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Golf Carry & Stand Bags: The Complete Guide 2024

Golf carry & stand bags – for when you don’t want to be taken for a ride!
Carry / Stand bags are lighter and smaller than cart bags, have almost the same storage but have legs that keep your bag free from mud, easy access to your clubs, and they can still be attached to a golf cart or push trolley.

golf stand bag

Quick Read:

  • What is the difference between a carry bag and a stand bag? Nothing – just different names.
  • Golf stand bags have retractable legs that give you the option of walking the course with your bag on your shoulders.
  • Stand bags are lighter and smaller than Cart bags but still allow you to carry everything you need, including 14 clubs.
  • They normally come with 4 or 5-way club dividers, so if a 14 or 15-way is important for separating your clubs, look at Hybrid Golf bags.
  • If Stand bags are too big or heavy, a Sunday or Pencil bag is a lighter option.

Types of Golf Bags

Is a golf bag just for carrying your clubs and balls?
No, choose the wrong type of bag, and you could end up with aching shoulders, back strain, no rain jacket, and nowhere to put your beer!

Carry and Stand Bags

Carry or Stand bags (both the same) are designed for golfers who want, or need the option to walk a golf course. They feature two retractable legs that allow the bag to stand upright for easy access to your clubs and keep your bag clean from the grass and mud. 

Most stand bags include a dual shoulder strap system to spread the weight across both shoulders for balance. This will help you avoid walking lopsided for the typical 5 miles on the course. It’s bad for your back, too.

They will have enough storage for 14 clubs and all your essential accessories.

Cart Bags

If you always ride a golf cart or use a push trolley, cart bags are a good option. They are generally larger with more pockets and are specifically designed to securely fit onto a golf cart. 

Importantly, though, they don’t have retractable legs, so they will possibly fall down when placed on the grass.

They also typically only have one shoulder strap, so carrying the bag for long distances could strain your shoulders and back.

Sunday or Pencil Bag

A Sunday bag, also known as a pencil bag, is a slim and lightweight stand bag for when you only need a few clubs & balls. It is most suitable for a 9-hole course or practice when a half set of clubs is fine, and you don’t need to carry any extra rain gear or too many balls!

I recommend those with full-length legs. I have one with short legs, and while they keep the bag clean and away from the mud, they are awkward to get your clubs in and out.

Advantages of a Golf Stand Bag

Golf stand bags (or Sunday Bags) are the only option for any golfer who prefers walking the course.

golf stand bag storage
Golf Stand bag storage

  • They stand up!: Stand bags are designed with two retractable legs, which extend out and away from the bag so they can stand up by themselves.
  • Keep your bag clean: By standing and not lying on the ground, they keep themselves free from grass and mud.
  • Comfort: Padded dual shoulder straps and padded hip pads – you will appreciate these at the end of 18 holes and the 5-mile walk.
  • Stability: With two legs, your stand bag effectively becomes a tripod. Having three points of contact gives a good firm base – remember this when rock climbing! With regards to your bag, it means it will remain stable on those hilly slopes (if you point it uphill!), unlike a Cart bag.
  • Storage: Stand bags come with multiple pockets & good storage, so you can still carry all your clubs and accessories.
  • Cart-carrying: Stand bags can still be easily carried on the back of a golf cart or on a Push Trolley. They may not be as stable, though, and the bag may get wear & tear from the cart strap, which may also restrict some access to pockets.
  • Simplicity and Speed: By carrying your own bag, you can get as close to the green as you like – unlike a cart bag, especially on ‘Cart Path Only’ or ‘No Trolley’ days.
  • Save Money: You don’t need to buy and store a Push Cart or buy/rent a Golf cart.
  • You look cool! Carrying your own clubs & walking the course like a Tour Pro. Ok, so they have somebody carrying their clubs, but they still look cool!

Disadvantages of a Golf Stand Bag

A golf stand bag does have drawbacks when compared to a large Cart or smaller Sunday bag.

