Aside from your golf clubs, one of the most important items in a golfer’s equipment repertoire is their bag – and deciding on the right one is crucial.
There are three main styles of golf bag: the cart bag, the stand bag and the carry bag, and each of them are designed for different purposes.
A cart bag is for golfers who like to travel the course in a golf cart or use a push cart to transport their clubs. A stand bag is suitable for golfers who like to carry their clubs on their back, but can also be used on a golf cart or push cart. A carry bag is the most lightweight and is best suited for golfers who walk the course.
The method in which you prefer to traverse the fairways will be the biggest factor upon deciding which bag is best for you.
Let’s take a look at each of these options in a little more detail.
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Is a Cart Bag, Stand Bag or Carry Bag better?
When it comes to choosing between a cart, stand or carry bag, none of these options are ‘better’ than the other. The ideal bag for you is the one that is suited to your personal preferences.
Below are the pros and cons of each bag to help you distinguish the differences between them.
Cart Bag (Staff Bag)
- Generally, the heaviest option when it comes to golf bags (usually weighs around 11-12 pounds/5-6 kilograms)
- Bigger and bulkier than stand and carry bags
- More space for clubs
- More pockets to store equipment (such as balls, rangefinder, drink bottle, groove sharpener, cleaning brush etc)
- Can be carried in a golf cart or push cart with ease
- The most difficult to carry around the course by hand
- Typically, more expensive
- The mid-range option in terms of heaviness (usually weighs around 7-8 pounds/3-4 kilograms)
- Less bulky than a cart bag, but still has enough pockets to store equipment
- Can be carried on your back, or strapped into a golf cart/push cart
- Easier to carry than a cart bag, but has less dividers/space for your clubs
- Comes with attached legs that stand the bag up when placed on the ground
- The most versatile of all the golf bags on the market
- The most lightweight/least bulky option (usually weighs around 1-2 pounds/0.5-1 kilogram)
- Extremely easy to carry on your back
- Has very little storage, with few pockets to stow equipment in
- Too slim to be strapped into most golf carts and push carts
- Some models have legs attached to stand it upright on the ground, while others don’t (meaning you have to lay the bag on the ground when playing your shot)
How do I choose the right golf bag?
Choosing the right golf bag will be determined by the type of player you are. Do you like walking the course? Do you have heaps of gear that needs to be stored? Do you prefer to ride in a golf cart rather than walk the fairways? All of these preferences are key factors in deciding which bag is the best functional match for you.
I’ve jotted down some dot points to help you figure out whether a cart bag, stand bag or carry bag is right for you.
Suited to players who:
- Would rather ride in a golf cart or use a push cart to transport their clubs
- Has heaps of gear that needs storing (jumpers, towels, balls, drink bottles, rangefinder, sunglasses etc)
- Like keeping their clubs organised and separated by dividers
- Are willing to spend a little extra to get a bag that will last longer, and look better
Suggested reading: Why the Bag Boy Compact 3 is the perfect push cart
Suited to players who:
- Like having the option of using a golf cart/push cart or carrying their bag on the course
- Has some gear that needs storing, without being excessive
- Is physically fit and doesn’t tire easily from carrying their bag throughout 9-18 holes
- See themselves as ‘traditionalists’ and like the feeling of walking the course
- Doesn’t want to spend the extra money required to buy a top-of-the-line cart bag
Suited to players who:
- Love walking the course and hate the thought of riding in a golf cart/using a push cart
- Don’t care much about organising their clubs/keeping them apart in their bag
- Have little equipment that needs storing (drink bottle, balls, tees and a rangefinder is about all they need)
- Don’t mind laying their bag on the ground for every shot
- Are keeping to a tight budget and don’t want to spend too much on buying a golf bag
Suggested reading: How to get started in golf on a budget
At the end of the day, the right bag for you will be determined by its functionality, appearance (whether you like a certain brand, a certain colour or a certain design) and, mostly importantly, whether it fits into your budget or not.
Golf bags are designed to last virtually a lifetime, so make sure you are certain before making your purchase – it’s likely the bag you buy will be the one you use for a long, long time.
Should your golf bag match your clubs?
There is no rule that says your golf bag must match your clubs. Often, professional golfers will use a brand of bag that matches their clubs, but that is mostly due to sponsorship agreements. The average player can choose whatever bag they like, regardless of whether it matches their clubs or not.
