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How to Choose a Golf Bag: The Complete Guide 2024

Golf Bag

Which Golf Bag do YOU need?
If you are riding, a Cart bag will hold everything you need, or carrying your own bag in which case a Stand Bag would be easier to carry.

When I am walking a 9-hole course, a Sunday or Pencil bag is my favorite, being smaller & lighter. The choice isn’t always that simple as you may be riding, sometimes, walking, and playing 9 & 18 holes. The answer is, of course, to have more than one golf bag – the average player has more than three!

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right golf bag for your playing style – are you riding, walking or a little of both?
  • What are the Key features you need? How many clubs will you carry? Do you need your bag to be easy to carry & waterproof?
  • It is most likely no single golf bag will be a perfect match. There is no harm in getting two or three for different playing occasions!

What Type of Golf Bag?

There are six main types of Golf Bag – not including those for travel or customized bags! Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Golf Cart Bags

Cart bags are designed to sit at the back of a golf cart. They are the largest, heaviest, and have the most storage, often with 14 specialized pockets for easy access to all your gear. Only for riding – not for carrying!

Golf Stand Bags (Carry Bags)

Stand Bags are versatile with retractable legs to keep the bag ‘standing up’ hence the name. The stand is important as it keeps your bag away from the wet, muddy grass.
They are lighter than cart bags and are a good choice if you prefer to have the option to walk the course, as they still allow you to carry all 14 clubs. They will come with a double shoulder strap which is important as all those clubes are heavy!

Golf Hybrid Bags

Hybrid bags combine the legs of a stand bag with the storage capacity and dedicated cart loops of a cart bag. They work well for golfers who switch between walking and riding during their rounds. A Hybrid bag has 5 dividers compared to the 14 of a cart bag.

Golf Sunday Bags

Sunday bags have changed a lot over the last few years. In 2024, they are not basic bags but can now include a stand, two shoulder straps, and storage for balls, tees, water bottles, and valuables. Most have a two or three-way divider, as you will only be carrying a half set of clubs.

Golf Pencil Bags

Pencil bags are similar to Sunday bags but even more streamlined & lighter. They will have two dividers, room for only a few clubs, and probably a single over-the-shoulder strap. They will have no stand and few small pockets but are great for visits to the range or practice.
I actually have a rare pencil bag that does have a stand, which is perfect for a quick 9-hole.

Golf Staff Bags

The choice of professional golfers only offers top-of-the-range storage and a premium finish. Perfect only for those golfers who have a caddy, as they are HUGE!

Storage & Features of a Golf Bag


What features do you need to look for when choosing a golf bag?

Pocket Configuration

Your golf bag will have a number of pockets to organize all your stuff! If you are considering a cart bag, look for forward-facing pockets that will allow you to reach all your accessories.
The number of pockets can vary, but they may include :

  • Clothing pockets: Large side pockets for your waterproofs.
  • Ball pockets: How many you need will depend on you!
  • Valuables pocket: Often fleece-lined to protect phones etc.
  • Cooler pocket: Insulated to keep your drink cold.
  • Accessory pockets: For tees, divot tools, markers & rangefinders.


Your golf bag’s main purpose is to carry & protect your clubs. Look for features such as:

  • Full-length dividers: These prevent clubs from tangling and make pulling them out easier.
  • If your bag has two or three dividers, you can now get individual plastic tubes – one for each club!

Materials and Durability


Once you have selected the type of Golf bag, are they the same?
It is similar to choosing Golf Shoes – some are waterproof, some are lighter, and some are even made of leather!

Assessing Material Quality

What to Look For:

  • High-quality materials such as heavy-duty nylon, leather, or canvas.
  • Water-resistance: Opt for bags with a water-resistant finish to protect against weather conditions.
  • Zippers – check these slide smoothly and don’t get caught easily.
  • UV protection: Materials that offer UV protection to prevent fading and wear from sunlight.