  • Carrying: If you never, ever carry a golf bag except from the car to the green, then get a Cart Bag for their slightly extra storage & greater stability on the back of a cart.
  • Storage Space: Stand bags typically offer less storage compared to larger cart bags. The difference is small, but it may mean you can’t carry 4 cans of cool beer! If you need this as well as stand legs, look at the amazing MV2 GOLF BAG or think about a Hybrid Golf Bag.
  • Stability on a cart or trolley: They don’t have a special pass-through section like cart bags. This means they are not as stable on a cart. As the cart or trolley strap will go across the front of the bag, it may cause some friction there and also restrict access to those pockets.
  • Sturdiness: The legs on a stand bag can be less stable on uneven terrain in very windy conditions – not as safe as the cart bag on a golf cart or trolley.
  • Organisation: Most stand bags will come with a 4 or 5-way divider. Whilst this is good enough for most players, a 14 or 15-way full length divider is better. If you are looking for this have a look at Hybrid Golf Bags.
  • Durability: The stand is an extra mechanism over a cart bag and can wear out over time & become loose over time.
  • Weight: They will be larger and heavier than a Sunday or Pencil bag. Maybe too much for a quick 9-hole? I don’t carry my Ping Hoofer stand bag to the short course as I am fine with just carrying my ‘odd-numbered’ irons and don’t need a driver or wood.
  • Cost: High-quality stand bags will cost more than a Sunday or Pencil bag (but probably less than a cart bag).

Features of Golf Stand Bags

There is a big difference between Golf Stand Bags. Which features do you need, and which can you do without to save weight and cost?

Stand Mechanism

A reliable stand system is pivotal (!) for stability. Look for a good stand mechanism that deploys smoothly, not just at the beginning but one that is proven to last for years.

Automatic legs – most bags will have a ‘pedal’ on the front of the bag. When the bag is pressed down at the front, the legs will automatically extend outwards. When the bag is lifted up again, the springs in the legs will make them fold back to the back of the bag.

The stands on a Ping Hoofer have been proven over many years and only have two positions, so they won’t dangle dangerously halfway between open & closed. They are also designed with a sm=light bend for more stability.

Titleist has carbon fiber legs – better than aluminum?

Top Dividers

Top dividers organize your clubs and protect them from damaging each other. A system with multiple dividers offers dedicated space, easing club retrieval and replacement during play.

Full-Length Dividers

Most golfers prefer bags with full-length dividers that extend the full length of the bag. These dividers prevent club grips from tangling together and help you get your clubs in the sand out of the bag more easily – especially if you have jumbo or midsized grips on your irons (not to mention that huge grip on your putter!).

Weight and Comfort

You will be carrying your bag for five miles and probably over four hours. Make sure the bag has everything you need, then look at the weight. They can vary from 3 to 7 lbs. Cobra has its own ‘Ultralight’ series

Pockets and Storage

How many pockets do you need? YOu will always have enough space for balls and tees but how much clothing, training aids, and importantly snacks will you bring?

They will vary in number from 6 to 9 and also in size.

New Magnetic pockets are now available for those pockets you will open most, such as the front pocket for your rangefinder.

Look out for fleece-lined pockets for phones & valuables or insulated pockets for drinks.

Key clips within pockets can save having to devote a whole pocket to them, as you don’t want your keys to scratch anything but your clothing.

Velcro patch for attaching your gloves.

Strap Systems and Balance

I say Dual Shoulder Straps that adjust to your body are vital. Quality bags feature padded shoulder straps & hip cushions that make the bag feel lighter and more comfortable. Similar to how a good rucksack feels.

Waterproof Golf Stand Bags

We are lucky enough to play outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. However, as we often book a timeslot weeks in advance, we also need to plan for the rain.

Most bags are water-resistant. If you play in the rain, look for bags that are actually waterproof. Sun Mountain is known for its waterproof clothing and bags, which use ‘WeatherMax’ fabric, which they claim is durable and resistant to water and UV rays. Their H2NO bag also has waterproof zippers, sealed seams, and a rain hood.

Women’s Golf Stand Bags

Cutler, Ogio, Sun Mountain, Datrek, Taboo Fashions, Rj Sports, Glove It, and Sassy Caddy all have dedicated ranges that move away from the boring black and into much more colorful patterns.

