The Best Golf Bags for Every Kind of Player
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The Best Golf Bags for Every Kind of Player

Nov 01, 2023

Golf is an equipment-heavy sport: Sure, you can play a par-3 course with nothing more than a couple clubs and a ball, but to get out and play regularly, you’ll need the appropriate gear, including a full set of clubs, golf balls, and tees (and a comfy pair of golf shoes). To keep everything organized, you’ll also need somewhere to house it all: That’s where a golf bag is essential.

Golf bags come in many shapes and sizes. At minimum, they include space for your clubs and pockets for golf balls, tees, and gloves. Some models also have dedicated storage for beverages, a spot for a rain cover or jacket, and even a place to stash your golf shoes, too.

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Jones Sports Co. marries clean aesthetics with helpful features in the Trouper R. The simple lines and beautiful colorways make this bag a real head-turner, but the tech makes it the best golf bag. This option has a full-length pocket for jackets and rain covers, a deep ball pocket on the side, multiple valuables pockets with soft linings to prevent scratches, and an insulated cooler pocket. My favorite feature of all is the club divider. Many stand bags have four or five club divider slots (some have 14), but the Trouper R has five full-length divider slots with one extra top slot for your putter. Many golfers keep their putter at the top of the bag (it’s the one club used on every hole), and the Trouper R’s divider system prevents it from banging against and potentially damaging the delicate graphite shafts on your other clubs.


First, consider the type of golf you play and how frequently you do it. Do you need to store a lot of items in your golf bag? Look for an option with plenty of pockets. Do you usually walk the course when golfing? Consider a lightweight carry bag. (More on that below.)

Golf equipment can be expensive, but you can get a golf bag for less than $100 or upwards of $400. Additionally, when taken care of (avoid storing in the garage, for example), well-made golf bags last a long time—I owned my first bag for 12 years before upgrading. Finally, a golf bag is an opportunity to express your style, and modern options come in a variety of colors and materials.

Golf bags are divided into three categories: carry bags, stand bags, and cart bags.

Carry bags, sometimes referred to as pencil bags or Sunday bags, are the most lightweight type of golf bag. A carry bag will hold a few clubs, and it’s an ideal choice for walking par 3’s or short courses. If you need to tote a full set of clubs, however, you’ll need a bigger golf bag.

Stand bags are another good option for walkers. These golf bags are easy to carry, and they’re the most versatile type of bag. They feature kickstand legs that swing out to hold your bag upright on the ground, making it easier to access your clubs and gear. Many stand bags can hold a full set of 14 clubs, and their moderate size and weight means they can be carried or used with pull carts (you can also haul them on the back of a golf cart).

Cart bags are the most spacious type of golf bag, and they store the most gear. The downside: They’re much heavier than carry or stand bags. These bags are designed to be carried on the back of a golf cart, though you can also lug one around on a pull cart if necessary.

Nathan Lemin

Struggling to choose between these categories? When in doubt, opt for a mid-sized stand bag: These work well for the vast majority of golfers due to their versatility. A stand bag will be light enough to carry, but it still offers plenty of space for all of your clubs and accessories. Many models are equipped with backpack-style straps for easier carrying, and you can haul them on the back of a golf cart without issue. Some stand bags even have luxe extras like an insulated pocket to keep snacks or beverages cold.

Below, I’ve highlighted my favorite golf bags for every type of golfer, including picks from respected brands like Callaway, Sun Mountain, and more. The majority of my selections fall in the stand golf bag category, as I believe these bags suit most golfers best, but I’ve included models across all three types.

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Some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world are located in rainy climates (Scotland, the birthplace of golf, is one such locale). That’s why golf gear is often water-resistant or waterproof, and the Titleist Players 4 StaDry is an exceptional golf bag for wet conditions. Weighing in at under four pounds, this bag features padded backpack straps, so it’s super comfortable to carry, and it provides just enough club and accessory storage for a full round of golf. It’s made from a waterproof fabric, all of the zippers are sturdy and waterproofed, and the rain cover is robust, so your gear will stay dry when showers move in. It also includes some thoughtful extras. One highlight: Titleist added a layer of insulation in the water bottle slot to keep a beverage cold (or hot).


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This bag is a close second for my favorite golf bag of 2023. Sunday Golf has developed a reputation for designing lightweight pencil carry bags, which are great for par-3 courses or taking a handful of clubs to the driving range. The Ryder 23 is Sunday’s first model that can hold a full set of clubs, and the designers thought of everything. This golf bag has perhaps my favorite pocket layout in this list: There’s a “Frosty pocket” (essentially a mini cooler with a four-can capacity), a water bottle holder, exterior quick-access pockets (great for tees and ball markers), large and useful gear pockets, a classic front-facing ball pocket, and a velour-lined valuables pocket. In addition, the carry straps are super comfortable and easy to adjust, and the bag looks great. Considering that most competitors’ bags cost $20 to $70 more, the Ryder 23 is a superb value buy.


