As you begin to venture out onto the golf course, most new golfers are excited about playing their first nine never giving a second thought to their golf bag. After all, the star of the show are the golf clubs and outfits. But… that golf bag? Oftentimes, that is just an afterthought… until you get some experience playing and navigating the golf course… then you notice what other golfers are using and especially their bags. As you begin to think about your golf equipment as you progress, there are so many golf bag options available to you and this primer will give you a snapshot of the great options.
Stand Bag v Cart Bag
When you purchase a complete set, it will include a nice matching bag to carry your clubs. Most beginner golfers are fairly inexperienced to the fact there are two bag style options available when they choose a starter set… which will come with either a stand bag or a cart bag. There are some differences to consider. However, if you purchase a complete boxed set, you might not always have the option of choosing which bag you will get. Having a “cart bag” versus a “stand bag” will be something you will develop a preference for as you become more familiar with golf.
The stand bag comes with two little pop-out legs so you can “stand” the bag at an angle when you need to whether on pavement or on the course. As you carry and walk the golf course, the legs will pop out and stand the bag upright while taking a shot instead of laying it down on the grass. Definitely much more convenient to stand the bag and take a shot. Typically, this bag is lighter than the cart bag, since it is designed to be carried onto the golf course and features a “backpack style harness”. The bag is smaller, lighter and more compact overall. Many senior ladies prefer this bag simply because it is a lighter bag and easier to stand even though they never carry their own bag while golfing. The backpack style harness is nice for the younger people. The strap harness is not detachable and some golfers find the harness gets in the way.
The stand bags easily fits onto a push cart and because it is an lighter bag overall, it is a little easier to push/pull the cart all over the golf course. And the legs won’t be a problem when you decide to load the stand bag onto a golf cart since the legs fold flat against the bag and out of the way.
Cart bags are a little larger, heavier and features a wider base. This bag can stand upright without assistance on pavement as long as it is a flat surface. However, they cannot stand on their own on a golf course and typically do not include a backpack style strap. Cart bags have a wider base and they easily stand upright in parking lot as long as you’re not on a hill, they will tip over. These bags are larger and heavier than a stand bag and overall is designed to carry more stuff because they usually have more storage pockets for carrying everything you need for a round of golf such as jackets, head covers, balls, tees, snacks, and some have an insulated pocket to keep your drink cold. These bags are also designed with the pockets facing out when loaded onto a golf cart for easy accessibility to the pockets.
Straps and Carrying Handles
Both bag options do have nice carrying handles to lift the bag in/out of cars and carts. You can use the handle to carry the bag for short distances such as from your car to the clubhouse and vice versa. Stand bags do have a backpack style harness attached to the bag. Cart bags do not feature a backpack style strap. To be quite honest, typically it’s the younger golfers who need the backpack style strap because most young leagues require them to walk and carry their own bags for the golf round. For us older gals, having a backpack style harness will most likely go unused. Other than the younger kids on the golf course who are sometimes required to carry their own clubs, most older people will not use the backpack style strap.
Number of club dividers
The dividers in the bag are designed to keep your clubs separated and minimize the clanking when you ride in the golf cart. The less expensive golf club sets will have fewer dividers and not have the 14-way divider that higher-end golf bags have. Don’t let the dividers be a deal breaker when you find a nice set of clubs that fits within your budget. Spend your money on lessons instead. When you upgrade to a higher end set of clubs your bag will come with more dividers.
Many starter sets include anywhere from 8 – 12 golf clubs making the golf bag lighter. The fewer number of clubs included in the set will mean the set weighs much less. Both cart and stand bags in starter sets are made of a lighter nylon-type material. At some point if you like the look of real leather, it is much more expensive and much heavier to lug around. When shopping around, lift the set of clubs and walk around the store to determine which weight is right for you. The more you golf, the more you will get used to lifting a bag full of clubs.
Cart bags typically are a larger bag which means they will have more pockets, storage spaces and more places to put things. Think of your bag as a giant handbag. During your round you will want a place to stuff all your headcovers, your rain hood, jacket, lip gloss, range finder, balls, tees, water and more. The smaller, lighter stand bag will not feature as many pockets to stuff your gear. Check the zippers on the pockets and make sure they are nice and sturdy.
Not all golf sets come with a detachable rain hood that fits over the clubs. But this is definitely a handy accessory. If your set doesn’t come with one, you can always buy one for your set of clubs which is highly recommended. I use the rain hood when storing my clubs in the garage just to minimize dust collection over the winter. I usually store my rain hood in a pocket and snap it on when I see wet weather imminent on the golf course. Make sure the head cover has a nice zipper so you can open and close easily and still protect your clubs while playing in the rain.
When you purchase your set, the bag and clubs feature a matching motif which is nice. That is the beauty of purchasing a complete set. There are so many color options available and most gals are attracted to a certain style/color to match their personality. Have fun with your new style… and choose what you like!
Wheeled Bags (Datrek 2-wheel base system)
I have noticed some of my lady golfer friends purchasing a new bag with integrated wheels, just like a rolling suitcase. Genius. Now it wouldn’t be practical to drag the bag around on the golf course. But instead of lifting and carrying your golf bag full of clubs from your car to the club house, you can roll the bag from your car to the club house on the paved area. The bag does have trouble going through tall grass. It’s a great option to use when walking onto the driving range.
These are small bags to carry just a few clubs onto an executive golf course for a quick round when you don’t need your full complement of clubs or just to hit a few balls at the driving range. There are so many options but typically, you carry no more than 3-4 clubs, a couple of golf balls and tees using a shoulder strap. Perfect when you don’t want to haul your full bag for a quick round or at the driving range.