It’s interesting that the best-selling ladies’ golf bags tend to have tiny logos, too. I’m not surprised as they look like a piece of art rather than a walking advertisement.

Design and Style

A golf stand bag stands on a lush green fairway, with sleek and modern design elements. Bold colors and clean lines give it a stylish and contemporary look

A Golf Bag can be as traditional or as boring as you like, or you can go the full Ogio!

Color & Patterns

Do you want your golf bag to be a walking advertisement for a golf brand? Do they pay you to display a huge logo?

Brands such as G-Fore, J Lindeberg & Ogio have some quite eye-catching patterns that can show more of you and your style. There are more brands now catering to ladies from companies such as Cutler, Glove It, and Sassy Caddy.

If you are looking for a classic style, Jones is the company.

Junior / Youth Golf Stand Bags

When starting out, I recommend buying a complete starter set, which includes the clubs as well as the bag.

  • Callaway Junior XJ
  • Cleveland Golf junior set
  • Ping Prodi G junior set
  • Taylormade Rory Junior package set

For older kids, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality, though, as even Vessel makes a high-end leather junior bag with carbon fiber legs and magnetic closures!
For more affordable options, look at the Sun Mountain 2.5 LS, which is 2 inches shorter than a standard bag, or the Ping Hoofer Lite.

Custom Golf Stand Bags

Your bag can have a personalized touch with embroidered names, logos, or even special pockets. 

The Future of Golf Stand Bags

What is coming next for Golf Stand Bags? The 2024 PGA Tradeshow gave us a little glimpse …

Top Silencer dividers

Locks that minimize the bag clatter of your irons.

Hard sided pockets

Sides that protect your phone (or make sure your snacks don’t get crushed?)

Removable golf ball bags

The lower pocket can sometimes be removed completely – it also enables it to be customized if you want!

Travel golf bags

Something to protect your golf bag when traveling – this is seriously impressive! The Sun Mountain Kube Travel Cover – a full-size travel case that folds in half when not in use!

Golf Stand Bag Maintenance

Fix your Golf legs!

How to fix loose Golf legs

See the video above for how to fix any legs that may be sagging or not retracting properly.

Cleaning and Care

Cleaning: Begin by emptying your golf bag of everything!
For fabric areas, use a damp cloth with mild soap to wipe away mud, and for any stubborn stains, use a soft-bristled brush. 
Clean the zippers too, as trapped dirt can cause them to stick.

Drying: After cleaning, dry your bag naturally but thoroughly to prevent mildew – especially the pockets that don’t get any ventilation.
Avoid direct sunlight that can fade the colors if the fabric has no UV protection (even more than the hours spent on the course!).
Store it away from direct sunlight, too, between rounds.

Protecting: Apply a waterproofing spray if your bag isn’t already water-resistant. Even if it is, a top-up every year will be worth it.
I use Nikwax for my outdoor clothing as they are the best brand, so they will be good enough for your bag.  

Customized Golf Stand Bags

You can now choose a golf bag just for you!

Choose to customize an existing branded bag, such as Callaway or Vessel, by adding embroidered names & logos.

Or go the whole way with a fully customized bag with logos on both sides, panels, and ball pockets!

How to Carry a Golf Stand Bag?

Carrying a golf stand bag can actually be complicated. One shoulder, two shoulders? It took me a few times to adjust the straps and get used to carrying it correctly.

  1. Using Both Straps: Distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders by using both straps. Most straps are now adjustable.
  2. Proper Posture: Keep your back straight when lifting your golf bag. Bend your knees and lift with your legs to avoid back strain!
  3. Balanced Load: Before you start walking, check that the contents of your bag are balanced. Pockets should be evenly filled to prevent the bag from tilting and causing discomfort. The bag should be nearly horizontal. Don’t worry – your clubs don’t fall out.
  4. Carrying on one shoulder – hang the strap over your strongest shoulder and grab the driver cover for balance. As it isn’t great for your body, it is a good idea, though, to swap shoulders as you will be walking lop-sided, so strengthen the weaker side, too. Hopefully, you will only be carrying on one shoulder for short distances!

