The Definitive Guide to Golf Bags (2024)

As any avid golfer knows, having the right equipment can make all the difference on the course. And while clubs, balls, and accessories get plenty of attention, the humble golf bag is often overlooked – despite being one of the most essential pieces of gear a golfer owns. More than just a vessel to tote your clubs around, a well-designed golf bag keeps everything organized, protects your equipment, and in some cases, even provides added comfort during your round.

But with so many styles, materials, and features to choose from, selecting the perfect golf bag can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this definitive guide – to walk you through every aspect of these surprisingly multifaceted accessories. From understanding the nuances of weight and dimensions to knowing which pockets and add-ons are must-haves, this guide has all the intel you need to make an informed decision and invest in the ideal bag for your game.

Let’s start by addressing one of the most practical considerations: weight.

Weight: How Heavy is Too Heavy?

Weight: How Heavy is Too Heavy?

We’ve all been there – lugging around an overstuffed, clunky bag that feels more like a cross-training workout than an enjoyable round of golf. The weight of your golf bag alone (before you add a single club) can significantly impact your energy levels and overall experience.

On average, a standard golf bag weighs between 4-7 pounds when completely empty. While that may not sound like much, remember – you’ll be adding anywhere from 10-15 pounds of clubs, balls, apparel, and accessories into the mix. Suddenly, that barely-there bag begins to feel more like a heavy-haul.

For players who prefer to walk the course, having a lightweight carry bag is an absolute must. Ideally, you’ll want the entire weight (bag, clubs, and gear) to come in under 25-30 pounds for comfortable toting over 18 holes. Those who opt for pull carts or riding carts can go a bit heavier on the overall bag weight.

The good news? Many modern golf bag manufacturers have embraced lighter, more innovative materials to cut down on bulk. This allows you to score a feature-loaded bag that won’t leave you sluggish and achy after a round.

Dimensions: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Dimensions: One Size Doesn't Fit All

In addition to weight, you’ll want to consider the actual size and dimensions of your golf bag. These measurements are fairly standard across the board, but paying close attention can save you from sizing headaches down the road.

The typical golf bag measures 36 inches in length, 14 inches in width, and 12 inches in depth. That said, bags specifically designed for Cart use tend to measure slightly larger to accommodate the added storage capacity. Inversely, Sunday bags and those built explicitly for carry/walking are often a bit smaller and easier to maneuver.

One dimension you’ll really want to keep an eye on? The diameter of the opening where your club heads reside. Most golf bags range from 8-10.5 inches in diameter here, with some room for negotiation if you play with wider or bulkier clubheads. Be sure there’s at least an inch of clearance around the widest part to prevent constant friction and snagging when removing clubs. Golf bags that are too narrow in this area can prove maddeningly difficult to use and will likely lead to scratches, dings, and accelerated wear on your clubheads.

Popular Styles: The Golf Bag Lineup

Popular Styles: The Golf Bag Lineup

Now that we’ve covered the nitty-gritty details of weight and sizing, let’s have a look at some of the most ubiquitous golf bag categories and their respective use cases:

Carry Bags

As the name suggests, carry bags are designed for golfers who prefer walking the course instead of using a cart. These ultra-lightweight bags typically range from 3-6 pounds and feature dual shoulder straps, hip pads, and other ergonomic details to optimize for extended carrying comfort. Carry bags are streamlined in their design with minimal bulk but enough storage for the basic necessities like tees, balls, apparel, and accessories.

Cart Bags

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have cart bags – capacious golf bags built explicitly for strapping onto a riding or push cart. These heavy-duty haulers can weigh anywhere from 5-10+ pounds (even before adding your gear) but more than make up for the heft with ample storage compartments. Cart bags are ideal for players who like to bring all the bells and whistles to the course, from extra apparel and snacks to a full rain suit and more. Their sturdy bases also add structure to keep everything from toppling over while riding.

Sunday Bags

For those times when you want to play a quick nine holes or simply hit the range for some low-key practice, a lightweight Sunday bag is an excellent option. These compact, scaled-down versions of a full golf bag hold a handful of clubs (usually around 6-10) and have minimal exterior pockets and features. Despite their simplicity, some Sunday bags can be quite chic and fashionable, making them perfect for players who appreciate both form and function.

