Tired of jamming everything into the tiny pockets of your golf bag? Traveling with your bag a pain in the ass? Embarrassed of your sun kissed (faded) golf bag you haven't replaced in 10 years? Caddies looking at you like you're a bum?
I understand all of those things.
But then I got myself a new bag. Oh what a difference a great golf bag makes. No more wriggling my fingers around to find a tee in the bottom of one of the three pockets on the back. No more crusty golf gloves under my rain jacket. No more painful shoulder traveling abroad with my clubs. No more bag flying off the golf cart as you pull away!
These are all things I realized I hated only after getting a new bag.
It's like Stockholm Syndrome, falling in love with your bag that's keeping you captive.
And sometimes, as in my case, I had just had enough of the 8-year-old beat up Jack Nicklaus bag I bought when I was on a very tight student budget. The jokes from my buddies stopped after I upgraded and caddies actually wanted to take my bag for a loop. My golf bag blues were over! I hope you find one for yourself by using this guide I put together from my experience looking for a new golf bag.
One & Done Best Golf Bags Selection
Here's my top choices for golf bags if you're short on time and can't look through the whole guide.
- The Best Golf Stand & Carry Bag for Walking: PING Hoofer
- Best Lightweight Golf Bag: Taylormade FlexTech Lite
- Best Golf Bag for Push Carts: PING Pioneer
- Best Golf Cart Bag for Riding: Sun Mountain C130
- Best Cheap Golf Stand Bag: Taylormade 8.0
- Best Cheap Golf Cart Bag: Top Flite Gamer
- Best Golf Club Rain Cover: Rain Tek Cover
Mini-guide to the Best Golf Bags
What types of bags are there?
These are usually very lightweight and come with a strap that goes over both your shoulders to distribute the weight evenly. You carry it between shots and place it on the ground. A system on the base of the bag extends two shafts that act as the stand.
- Lightweight for travel
- New designs cart friendly
- You look less "old"
- Won't fall over in the wind
- Taxing on shoulder and back
- Pressure on spine and shoulders
- Clubs banging when walking
These are specifically used for push or pull carts and golf cars. They do not have pockets on one strip of the bag to line up with the centre shaft of a push or pull cart. Most sit flat on driveable golf cars and on the ground.
- Storage for everything - even a 6 pack
- No club chatter when walking
- Fits all push carts and buggies
- On push cart, it's the most comfortable way to walk
- More protective of clubs when travelling
- Extra cost of push cart
- Single-shoulder strap sucks for travelling
- If there is no cart to push or drive, you're screwed
These are used by the pros. I don’t recommend these as they’re inconvenient and cumbersome. They’re used for advertising on TV more than actual utility. There is little value to an amateur golfer besides for a boost in ego.
The Best Golf Bag Brands
The highest quality golf bags are made by the top club manufacturers but there are a few names who specialise in producing bags, in particular golf bags you may not have heard of.
The best golf bag brands
- Bag Boy
- Sun Mountain
The above brands are considered the best due to high quality materials and innovation in developing their bags. Bags they produce carry everything you need; are durable, easy-to-use and look stylish.
There are lesser known brands and budget brands available. The main issue with the very budget options is the quality of the fabrics and zippers used. Often the very cheap bags fall apart after 6 months. Zippers break, lining comes undone and the finishing frays very easily.
How to choose the Best Golf Bag for You - Important Questions
There are some important questions to ask yourself before buying a golf bag which can help identify which one is best.
Is it important your bag brand matches your golf club brand?
Some golfers love to match their clubs with their bag brand but often this is a non-issue. Totally up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that manufacturers who focus on bags and apparel place more importance than a club manufacturer would on creating a great golf bag.
Do you prefer walking the course or driving a golf car?
If you like driving a golf car when you play, a cart bag will suit you best. They’re designed to fit and stand easily on the back of a golf car. The pockets are designed to be easily accessible from a cart. The stand bags are often awkward to put upright on a cart. Newer stand bags have flat bases so don't write them off too quickly. It all depends on the next few questions.