How to Setup a Golf Stand Bag?

A Quick guide on How to set up your Golf Stand bag is above.

Driver and Woods: Begin by placing your driver, woods & putter (in its head cover) in the top compartment of the bag. Keep them safe and out of the way of your irons.

Irons: Arrange your irons in descending order—longest to shortest—in the middle compartments. Placing them below the drivers means they won’t scratch or damage those expensive graphite shafts.

Wedges: Store your wedges in the lower compartments of the bag as they are the shortlist. If your bag includes a dedicated putter well, this is normally at the bottom too.

Accessories: Golf balls in the large lower front pocket. Range finder in the top front pocket because it will be the most used accessory and so needs the easiest pocket to get to.

Personal Items: Clothes go in the large side pocket. Put your sunscreen, water bottles, and snacks wherever you like, but always put your beer cans in the insulated pocket if you have one!

Popular Brands and Models

There are a lot of Golf Stand Bag manufacturers – from the traditional Big Four golfing giants of Titleist, Callaway, Taylormade & Ping where you can match your bag to your clubs.
If you aren’t tied to your club brand, look to golf bag specialists such as Ogio, Vessel, Sun Mountain, and Jones or newcomers such as MNML & Pins & Aces.


Established 1959.
The Tried & tested solid brand for everybody (my first bag & golf set were Ping).
The name ‘Ping’ was inspired by the sound of Karsten Solheim’s first putter design!
Makers of the all-time classic – Ping Hoofer – nothing else to add.


Probably now the best luxury option and the bag everybody would like to own!


One of the new stand-out golf bag makers, quickly gaining a reputation for quality & durability.

Sun Mountain

Originally known for its sophisticated outdoor wear, they applied their knowledge to golf bags in 2007. A very solid choice of a good quality golf bag.


If you are looking for a classic-designed high-quality golf bag, look no further.
They had a great 2024 PGA tradeshow!

G Fore

They make great bags for women!


Established 1932.
If you have a Titleist bag, you play golf seriously and like people to know.
It’s like playing with the Titleist Pro V1 golf balls.


Established 1979.
Another of the Big Four, they innovate on clubs and balls, especially the TP5.
Now owned by Adidas


Established 1982.
Best-selling drivers, irons & putters (Odyssey). Known for their innovation in clubs.
Note they actually own the Ogio & TravisMatthew brands too.


Established in 1913, Wilson produced its first golf balls in 1954.
The classic value brand for players starting out.

Ghost golf bags

A new luxury competitor – a challenger to Vessel??

PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf)

Established in 1913

A relatively new brand driven by technology – over 200 design patents.

Cobra Golf

Established 1973.
A more affordable brand
Note – bought by Puma in 2010


Established in 1906 but started golf in 1933
Japanese brand Known for their high-end forged irons.

Zero Friction

Founded in 2001, they make the incredible WheelPro pushcart bag!
A stand bag with 11″ wheels

BagBoy / Datrek

Founded in 2004, they took over Datrek who were established in 1979.

Pins & Aces

The new Pins & Aces 2024 bag is available in all colors, including pink and lime green. In the handle, they have a steel plate so you can attach their magnetic speaker! Very good padding on the straps.

High-end golf bags at good prices (and they often have discounts too)


Minimal – A new modern golf bag company formed in 2022, they appeal to environmental-aware golfers with their use of 40 recycled plastic bottles.
They are also innovative with their solar panels, USB chargers & Bluetooth speakers!
Just be aware that to look sleek and modern, they have fewer pockets.

Sunday Bags

They listened to all the comments on social media and redesigned their bags!

Best Golf Stand Bags

When selecting a golf stand bag, key factors include durability, storage capacity, and comfortable carrying options.

Here’s a comparison of some top models to help find the best fit for your game.