Can Stand Bags be used on a golf cart?
Stand bags are smaller than a cart bag but bulkier than a carry bag, meaning they are perfectly suited to being used both on a golf cart, or carried on your back. If you are taking a stand bag on a golf cart, make sure you really tighten the straps to prevent your clubs from falling out when you’re driving up and down the fairways, or over bumpy, rough terrain.
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Can you walk with a Cart Bag?
It’s not recommended you try and walk the golf course with a cart bag. Cart bags can weigh up to 12 pounds (6 kilograms) or more, meaning you’ll be exhausted by the time you finish your round. It’s the reason why professional golfers have caddies to carry their cart bags for them. In most cases you shouldn’t walk the course with anything other than a stand bag or carry bag.
What is the best Cart Bag to buy?
There are so many cart bags available online that what is best really comes down to your own preference, and whether or not it meets the criteria detailed earlier in this post.
That being said, having searched the internet recently for an upgrade to my own golf bag, there were a couple that stood out to me – and are definitely high on my wish list should I decide to splash out and buy a new bag in the near future.
Mizuno Golf 2021 Tour Staff Bag
I’m not sure whether it’s the colours that stood out to me (I love a blue and white theme) or the design, but the 2021 Tour Staff Bag from Mizuno looks amazing.
Everything about this bag looks sleek and sophisticated.
It uses premium tour materials, has five pockets for access – perfect for cart use – a five-way divider to keep your clubs organised, plus a drinks and umbrella holder.
It is a little more expensive that some of the other less-reputable brands out there, but you can be comfortable buying this bag knowing you’re getting nothing but quality.
I may be upgrading to this very, very soon.
What is the best Stand Bag to buy?
When searching online for stand bags, I found that most of the models fell into two distinct categories – there were the higher-quality designs that used better materials but were slightly pricier, versus the lesser-quality designs that were cheaper but looked far less durable.
Taking those factors into consideration, there was one stand bag that stood out above the rest.
Titleist Players 4 Carbon Stand Bag
There are few more reputable golf brands than Titleist, and the Players 4 Carbon Stand Bag caught my eye for that very reason.
Not only does it have five storage pockets (which is more than a lot of bargain-basement stand bags available online), the carbon model is fashioned out of durable rip-stop material for added longevity and is ultra-lightweight at just 4 pounds/1.8 kilograms.
It has carbon fibre legs offering great support, and also comes in five different colour choices (ranging from all black to red and white).
Yes, this stand bag is a little more expensive than some other models out there, but I’m a big believer in ‘you get what you pay for’ – and what you’re paying for in this instance is top-of-the-line quality.
If you’re seeking something a little more affordable, the Cobra Golf 2020 Ultralight Stand Bag or the TaylorMade Stand 8.0 Bag are two other great options, and were also very high on my list of choices.
What is the best Carry Bag to buy?
Carry bags, by design, are pretty simple – in order to keep them lightweight and easy to carry, they forgo some of the luxuries of other golf bags such as ample pockets or high-quality manufacturing.
In reality, it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
That said, if you are in the market for a carry bag, it’s difficult to go past this one.
Titleist Carry Bag
Whether you like Titleist or not, it’s hard to argue with their carry bag offering.
It’s virtually weightless (clocking in at a mere 0.6 pounds/0.3 kilograms) meaning you’ll be able to carry it around 18 holes with ease – regardless of whether you’re extremely fit, or not.
It comes in three different colours – having a choice is always a bonus – and is designed with a full-length apparel pocket in addition to four other storage pockets for balls, tees, drink bottle and jumper.
The only thing that detracts from the Titleist Carry Bag is it does not come equipped with legs, meaning you’ll need to lay it on the ground before each shot (which can be annoying, particularly in wet weather).
But when compared with the offerings from some other less-reputable brands, you can’t really go wrong with this model.
Deciding whether a cart bag, stand bag or carry bag is best for you comes down to personal preference and is largely influenced by how you like to make your way around the golf course.
If you love staying active and walking the course, the stand bag or carry bag is best for you.
If you prefer riding in a cart (whether by choice, or due to physical restrictions), then a cart bag is probably the better choice.
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