Comfort, Weight, and Portability

The weight of a Cart bag doesn’t matter too much as the Cart does all the heavy lifting. Walking 5 miles around 18 holes with a heavy bag is a different matter.

Weight and Mobility

A Golf bag can range between the 3.8lbs of a Cobra Ultralight Sunday bag, the 5.5lbs of a Ping Hoofer, and the 7.5lbs of a Ping DLX.

Shoulder Straps

The strap system of your golf bag is one of the most important factors for comfort. A dual-strap system (similar to a rucksack) across both shoulders will distribute weight evenly and also prevent you from being lopsided – which will cause strain on your back.

Ensure the straps are padded and adjustable so they fit you well.

My own pencil bag has only a single strap, which is absolutely fine for a quick 9-hole course.

Stand Mechanism

The Stand mechanism is important as it allows the legs to prop up your bag so it ‘stands up.’ Most have an automatic system where a ‘pedal’ at the base of the bag is activated when the bag is lent forward. This activates a spring system that pushes the legs away from the bag. The legs then retract automatically when the bag is lifted up.

Some stands have short legs. Although they weigh less and still keep your bag away from the wet grass, I don’t recommend them. I have one where the bag is raised only a few inches higher, and it is a pain to get your clubs and put them back. Also, not good for the range for the same reason!

Weather Resistance

When you’re on the golf course, the last thing you want is for the weather to spoil your gear. Ensuring your golf bag is equipped to handle diverse weather conditions is crucial for the longevity of your clubs and the comfort of your game.

Waterproof Features

Your golf bag should be made from water-resistant materials such as nylon or polyester, and have waterproof zippers, sealed seams and a rain hood for added protection.

Bag Maintenance in Varied Climates

In humid climates, you’ll want a bag that offers good ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and mold especially inside the bag.

Customized Golf Bags

Do you want to express yourself and not have a standard Ping bag?
How about this below?

There are companies out there who will add your own unique color and design for your golf bag. VESSEL offers a premium embroidered golf bag personalization service.

Steurer & Jacoby allow you to customize your leather and canvas.

Vintage Golf Bags

For a truly classic look, look in charity shops, gumtree, or eBay for genuinely old golf bags such as a Vintage 6 Division Callaway Cart bag at bargain prices.
If you are looking for just a vintage look, try companies such as Jones.

Golf Travel Bags

If you are lucky enough to go on a golfing holiday, you will want to bring your own clubs. How do you keep them safe through the airport and the baggage handlers?!

  • Durability: Do you choose a hard or soft case with reinforced corners and good padding?
  • Size: Ensure the bag fits your clubs snugly but has enough room for extra padding or clothes you might wrap around the clubs for extra protection.
  • Wheels: Good quality, smooth-rolling wheels make it easier in the airport and getting to your hotel.
  • Straps: Internal straps keep your clubs secure, while external straps will help compress the bag’s size.
  • Materials: Choose a bag made from strong heavy-duty nylon or polyester, which are resistant to tears and rips.

Brand and Price Comparison

So you have decided on the type of bag you need.
Which brand will you choose?

Brand Reputation

Vessel is known for its luxury bags, Stitch bags that stand out for their unique designs. If you’re seeking reliability, look for Sun Mountain and Ping, with their long history of quality. For those who prefer classic styles, consider Jones, while Nike and Mizuno offer a more modern, sporty feel.

Companies like Titleist, CallawayTaylormade, and Cobra are giants in the golf world, known not only for their clubs but for producing some of the most versatile and durable bags. Meanwhile, brands like Malbon and G Fore inject more personality into their designs. Big Max focuses on waterproof features.

Budget-friendly options: Walmart carries a range of brands, including Wilson and Cleaveland. If you want color & design – go for Glove It & Ogio!

PXG and XXIO offer premium materials and exclusive features.

What are the Best Golf Bags?

Leading the pack, the Ping Hoofer is THE classic golf stand bag.
The Cobra Ultralight is renowned for being exceptionally lightweight without sacrificing storage space—ideal if you enjoy walking the course.
The Ping DLX, offers a tour-inspired look and lots of storage as a cart bag.