ModelWeightNumber of PocketsDivider TypeComments
MNML MV25 lbs64-way (2 full length)Simply the Classic!
Good stand mechanism & good padding for shoulders & hips.
Ping HooferModerate165-wayLightweight with a swivel strap
Vessel Player IVLightAmple14-wayBest luxury bag?
G-Fore Daytona Plus5.75 lbs64 -wayBest Women’s bag?
Cobra Ultradry Pro4.5 lbs55-wayHas a cart strap pass-through
Jones Trouper R5 lbs75-wayNew minimal sustainable design. Lightest ever made
Sun Mountain C1306.8 lbs1514-way15-way divider! Best-selling bag which is cart-friendly
Titleist Players 4 StaDry3.7 lbs64-wayWaterproof & lightweight
TaylorMade Flextech Bag4.5 lbsHas a cart strap pass-through4-wayHas a cart strap pass through
Motocaddy HydroFlex Stand Bag5.1 lbs75-way full lengthwas $299, now $99 if you are quick!
PXG Fairway Camo Stand Bag4.6 lbs4-wayIf you don’t want to be seen on the course!
Stitch SL24.5 lbs34-wayVery lightweight & slim – great for carrying
Pins & Aces6.6 lbs4-wayPremium golf bag at a good price

Frequently Asked Questions

When selecting a golf stand bag, several questions often come to mind to help make your decision easier. Below is a concise guide addressing some of the most common inquiries.

Do all golf bags have stands?

Not all golf bags come with built-in stands. Stand bags uniquely feature two retractable legs to support the bag upright for easy access to clubs.

How heavy are Stand Bags?

Typically, stand bags weigh between three to seven pounds, although some models may be heavier depending on materials and features.

Should I choose a Stand Bag or a Cart Bag?

Your decision should depend on your mode of travel on the golf course. If you prefer walking, a stand bag offers convenience and portability. For those who use a cart, cart bags provide more space and storage.

Should I choose a Stand Bag or a Sunday/Pencil Bag?

Sunday or pencil bags are more compact and lighter than stand bags, making them ideal for quick rounds or par-3 courses. Stand bags offer more space and the stability of a stand for regular courses.

What is a Hybrid Golf Bag?

A hybrid golf bag combines the portability of a stand bag with the storage capacity of a cart bag, offering flexibility for different styles of play.

Should I choose a Stand Bag or a Hybrid Bag?

Consider a hybrid bag if you switch between walking and riding on a cart, as it caters to both scenarios. Choose a stand bag if lightness and ease of carrying are your primary concerns.

Can I attach my Stand Bag to a Golf Cart?

Most stand bags can be secured to a golf cart, although the fit may not be as perfect as a cart bag designed for that purpose.

Can I attach my Stand Bag to a Push Cart?

Yes, stand bags can always be attached, although some are easier than others. Some brands like Taylormade & Big Max even have special bases that make it easier to go on a cart.

How do I arrange my clubs in a Stand Bag?

Arrange your clubs from longest to shortest with the driver at the bag’s top back slot. Why? This will prevent the blades of your irons from swinging and chipping away at the delicate graphite shafts of your new driver.

How does a 14-way top on a golf stand bag improve organization?

No club crowding here! A 14-way top provides individual slots for each club, making them easier to get in and pull out. If you have full length dividers, this makes it even more easy. Some even have locks to stop them from bashing together and creating the dreaded ‘bag clatter.’

What is a 15-way top divider?

A 15-way top divider furnishes an individual slot for each of the fourteen clubs, plus an extra one for accessories such as alignment sticks, an umbrella, or even a training aid (like my super whippy G-Force trainer, which is fun to bring to the range!)

Are there different types of Stand Mechanism?

Stand bag mechanisms vary, typically ranging from automatic spring-action legs to those that have to be set manually. Ping has a two-position setup reducing the ‘loose legs’, which can be halfway between open & closed.

Can you convert a golf cart bag to a stand bag?

Not easily and not recommended. Ideally, you would have bought a Hybrid golf bag, but if it’s too late, get a new Stand bag or Sunday bag if you can get by without the full set of clubs.

Geoff - everything golf cart

I’m Geoff – Short Game Expert and Golf Coach.
(only because I love playing flops shots on the 9-hole and passing on my favorite Pete Cowen tips to friends & family)
My most memorable golf experience – racing through the streets of Hong Kong in a golf cart to catch the next ferry!

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