If you like walking, you have the option of carrying the bag on your shoulders with a stand bag or using a push cart with a cart bag attached to it.
Do you prefer walking the course with a bag on your back or on a push cart?
If you prefer using a push cart you are best served getting a cart bag. They are designed specifically to give access to all the pockets and align correctly to the cart. Weight of the bag is less of an issue because it’s rolled on the cart over the ground.
Carrying a bag would require a lightweight stand bag with nice double straps to distribute the weight over your shoulders evenly. Cart bags only have one strap and are cumbersome to carry around the course.
Do you have any back problems?
If you have a bad back, it’s best to have a cart bag you drive with on a car or you put one on a push cart and push your bag around easily. Carry and stand bags will place added pressure on and tire out your back.
Pull carts wreak havoc on your lower back so it's best to avoid pull carts and opt for a push cart.
Do you travel with your clubs?
Travelling with a cart bag is a major pain. The single strap is uncomfortable and the bags have not been ergonomically designed to be carried.
If you travel with your clubs, it’s best to have a carry/stand bag. You can hitch it up to a cart you rent or carry it around yourself on the golf courses you visit.
A great option is to have your cart bag for your home course and the courses nearby. Then for travelling to other cities or countries, have a second, lightweight carry bag.
Is storage space a priority for you?
A cart bag on a push cart offers you maximum storage space for everything you need on the golf course. The push carts have their own built in storage on top of the cart bags many compartments. You’ll have enough supplies to live for a week on the course.
Reviews of the Best Golf Bags
The Best Golf Stand Bag for Walking
Stand bags have come a long way. Nowadays, the best golf stand bags have stronger legs, more club dividers, more pockets, less weight and can be used on carts. A double strap to distribute the weight comfortably over your shoulders is going to add enjoyment to your game.
Top Stand Bag Alternatives
PING Hoofer Review
The PING Hoofer is my top selection for best golf bags because I like the light weight, intuitive storage options and easily adjustable strap.
PING have made Hoofers for many years and this latest model lifts the 25-year Hoofer legacy even higher.
Like with all Hoofers, this bag is built to last. It’s a very simple design, the material is rugged and the zippers are the best in the stand-bag class. The zipper pulls make opening and closing the many pockets quick and easy.
The huge number of pockets means you have place for everything in your golf bag. Pockets are placed in such intuitive ways and are easily accessible even when walking.
Everything is placed perfectly with attention to detail and the needs of the golfer in mind. You can access everything you need while walking. The insulated drink pocket also means your water isn’t going to seep onto your grips and valuables.
The simple and effective pen holder slot and golf glove Velcro pad add a touch of class to the bag. Little things like that and the rain cover that slides into the pocket that presses against your butt as you walk make the Hoofer ergonomic to the max.
Great legs and bottom that won't age
The stand mechanism is a work of art as the legs have only 2 positions: in or out. So many bags on the market have mechanisms that fail, leading to legs that hang loose instead of tight up against the bag while you carry it. Not the PING.
The legs have been designed with a small bend in them to make them stronger and sturdier than other bags on the market.
The bag is just as comfortable flat on its base as it is with the legs extended on the stand. You can put this on a cart easy-peasy. The smaller base ensures ease of use on a golf cart.
- Hoofers last FOREVER
- Best stand mechanism
- Great pocket design and config
- Top quality zippers
- Easily adjustable straps
- Pockets are numerous but could've been larger
- Velcro glove pad is a little small
Overall, the PING Hoofer’s attention to detail, storage and light weight make it one of the best golf bags on the market. You can trust that you’ll be walking the fairways with this for countless years to come.
The Best Lightweight Golf Bag
For a lot of golfers, the weight of a bag is a deal maker or breaker. While the Callaway Hyper Lite Zero is an astonishing 2.5 lbs, the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite offers more overall value in terms of storage, colour options and style.
