You're in the market for a new golf bag. That old standby is on its last legs. The pockets are fraying, and the stand barely works anymore. So you're wondering what to look for in a new golf bag, and we're here to help you pick that new golf bag.
Golf bags have come a long way since you probably last bought one, and there are some important features to look for and consider when buying a new golf bag. We're here to help you figure out how to pick the golf bag that's right for you.
How to pick the right golf bag for you
Walk or Ride: There are several different types of bags out there: stand bags, cart bags, staff bags, Sunday bags, hybrid bags. All kinds. The bags address different needs. If you love to walk when you play golf, then you're looking at a stand bag as a standard option, a Sunday bag for a super lightweight easy option or a hybrid bag that has more space and store but still has a stand and a good strap to help you carry it. If you pretty much only ride in a cart and tend to play at just one place or club, then a cart bag or a staff bag is more likely your category of choice. However, if you carry a staff bag, you better be a scratch golfer. No one likes playing with someone who stinks and has a staff bag, particularly with their name on it.
Club Dividers and Pockets: Golf bag makers keep your clubs from smashing against one another in myriad ways. Many use full-length dividers to separate multiple pockets of a golf bag. Some use full-length individual dividers, particularly on cart bags. Some bags have five divider pockets. Some have three. Just make sure you feel comfortable with all of your clubs in the bag. Typically, one pocket for woods and one pocket for short irons is good, with two pockets in the middle for the middle and long irons.
Comfortable Strap: If you're carrying a golf bag, it has to feel comfortable. That starts with a wide, well-padded strap with plenty of room to adjust to fit your body type. The straps should adjust enough so that the bag sits square on your shoulders with a slight lean to keep your clubs in the bag. If they don't feel comfortable pressing into your shoulders with a full load, don't bother.
Weight: Some golfers love to carry their bag and walk, but they can't if the bag is too heavy. Most modern golf bags shed as much weight as they can while retaining their sturdiness. However, some golf bags are lighter than others, getting as low as 3 lbs. in some cases. If you need a bag that light, then expect to have perhaps fewer pockets and storage options. After all, the point of a light golf bag is keeping is light. Don't muddy it up with a bunch of stuff that just tacks on weight. Lighter bags are less likely to stand up over time, so you're trading some durability for comfort.
Hooks for Stuff: Do you need a clip for an umbrella? Probably not. Do you have a lot of bag tags you like to display? Make sure there's a hook for that. But you'll almost certainly want a place to put a towel. A lot of bags have explicit towel hooks, but many don't.
Storage: A good golf bag stores all the stuff you typically need for a round of golf. That means golf balls, tees, gloves and some accessories like a brush, your GPS or laser rangefinder and maybe a snack or two. Unless you travel all the time and kind of live out of your golf bag, don't worry about the glove fitting a full wardrobe of golf clothes like weatherproofs, sweaters and the like. Nice touches like pockets for your water bottle or a marker or a scorecard are nice. More bags have fleece-lined pockets for valuables, too, which is good for the golfer who doesn't take off their watch and wallet until it's showtime.
Price: You can get a good golf bag for $120-$150. You can get a value-priced bag for $90. You can fork over up to $400 for a bag. Start at that $150 figure and see if you can find something that has a weight you like with enough storage and is comfortable. If you can find a steal cheaper than that, go for it, but know that you might be doing the same search again sooner than later.