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Wilson is my favorite sneaky-good golf brand. The company makes excellent gear, but because it’s less aggressive with marketing and its products are cheaper than competitors’ models, the brand is often overlooked. The Wilson QS stand bag is perfect for someone who’s just getting started with golf. For $80, you get a lightweight bag (it weighs around three pounds) with modern kickstand technology, four club dividers, and a few pockets for your balls, gear, water, and valuables. You won’t get premium extras like a cooler pocket, but the QS covers all the essentials for a third of the cost of many competing models.


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On the other end of the price spectrum is Vessel, a brand that has a strong reputation for top-quality golf bags. While this bag has a hefty price tag, you get what you pay for. The Player IV Stand features a synthetic leather exterior (like what you might find on a PGA Tour player’s bag), which is super durable and water-resistant. And it’s made with lots of premium features. The strap system self-adjusts to balance the bag’s weight evenly across your shoulders, and there are pockets for all kinds of gear and accessories (highlights include two insulated bottle sleeves, a velour-lined rangefinder pocket, and a lockable garment pocket). You can get the Player IV with a six-slot divider or a 14-slot divider. I’d go with the 14—it only adds a bit of weight (less than half a pound) and it makes this bag capable of hauling everything you’d ever need for a game of golf.


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Golf has its own unique style, and the Callaway Fairway C bag is a great option if aesthetic expression is one of your top priorities. This bag is available in over 20 different colors, and Callaway also allows you to add custom embroidery to its exterior. Looks aside, the Fairway C is a great all-around bag with features to match the top options on the market. It’s built with seven pockets, including an insulated water bottle pocket, and it has a four-slot, full-length divider system for keeping your clubs organized. It weighs just four pounds, and the wide padded straps and a back pad on the bag make it comfortable to carry, too.


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While every golf brand markets their strap systems as being comfortable, none have suited me as well as the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite. Its low weight (3.9 pounds) and excellent backpack straps combine with a full pad that rests on your back to make this bag super comfy to carry, even for a full 18 holes. This option is on the slimmer side for stand bags—if you want a larger version, opt for the stand FlexTech. But despite its low weight and slim profile, the FlexTech Lite has plenty of storage (including a zippered valuables pocket), and it should be a versatile option for most golfers.


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This list of the best golf bags wouldn’t be complete without at least one true pencil bag. With their minimalist, streamlined designs, these bags evoke a simpler version of the game, and they’re very easy to carry. Sunday Golf has focused on this niche and built a following with its lightwight and slim Loma golf bag. It weighs just two pounds, but the Loma can fit up to six clubs—ideal for a driving range session or a shorter round of golf. While many pencil bags skimp on features, the Loma has several useful pockets (including one insulated storage area), sturdy, well-built stand legs, and convenient tee holders. It’ll make walking a round of golf easy and enjoyable. The Loma also makes a great choice for juniors, beginners, and traveling, too.


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The Sun Mountain C-130 is an excellent all-around cart bag. At about seven pounds, it's relatively light for a full-size golf bag, and it will save you some strain during the trip from your trunk to the golf cart. It also has a somewhat slim profile, but it still offers generous storage and premium features. The C-130 has a cooler pocket, a 14-slot divider for your clubs (including a putter compartment), and a rain cover. The design is also optimized for use with a golf cart: The cart strap pass-thru allows you to secure the bag to the cart without blocking the bag’s pockets. Plus, it’s available in several unique colorways.


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The Woodē Silencer, the latest cart bag from OGIO, is a unique solution to two problems golfers often encounter: club heads clanking together and club shafts getting damaged when the bag is in motion. While I haven’t tested it, I had a pro at the PGA Tour Superstore walk me through the bag’s features, and the tech looks intriguing. The club dividers have grippy rubber inserts to hold each club in the center of each slot (some car cup holders have a similar design). These inserts prevent your golf clubs from shifting and banging into each other when moving around the course—eliminating noise and protecting clubs with delicate graphite shafts. The dividers also help clubs stay in place should your bag tip over. Beyond the dividers, the Woodē offers cavernous storage across 10 pockets, including a cooler pocket and multiple garment storage areas. It also comes with a built-in umbrella sleeve, and a foam-lined shoulder strap makes it more comfortable to carry to and from the golf cart.


Carry bagsStand bagsCart bags