Beyond these main categories, you’ll also find golf bags tailored for specific needs like staff/pro bags (designed for tour players and caddies), travel bags with heavy-duty coverings, and bags made exclusively for kids and junior golfers. Do your research to determine which style and capacity aligns best with your regular playing habits.

Putting the “Bag” in Golf Bags: Popular Brands

Putting the "Bag" in Golf Bags: Popular Brands

Like most golf gear and apparel, golf bags run the gamut from basic, value-driven models to premium, top-shelf offerings from celebrated brands. Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest names in golf bags and what sets them apart:


TaylorMade bags are consistently lauded for their ingenious designs, durable materials, and plentiful pockets/storage options. The brand’s flagship line features a wide range of styles, from sleek cart bags to ultra-lightweight carry options. TaylorMade’s golf bags are also noteworthy for their ergonomic straps and stands – two key elements for comfort and ease-of-use on the course.


With a brand ethos built around superior performance and quality, it’s no surprise that Titleist bags rank among the most coveted on the market. What sets them apart? Thoughtful organizational details like velour-lined valuables pockets, secure rain hood enclosures, and enough specialized compartments to keep all your gear in its rightful place. Titleist’s commitment to intelligently designed, hardwearing golf bags is second to none.


PING golf bags live up to the brand’s reputation for creating meticulously engineered products that enhance the overall golf experience. High-density foam cushions, well-balanced suspension systems for carrying, and strap innovations that alleviate shoulder strain are just a few reasons why PING bags are a favorite among players. Their cart bag styles are especially revered for smooth, stable rides and a host of clever storage ideas.

Callaway, Ogio, Sun Mountain, and Bagboy are some other heavy-hitting bag brands that consistently garner praise from golfers at all levels.

At the end of the day, settling on a brand often comes down to prioritizing your personal needs and budget. Those willing to splurge can secure top-tier features from premium labels, while value-seekers still have plenty of well-rated, high-quality options in the $100-$200 range.

Pack It All In: Exploring Pockets and Compartments

Pack It All In: Exploring Pockets and Compartments

Ask any golfer what they look for in the ideal golf bag, and you’re bound to hear the same two words repeatedly: storage and organization. After all, what good is a bag if you can’t readily access all the gear and accessories you need during a round?

It’s for that reason pockets play such a crucial role in golf bag design. Let’s explore some of the most common compartments you’ll find:

Apparel Pockets

Large enough to stow away extra clothes like sweaters or rain jackets, apparel pockets offer a convenient place to keep back-up layers close at hand. Look for apparel pouches that feature water-resistant coatings and secure closures to protect your items from the elements.

Ball and Tee Pockets

There’s nothing more frustrating than constantly rummaging through your bag hunting for spare balls or tees. That’s why today’s golf bags incorporate specialized pockets made specifically to hold these small, easy-to-lose essentials. Well-designed bags even go so far as placing these pockets on the exterior for seamless access while on the go.

Cooler/Insulated Pockets

Nobody wants a lukewarm, sub-par beverage waiting for them between holes. Luckily, many golf bags include dedicated cooler pockets with insulating properties to keep drinks and snacks fresh. Some even have removable/freezable inserts to maximize chilling capacity.

Velour Valuables Pockets

It’s hard to relax and enjoy your round when you’re preoccupied about the safety of your valuables. Most modern golf bags aim to eliminate this stressor by incorporating plush, velour-lined pockets designed specifically to safeguard items like wallets, phones, and keys. In addition to shielding against scratches, these specialized pouches often include waterproof zippers and are strategically located for easy access.

Towel Rings & Attachments

Every golfer needs a trusty towel on hand for wiping clubs, drying grips, and staying fresh in the heat. Rather than stuffing your damp towel into a pocket, many bags incorporate towel rings or hooks that allow you to securely latch it to the exterior of the bag. This simple feature prevents soggy messes and mildew buildup.

