Best Golf Bags of 2018 | The Ultimate Guide

Tired of jamming everything into the tiny pockets of your golf bag? Travelling 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 travelling abroad with my clubs. No more bag flying off the golf cart as you accelerate 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 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.

Warning! This is a long guide. Check out the navigation below. I give you five of the best bag in each category to give you lots of options depending on your preferences for looks and price.

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. 


Mini-guide to the Best Golf Bags


What types of bags are there?

Stand Bags

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.

A typical stand bag

Pros
  • Lightweight for travel
  • New designs cart friendly
  • You look less "old"
  • Won't fall over in the wind
Cons
  • Taxing on shoulder and back
  • Pressure on spine and shoulders
  • Clubs banging when walking

Cart Bags

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.

Pros
  • Storage for everything - even a 6 pack
  • No club chatter when walking
  • Fits all push carts and buggies
  • On push cart most comfortable way to walk
  • More protective of clubs when travelling
Cons
  • Extra cost of push cart
  • Single-shoulder strap sucks for travelling

Staff Bags

These are used by the pros. We don’t recommend these as they’re quite inconvenient and cumbersome. They’re used for advertising on TV more than actual utility. There is little value to an amateur golfer.


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

  • OGIO
  • Datrek
  • Titleist
  • Bag Boy
  • PING
  • Taylormade
  • Callaway
  • 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 for 2018


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.

The Best Stand Bag: PING Hoofer

Top Stand Bag Alternatives

Price

$$

$$

$

$$

$$$

Weight

5 lbs

4.5 lbs

4.2 lbs

5.2 lbs

4.9 lbs

Dividers

5

4

6

7

5

Pockets

12

6

5

7

11

Colors

8

5+

3

6+

7+

PING Hoofer Review

The PING Hoofer is our top selection for best golf bags because we like the light weight, intuitive storage options and easily adjustable strap.

A class of it's own

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.

Excellent pockets and full length dividers. Even a cart strap for riding

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.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5lbs
  • 5 way top divider
  • 12 pockets
  • Cart strap channel so won't fall off the cart
  • Sensor Cool Technology in straps keep moisture away
  • Many color designs
Pros
  • Hoofers last FOREVER
  • Best stand mechanism 
  • Great pocket design and config
  • Top quality zippers
  • Easily adjustable straps
Cons
  • 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 (4.3 lbs) offers more overall value in terms of storage, colour options and style.

Best Lightweight Bag: TaylorMade FlexTech Lite

Top Lightweight Bag Alternatives

Price

$$

$$$

$

$$

$$$

Weight

4.3 lbs

2.5 lbs

3.9 lbs

3.5 lbs

3.9 lbs

Dividers

6

4

5

4

3

Pockets

5

4

6

7

4

Colors

6+

3+

6

6+

6

TaylorMade FlexTech Lite Review

What makes Taylormades Flextech bag range so good is the similarity to PING’s latest 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!

It's like a PING Hoofer and 4 Series had a baby

It’s as if a Hoofer and a 4 Series PING bag had a baby and made this bad boy.

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.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs
  • 4 way full-length dividers
  • 8 pockets
  • Cart strap channel so won't fall off the cart
  • Dual density strap for added comfort
  • Molded hip pad for carrying comfort
  • Brilliant simplistic color schemes
Pros
  • Stylish
  • Fantastic stand construction
  • Intuitive pockets
  • Access to club compartment
  • Lightweight with comfy straps
Cons
  • A rangefinder pocket would be cool

Something worth pointing out is that TaylorMade has a promotion going where you can request a free personalized ball pocket panel for any newly purchased FlexTech bag. You just go to their website, enter which bag you ordered, and they send you a new panel 3 or 4 weeks later. Stick it on your bag and you’re a Tour Pro!


The Best Golf Bag for Push Carts

Best Cart Bag: Ping Traverse

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.

The top part of riding cart bags can get in the way of using your push cart console. Putter wells often end up on the underside of the bag when put on a push cart. To put your mind at ease, we’ve selected the best options made specifically for push carts.

Top Push Cart Bag Alternatives

Price

$$

$$

$$$

$$

Weight

 lbs

5.5 lbs

6 lbs

7 lbs

Dividers

5

14

14

15

Pockets

12

7

10

11

Colors

8

8

8

6

Putter Well

YES

YES

YES

YES

Ping Traverse Review

The Traverse has been designed for the push cart user and that can be seen in almost every aspect of the bag.

The PING series of bags is always a winner. Clicgear's B3 is a great option if you use a Clicgear cart as they're designed for them. And while the PING Pioneer is also an amazing bag and the Sun Mountain Sync ranks right up there, the Traverse wins it as a well-sized bag with tons of storage and intuitive 14 club full length dividers.

The 14 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 14 dividers is simple and leaves a very accessible layout to get any club you need.

Tons of space and storage

10 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 5.5 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.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 8 pockets (7 zippers, 3 slip pockets)
  • Anti-flex walls for strength
  • Insulated drinks pocket with drain hole
  • Durable polypropylene top divider
Pros
  • Perfect design for push cart for accessibility
  • Synced functionality and design
  • Putter well accommodates thick grips
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Plastic zippers
  • Colors are not exciting

The Best Golf Cart Bag for Riding

Best Cart Riding Bag: Sun Mountain C130

Sun Mountain has established itself as a cart bag leader. Anywhere you find a Sun Mountain golf bag, you’ll find a very satisfied boy (or girl). Very close runners-up Callaway Org 14 and PING DLX provide full value.

