Best Golf Bags of 2021 | The Ultimate Guide – Golf Sidekick

Best Golf Bags of 2021 | The Ultimate Guide

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.

It happened to me, 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 needed to eliminate only after I got 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 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 best golf bag of all time.

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, it's the most comfortable way to walk
  • More protective of clubs when travelling
Cons
  • Extra cost of push cart
  • Single-shoulder strap sucks for travelling
  • If there is no cart to push or drive, you're screwed

Staff Bags

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

  • 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


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

PING Hoofer

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

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.

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

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.

Best Lightweight Bag: TaylorMade FlexTech Lite

Top Lightweight Bag Alternatives

TaylorMade FlexTech

The best thing and what makes this 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.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 4.5 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

The Best Golf Bag for Push Carts

Best Cart Bag: SUN MOUNTAIN Teton

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 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

7 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 lbs.

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 works well too.

Vital Statistics
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • 14 way full-length dividers
  • 7 pockets 
  • Anti-flex walls for strength
  • Durable polypropylene top divider
Pros
  • Perfect design for push cart for accessibility
  • Synced functionality and design
  • Putter well accommodates thick grips
  • Lightweight
Cons


  • 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). 

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

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 

Vital Statistics
  • 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

Best Cheap Cart Bag

Vital Statistics
  • 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. 

1 comment
Justin says

What are your thoughts on using one of the push cart bags on a riding cart? I sometimes push and sometimes ride. Need a bag that works well for both.

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