Buying a new golf bag seems like it should be an easy task, but it requires some planning. There are numerous things to consider: Do you need a cart bag? A carry bag with retractable legs? How much extra storage space do you want? Will you carry it during rounds, ride in a cart, or a little of both?
Golf bags fall into four main groups: Super Lightweight, Lightweight, Hybrid and Cart bags. The first three categories consist of stand bags with retractable legs and dual-strap designs and are for players who like to walk and carry their bag during play. The larger cart bags are meant for golfers who always ride in motorized carts or use push carts (whether electric or manual). Super Lightweight bags (up to 3 lbs.) are ideally suited for walkers but have the least storage space. Lightweight bags (3 to 6 lbs.) offer a bit more room and are an excellent choice for walkers as well. And hybrid bags (4 to 7 lbs.) are a terrific option for players who prefer a full-size stand bag with added storage capacity. (Stand bags can be used on carts, too.)
In addition to storage space and weight, the difference between bag types is visible in the design of the bag’s top. Some bags have 14 individual club dividers, one for each club in your set. Others have fewer dividers, most commonly four (referred to as a 4-way top) to six. In most of these bags these bags, soft-sided full-length dividers inside the bag prevent grips and shafts from tangling.
The dozen bags on our list cover the full range of bag types. They’re all made from water-resistant, durable materials and come in a vast range of color options. Rain hoods are standard, and, in some cases, the ball pocket can be custom embroidered.
Sun Mountain has been making top-shelf, innovative carry bags for decades, and the 2.5+ Stand Bag continues this legacy. While some lightweight bags can seem flimsy, this one has a sturdy feel, in part because of the carbon fiber legs. The foam-filled dual strap prevents shoulder fatigue while walking 18 hoes, and the top of the bag is nine inches in diameter, which is bigger than many lightweight carry bags. A 4-way top allows players to organize the clubs however they see fit, and the full-length internal dividers prevent shafts and grips from getting tangled in one another. The molded plastic handle on the top is easy to latch onto when on the go. This 2.9-pound bag comes with six pockets, including a full-length compartment for raingear, sweaters and more.
Some lightweight bags aren’t durable enough to withstand the rigors of day-to-day usage. No such worry with the 3-lb. Hyper Lite Zero. The strong nylon material, hard plastic top and carbon fiber legs stand up to various weather conditions. The padded double strap combines with a hip pad to enhance the carrying (and walking) experience, and the 8-inch top has four large slots to organize clubs. A molded handle can be used to hoist the bag in and out of the car and off the ground whenever needed. With seven pockets, the Hyper Lite Zero offers plenty of storage options without weighing you down. Look for the valuables pocket with waterproof zipper, insulated drink pocket and cell phone holder.
This one’s a walker’s delight. Made from a durable (70D) fabric, the Air is Maxfli’s lightest stand bag at 2.5 pounds. The truth is, it’s about as light stand bag as you’ll find anywhere. A foam-padded double strap rests comfortably on the player’s shoulders, while the flexible base makes it a breeze to set down on the ground and conform to any slope without tipping over. With four pockets, there’s adequate storage for balls and a sweater or windbreaker. There’s also a velour-lined pocket for valuables, as well as beverage holder. An integrated handle molded to the 4-way top is easy to grab onto when lifting the bag or putting it down.
Made from a durable, water-resistant polyester, the Honors+ is loaded with 11 pockets: A large, full-length one for clothes and gloves; a ball pocket; an insulated pocket to keep beverages cool; plus an interior one for your wallet, watch and other valuables. A foam-padded double strap will appeal to walkers, and a molded handle on top and extra strap along the ball pocket adds convenience when maneuvering the bag from the car, the golf cart and so on. Weighing in at 6.2 lbs., the bag has a five-way top, plus a cool feature commonly only found in cart bags—a channel for the cart strap to pass through, so it won’t interfere when you’re digging into the pockets.
The Hoofer line has been a top seller for many years. At 5 lbs., the upgraded Hoofer Lite is sturdy and functional while weighing as little as possible. The Hoofer’s backpack-style double strap can convert to a single strap when necessary, and just above and below the top are a molded handle and strap, which add to its utility. There are seven pockets, including a full-length one for apparel. A zippered pouch (for your rangefinder) is built into the versatile apparel pocket, and the main pocket also has a small, stretchy (unzippered) internal compartment. Walkers will appreciate the insulated pocket for water bottles. There’s also a built-in channel for the cart strap, so it doesn’t get in the way of the pockets. The Hoofer Lite has a four-way top with three full-length dividers to keep clubs from banging into one another.