Top Lightweight Bag Alternatives
TaylorMade FlexTech Lite Review
What makes Taylormades Flextech bag range so good is the similarity to PINGS new designs. Like the PING Anser putter has been replicated millions of time since its patent expired, it seems the design of PINGs bags is so good, people want in on them too!
The stand is legit. It’s sturdy and works well keeping the legs extended fully or contracted fully, no loose hanging legs while carrying. Like with the PINGs, the bag is at home in legs spread position as well as flat on the base for cart hookup and storage.
Comfort and Ergonomic Design
Carrying the bag is very comfortable on the back and butt, while the straps are very comfortable, holding the bag in a very pleasant position across your back side. TaylorMade used high quality fabrics in creating this bag and probably rates as the best they’re released.
The pocket configuration is intuitive and accessible while walking. You won’t need to always put the bag down to reach your valuables or your drink. The zipper pulls are large rings which are very easy to get your fingers into and yank open the zippers.
Eight nicely sized pockets mean you can store a ton of stuff. The interior mesh pockets in the main pocket help to divide up the small and big stuff so there’s no need to rummage. Another cool feature on the inside of the bag is a zip that gives you access to the club compartment to retrieve things you’ve dropped down the top of the bag – keys, bottle, wallets, your kids etc. An insulated drink pocket is included as well.
Edgier colors and design
Where the TaylorMade does have an advantage over the PING bags is the styling. The colours and design of the bags are just a little edgier and less workman-like.
The Best Golf Bag for Push Carts
There is a lot of confusion out there about cart bags for push carts. That is understandable because you get push carts and you get riding carts. The bags for each are quite similar but the design elements are different and having the wrong bag for your push cart can be a real pain in the ass.
Here's the good stuff:
Top Push Cart Bag Alternatives
The 15 dividers are full length from the top of the bag to the bottom. No more taking one club out and three more coming with it. There is no tangling of club grips in the bottom of this bag.
Organizing your clubs with the 15 dividers is simple and leaves a very accessible layout to get any club you need.
Tons of space and storage
14 pockets are placed conveniently so they are all easily accessible while on the push cart. Your valuables can be put in a fleece lined pocket while the ball pocket is very roomy indeed. Despite having so much storage space, the bag is very light at around 6.9 lbs.
The insulated drink pocket can hold a couple of beers and is lined with plastic to stop leakage into your bag. A drain hole in the pocket lets the water out so condensation doesn’t build up.
The bag fits well on push carts and won’t interfere with the use of your console. Accessing your shorter clubs is easy and they won’t bash into your cart. You won’t need to rearrange your clubs to find your Houdini wedges.
If you do decide to ride, the bag has an area to slip the cart strap through.
- Classic simple colors
- 8 way divider
- 6 pockets with valuables pouch
- Only 4.5 lbs
- Ergonomic straps and carrying design
Top Cheap Stand Bag Alternatives
- Easy-on-easy-off handles
- 14 way full length dividers
- 14 zippered pockets
- Use on riding or push carts
Top Cheap Cart Bag Alternatives
The Best Golf Bag Rain Covers
Rain cover protection for any bag with access to pockets
This Rain Tek waterproof golf club rain cover attaches to any brand of bag. It's secured onto the cart with Velcro straps.
If it looks like you can't access any of your pockets, Rain Tek have included two side access zips and one lower access. There's even a rainproof pocket for your scorecard.
Simply the best golf bag rain cover on the market.
Versatile for riding, walking or pushing - quick fix
The Sun Mountain Dry Hood drip system and the straps attach to the bag in seconds and won't being moving anywhere. They've used durable and waterproof Nylon that is rip-resistant.
It looks big and ungainly but it stores nicely in your bag inside its own storage bag but doesn't affect access to your clubs at all. A total breeze to use.