Bag ModelKey Features
Ping Hoofer (Stand bag)-The Icon of Golf Bags!
– Reliable, proven design
Cobra Ultralight (Sunday Bag)– Ultra-lightweight
– Ample storage
Vessel Lux Cart (Cart Bag)– Quality & Luxury
– Magnets instead of zippers!

Golf Bag Accessories

  • Golf Shoe Bags: Keep your golf shoes protected and protect your other stuff from mud! They can also offer extra pockets for storing spikes, gloves, or balls.
  • Golf Towels: Essential for cleaning clubs and balls or drying your hands. I recommend a tri-fold towel as you can clean everything inside the fold, leaving the outside nice & clean.Make sure it has a hole for the clip!
  • Rain Covers: Protect your clubs from the rain with a waterproof rain cover. It should be quick & easy to use in case of a quick thunderstorm.
  • Tee Bags: Not tea bags, but something to keep your tees organized and accessible in a small pouch or tee bag. Choose one that can be easily clipped to your golf bag, or just put them into one of the small front pockets of your golf bag.

Your golf bag can be your personal caddy carrying everything you need, and lots of things you probably don’t need!

How to Arrange a Golf Bag

You’ve now bought your golf bag. How do you fit in all your clubs, balls, and that essential pitch repair tool?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of golf bags available?

The main types of golf bag are Cart bags (for when you ride on a cart!), Stand bags (for those walking 18 holes) and Sunday Bags for those short 9-hole courses or quick trips to the range.

How Many Clubs fit in a Golf Bag?

A typical Cart or Stand golf bag will carry up to 14 clubs (which is the maximum number allowed by the rules of golf). A Sunday bag will carry a half set.

How Many Clubs are allowed in a Golf Bag?

According to the rules of golf, you are allowed to carry a maximum of 14 clubs in your golf bag during a round.

How Many Clubs fit in a Sunday Bag?

A Sunday bag is a lightweight, smaller alternative designed for a quick 9-hole course. Mine carries a maximum of driver, hybrid, 5 irons, 3 wedges, and a putter.

How to Organise or Arrange Clubs in your Golf Bag?

Organize your clubs by placing the longer clubs, like the driver and woods, at the top of your bag, while wedges and the putter should be stored at the bottom. This will help the balance of your bag and easy access to all your clubs.

What should I consider when choosing a golf bag as a beginners?

As a beginner, choose a golf bag that will be suitable for most of the times you will play. It will be your first & only bag, so I recommend a Stand bag, which will let you carry up to 14 clubs if you need to. If you know you will only be playing 18 holes and riding in a cart, you could consider a Cart or Hybrid bag.
If you know you will start by playing only 9-hole courses, or you will just visit a range and leave the 18 holes for later, a Sunday bag will be fine.
As a beginner, you only really need a half set of clubs to start with. No need to carry a full set of clubs as they are heavy!
(I would leave pencil bags for later as they carry too few clubs.)

Should I Choose Cart or Stand Bag?

If you ONLY ride in a golf cart on an 18-hole course, choose a Cart or Hybrid bag with its extra storage and cart attachment loops.
If you will walk an 18-hole course (now or in the future), choose a Stand bag.

Should I Choose a Stand or Sunday Bag?

If you will only ever have ONE bag (unlikely!), choose a Stand bag.
If you are starting with a few borrowed clubs on a 9-hole course (which is a good idea!), then a Sunday bag will be a good choice. You can get a larger Stand or Cart bag when you progress to 18 holes.

Which Golf Bag for 9 Holes?

For a quick 9-hole game, a Sunday bag or even a Pencil bag will be fine.
You don’t need a full set of clubs as the distances are much shorter. Keep your wedges, but you can leave some of your longer clubs behind.

Are Golf Bags waterproof?

Mostly, yes, but some are more waterproof than others!

… and finally my end of page funny video!

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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