-notch hybrid golf bag.
Golf Sunday Bag
Sunday golf bags are the smallest of the bunch. These bags are a minimalist’s dream. They’re light, small and are designed to hold only a few clubs. Most who use Sunday golf bags stick to par-3 courses or executive courses where a full set isn’t a necessity.
Traditional Sunday bags are legless, “pencil-style” bags similar to the PING Moonlite. But more and more Sunday bags like the Sunday El Camino are adding stand systems, pockets and extra carrying straps.
Size Versus Storage
Once you’ve determined the type of golf bag that suits your game, the next logical step is to decide whether you value size or storage.
As someone who used to bring a backpack to the course, I can vouch for the importance of choosing a golf bag that holds everything you need.
That said, not everyone needs a golf bag that can hold an entire wardrobe. If you value size over storage, you’re probably looking for a bag that still has some pockets but is easier to move, transport and store.
It’s important to note that “storage” and “size” are not mutually exclusive. Some golf bags use their size much better than others. A good bag in this case would be something that has wide pockets that expand for extra storage.
Whichever of the four main types of golf bags you choose, there’s something on either end of the spectrum to fit your game.
If storage is your biggest concern, a cart bag will always have more than a stand bag. Something like the Sun Mountain C-130 would serve you well. But if you want the storage of a cart bag with the functionality of a stand bag, perhaps a hybrid golf bag is the way to go.
If you’re only worried about size, a Sunday golf bag like the COBRA Ultralight Sunday is as small as they come.
Weight and Materials
The next consideration is the weight and materials. These two go hand in hand, because what a golf bag is made out of has a major impact on its weight.
As a general rule of thumb, lighter golf bags are made of less-premium materials. Mesh, canvas and nylon are all very lightweight. Premium materials like leather and synthetic leathers often add weight but have a more premium “fit and finish”.
Climate and Playing Conditions
An often overlooked factor when choosing a golf bag is climate. If most of your golf is played in Seattle, you probably shouldn’t be using the same bag as someone who’s in Phoenix.
Quite a few golf bags are water-resistant but what if you need full waterproofing? Sun Mountain and COBRA golf bags are among the best if you play in the rain.
On the flipside, someone in a hot, muggy climate might be better served with a bag that has a large insulated beverage pocket. Gotta keep those “frosty boys” cold!
Other Golf Bag Buying Considerations
- Consider a golf bag that fits your style. No need to be muted and boring! OGIO golf bags are always lively.
- Price versus performance. A high price tag doesn’t necessarily equate to a boost in performance. Budget-friendly bags often perform just as well.
- Look for additional features like shoe pouches. Some bags put thought into every detail.
- Think about dividers. Club dividers come in different shapes and sizes. Often the five- or six-way dividers make it easier to retrieve clubs. A 14-way divider provides better separation but also adds weight.
Golf Bag FAQs
Yes. Most golf stand bags are able to be safely strapped onto a golf cart. Some even have cart strap pass-through systems.
The limit is 14 though you definitely don’t need to use all 14 if that’s not your thing. Some golfers opt to use a Sunday golf bag that only has room for a half set.
We’ve spent countless hours testing golf bags in order to determine what’s best for you. Check out our golf bag buyer’s guides to find the right bag for your game!
Most professional golfers use a “staff bag.” We didn’t mention them here because, unless you’ve got a professional caddie, you’re better off without one. They’re generally large, heavy and hard to carry.