Beyond these main pockets, you’ll find even more specialized compartments on today’s feature-rich golf bags. Fleece-lined shafts for protecting expensive putters, removable range finders/GPS pouches, umbrella holders, and even magnetic pockets designed to hold firmly onto accessories like brushes and divot tools – the list goes on.

The mark of a stellar golf bag is one that has a well-planned place for every essential with no wasted space. So don’t be afraid scrutinize those pocket layouts and capacities when making your selection.

Material Matters: Finding the Right Bag Fabric

Material Matters: Finding the Right Bag Fabric

Given that golf bags live a pretty rugged lifestyle – enduring the elements, getting tossed in trunks, wheeled across various terrain – it’s crucial they’re constructed with highly durable materials. At the same time, weight and ease-of-carrying are key considerations.

So what are the most common materials used in modern golf bag manufacturing? Here’s a quick primer:


Lightweight yet incredibly sturdy, nylon fabrics are a popular choice for golf bags across all categories. Nylon excels at wicking away moisture, drying quickly, and resisting abrasions/tearing. It’s also relatively affordable compared to other premium materials.


With very similar properties to nylon – lightweight, water-resistant, durable – polyester is another synthetic fabric you’ll commonly see used in golf bag construction. Bags made with polyester tend to be easy to wipe clean and provide decent protection against the elements.


For players who prefer a more elevated, luxurious look, leather golf bags remain a classic choice. In addition to their rich aesthetic, leather bags are exceptionally hardwearing and age beautifully over time with proper care. The tradeoff? Genuine leather is one of the heaviest and most expensive materials used.


An oldie but a goodie, canvas is a tried-and-true staple in the world of golf bags. Sturdy and affordable, canvas holds up well against the rigors of the course while providing a smart, timeless look. That said, it isn’t as water-resistant as some technical synthetic fabrics.

From cushy polyesters ideal for carrying to rugged canvas built for cart use, there’s a material to suit every golfer’s preferences and needs. Many premium bags also incorporate a blend of fabrics to maximize durability and comfort.

Don’t Overpay: Understanding Pricing and Value

Don't Overpay: Understanding Pricing and Value

Like most golf equipment and accessories, golf bags span a vast pricing spectrum – from basic, budget-friendly models to ultra-premium bags that cost as much as a high-end driver. So how do you cut through the noise to identify real value?

Generally speaking, you can find decent quality golf bags from reputable brands in the $100-$300 range. At the entry-level $50-$100 price point, you’ll have to temper expectations in terms of advanced features, storage capacity, and long-term durability. These basic, bare-bones bags may get the job done for casual players, but more discerning golfers will likely be disappointed.

The $150-$250 range represents a very solid sweet spot for most players. Within this bracket, you’ll find incredibly well-made bags loaded with ample pockets, organizational elements, travel-friendly features, and premium fabrications like leather accents or reinforced bases. Brands like Callaway, OGIO, and Sun Mountain all offer exceptional golf bags in this mid-tier pricing.

Once you climb above $300, you’re entering professional-grade, tour-level territory with golf bags designed for elite players and functionality. Expect to see innovative strap systems, ultra-lightweight but rugged materials, and obsessive attention to detail in areas like club protection and easy accessibility. TaylorMade, Titleist, and PING dominate this premium sector.

Do you need to spend $400+ on a state-of-the-art golf bag? Not necessarily. But for discerning players, the performance benefits and longevity offered by these high-end models can certainly justify the investment, especially if you log serious mileage on courses year-round.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, investing in the right golf bag is about much more than just having a place to stash your clubs. From maximizing comfort and protecting your equipment to keeping you organized and hydrated throughout your round, your bag is a true performance partner out on the course.

By understanding the nuances of weight, dimensions, pockets, materials, and pricing, you can cut through the clutter and zero in on a golf bag that checks every box for your unique needs and playing habits. Whether you gravitate towards an ultra-lightweight carry model, a feature-rich cart hauler, or something in between, there’s a golf bag out there ready to elevate your entire experience.

So study up, get familiar with the top bags and brands, and take the plunge on an upgrade if your current bag no longer makes the cut. With the proper golf bag by your side, you can bring your A-game from the first tee to the 18th green. Here’s to shooting your lowest scores yet next season!

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