Sun Mountain's name is associated with high quality golf bags since their sole focus is apparel - they don’t produce clubs. So well-known in fact, they product a lot of Titleist’s golf bags.

The C130 is a seriously popular golf bag with players who ride carts and it’s easy to see why. So popular in fact, stock runs short regularly.

Top Cart Riding Bag Alternatives

Callaway Org 14

Datrek Lite Rider

Price

$$

$$

$$

$$$

$$

Weight

5.5 lbs

7 lbs

5.9 lbs

6 lbs

4.7 lbs

Dividers

14

15

15

14

15

Pockets

7

11

9

10

7

Colors

10+

6

5

8

8+

All 10 pockets on the bag are forward facing and 100% accessible while on a cart. They’ve designed the bag to be ultra-firm at the point where it’s strapped to the golf cart - the bag doesn’t cave in and pinch your clubs as you pull them out.

Putters with thick grips are more than welcome in the very accommodating putter-well. If you’ve got the yips and want to carry 2 putters in there you can!

The top of the C-130 bag is angled so that the smaller clubs can be organised near the front and the woods around the bag. You can see the full set when looking at the bag. The top features three solid handles to very easily pick the bag up with.

Survive a week stranded on the golf course

The cooler pocket holds between 4 and 6 beers to keep your well lubricated the whole way round the course. You can pack a week’s worth of clothes into the two full length clothes pockets. The multiple “valuables” pockets will host your keys, wallet, watch, phone and rangefinder in their own little compartments. Real attention to detail.

The bag that can't be moved

Everyone's had their golf bag fly off the back of a golf cart when the strap comes undone. Not with the C-130. There are Smart Straps you hook into the basket of the cart so it will NEVER fall off the cart.​ It's just the best golf bag for carts.

Is there anything to dislike about the Sun Mountain C130? Perhaps the fact it’s not great for push carts. Other than that, this is easily the best golf cart bag on the market for use in a golf car.

Vital Statistics
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 10 pockets
  • 3 integrated top handles for maneuvering 
  • Velcro glove holder
  • Velcro Smart Straps keep bag from falling off cart
  • Angled top
  • Insulated drinks pocket
Pros
  • Easy access to clubs
  • Lots of accessible pockets
  • Will not fall off the golf cart - period
  • Large putter well
  • Store a 6 pack in the bag!
Cons
  • Not that great for a push cart

The Best Golf Bag on the Cheap - One & Done

The Best Cheap Stand Bag 

Taylormade TM 5.0

Vital Statistics
  • Classic simple colors
  • 5 way divider
  • 6 pockets with valuables pouch
  • Only 3.9 lbs
  • Ergonomic straps and carrying design
Top Cheap Stand Bag Alternatives

Best Cheap Cart Bag

Hot-Z Golf 4.5 Cart Bag

Vital Statistics
  • Easy-on-easy-off handles like the Sun Mountain C-130
  • 14 way  full length dividers
  • 8 zippered pockets
  • 5.5 lbs
  • Use on riding or push carts
Top Cheap Cart Bag Alternatives

The Best Waterproof Golf Bag

Best Waterproof Bag: Titleist 4UP StaDry

This is the only Titleist bag featured in our list of best bags but it deserves it’s spot though.

Only 3 – 4 lbs of weight on this baby. Paired with the waterproof outer shell and zippers, you can walk in the rain for days without shorting out your phone or rangefinder.

The 4UP StaDry comes in some very flash colors. Not only functional but also very attractive. The double strap is comfortable but can result in some tangles because they’ve threaded the straps through a square pad that sits on your back as you walk.

Adjusting the straps is easy and once you do, there is a nice cushion on the bag that sits in the small of your back to lend more support. If you do like to carry the bag over one shoulder, Titleist actually includes one in the package for you.

More little details that make this bag the outstanding choice for best lightweight and waterproof golf bag are the zips. They’re all seam-sealed to produce a seamless flush look that ensures our belongings are safe.

The materials used to create this bag are like something from a sci-fi movie. Special high tech fabric Titleist used is so thin and so light, yet keeps water totally out of your bag. The rain hood is easy to attach and provides the same waterproof features as the rest of the bag. Zips are sealed the same way the pockets on the bag are.

The 3 way dividers are full length and the extra room inside the compartments prevent tangling of clubs as much as is possible.

One more nice touch is the inclusion of 2 handles on the top of the bag around the rim. How often do you move your stand bag just a few yards on the tee or around greens by gripping the divider area? These hands make it super simple and comfortable. The Titleist StaDry is the best golf bag for when it's raining.

Vital Statistics
  • Easy maneuver handles on top
  • 3 way  full length dividers
  • Waterproof sealed zip seams
  • 3.9 lbs
  • Double and single strap options
Pros
  • Super lightweight
  • Large divider compartments
  • Top handles for maneuverability 
  • High tech materials
  • Leak-free zips
  • Excellent valuables protection pocket
Cons
  • Premium prices
  • Double strap gets tangled
  • Only 3-way divider for clubs

Titleist 4UP
StaDry

Price

$$$

$$$

Weight

3.9 lbs

4 lbs

Dividers

3

3

Pockets

4

4

Colors

6+

4


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 Rain Wedge rip 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 and with the locking zipper, it remains secure even in strong wind.

​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. 

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