At 3.8 lbs., the Players 4 is one of the lighter stand bags on the market. The aluminum legs and hinged base make for a reliable, well-conceived system. When you put down the bag, the front part of the base bends forward and sits flush to the ground. A newly designed double strap is more comfortable and less taxing on the shoulders and body than previous generations, and a large, padded area along the inside cushions the bag against the lower back. Seven pockets provide ample storage space for apparel (one large and one medium pocket), valuables, water bottle and more. There’s also a magnetic pocket for accessories (e.g., scorecard, GPS device, etc.). The four-way top cuff has full-length dividers so clubs won’t tangle inside the bag. A handle molded to the top plus a hand strap below it provides options when you want to grab and go.
This rugged 6.5-pound bag is both roomy and nimble enough to carry for 18 holes (or 36 if that’s more your speed). The dual strap disperses weight across the shoulders and back while the hinged base prevents the bag from tipping over when setting it down on uneven ground. There are 14 individual club slots (the middle four have full-length dividers) and 11 pockets, including large and medium-sized compartments for apparel, a magnetic one for the rangefinder, an insulated drink pocket, a water bottle holder and a ball pocket that can be personalized with your name. A built-in passageway enables the cart strap to be out of the way when the player reaches for the pockets. Made of durable (300D) polyester.
Not all stand bags are stable when placing them down on an uneven surface. With the FlexTech Crossover, the bottom of the bag hinges so the front stays in contact with the turf, regardless of the terrain. Two design elements make this 4.5-lb. bag extra comfortable to tote around the course: While you walk, the self-adjusting strap system slides back and forth, and a large pad toward the top of the bag hugs the lower back. The top has 14 openings (each club has its own slot) and four full-length dividers to prevent grips from tangling. Plus, a molded handle at the top makes lifting the bag a snap. Ten pockets include a full-length one for apparel, a water-resistant pocket for valuables, and a beverage pouch. The cart strap can be slipped through the bag so the strap won’t interfere with the pockets.
The Fairway 14 offers the size and storage capabilities of a cart bag with the maneuverability of a stand bag. Made with a tear-resistant woven fabric, this 5.4-lb. bag has a slot for each of your 14 clubs. The Fairway 14 employs some features found in the company’s lighter, smaller Hyper Lite Zero Double Strap bag, including the lined drink pouch, cell phone holder and valuables pocket with waterproof zipper. As an upgrade, the Fairway 14 has nine pockets (compared to seven in the Hyper Lite Zero Double Strap), including both large and small apparel pockets. The padded double strap combines with a hip pad that abuts the lower back. A molded handle proves quite handy when picking up the bag.
With a whopping 13 pockets, the C-130 has vast amounts of space to store your stuff. There are two large pockets for apparel (one on either side), a velour-lined pocket for your rangefinder, and a ventilated one for perishables or damp items. Plus, the 10.5-inch top is wider than most. More impressive, there are 14 individual club slots, each one with its own full-length divider, which is rare in bag design. Expect no issues getting clubs in and out of the bag or having them knock against one another when you ride. Three integrated plastic handles around the top make it a breeze to grab onto when moving from car to cart. This 7-lb. bag has two adjustable velcro straps to fasten the bag to a cart, which gets the cart strap out of the way when accessing the forward-facing pockets.
Made from durable heavyweight fabric, the 6-lb. Org 14 has redesigned hook-and-loop straps so the bag won’t twist or rotate while on the cart (the straps are also out of the way when you reach into the pockets). Beyond that, the Org 14 has 14 slots for clubs and full-length dividers in the five middle slots. The setup makes it a snap to take clubs out, be it on a motorized cart or pushcart, and there’s storage aplenty with 10 pockets facing the front of the bag. You’ll find three apparel pockets (two large and one medium), a rangefinder holder, a velour pocket for valuables, and a lined drink pocket. There’s even a pouch for an e-trolley battery pack if you should need it. Two molded handles on the top cuff add to its ease of use.
This stylish bag has impressive storage capabilities at a more reasonable weight (5.7-pounds) than a typical cart bag. There are 11 roomy pockets for extra apparel, golf balls, cold beverages and other things, and the molded handles at the top of the bag make lifting it stress-free. The straps on most carts or push carts can get in the way of pocket access, but the Cart 14 has a pass-through tunnel on the front of the bag so the cart strap isn’t a hindrance. The top cuff has 14 openings, one for each club, so you always know your trusty putter’s location. The four full-length dividers should prevent shafts and grips from bunching in the bag so it’s easier to pull them out.