Your golf bag is an essential supporting player in your golf game. It not only needs to be functional, durable and organized – it should be worth the money you’re not spending on the fun gear. It can be tough to narrow down all the categories and choices you have, so we’ve laid out the key decisions you need to make that best golf bag for the money.
For you impatient golfers, here’s a quick look at the best golf bags for 2017
Best Riding Cart Bag: Callaway Org 14 Golf Cart Bag
The Callaway Org 14 is our pick for the best golf bag in 2017, because it has tons of pockets, smart design, and being lightweight enough to make it easy to carry around when you need to. The Org 14 line has been in production for a few years now and Callaway keeps improving it.
- Full sleeve slots keeping your clubs from tangling
- 2 Cooler sections for drinks and a cool towel
- Felt lined pocket to protect phone screens; rangefinder slot
- Larger center slots for putter, and driver (Super Stroke 3.0 okay, be careful with any grip larger)
- Lightweight considering size
- Exterior slots for tees
- Can stand on its own at the range
The Org 14 comes with plenty of storage space to store everything you’ll need on the course. The pockets are not only spacious but also arranged in an intuitive way. You have two cooler pockets for drinks and your towel, two full-length side pockets (one is a cooler) with plenty of shoe space and a mesh section to allow your gloves to air out.
The Callaway Org 14 is designed to be used on a motor cart, so there’s a slot for the cart strap behind the upper rangefinder pouch that gives you extra storage space you wouldn’t get otherwise. The left side pocket also has a cleverly hidden sleeve for your golf umbrella plus slots for tees on the exterior. It’s clear Callaway put a lot of thought and took feedback from lots of golfers to make this bag so intuitive. A sign of a great golf bag is when you can easily access exactly what you need without interrupting your round.
The club organizer section is also excellent, with specific sleeves for each divider in the bag. This prevents your clubs from getting tangled up at the bottom. I’ve had bags without the dividers and there’s really no turning back once you’ve been able to slide your club back in without having to jam it through the other club grips. Just be careful not to force your clubs in too hard after a bad shot because the sleeves aren’t quite as durable as the exterior of the bag. Don’t let the warning fool you, though, the Org 14 is pretty durable considering it weighs in at less than 6 pounds.
While the Org 14 doesn’t have a carry handle on the front like some cart bags do, it does have a full length strap running along the back which you can use to carry the bag from your car to the clubhouse without issue. The combination of the design, storage capacity, weight and price, the Callaway Org 14 is the best cart bag for 2017. This bag is a winner and we hope Callaway keeps this line going for years.
Best Push Cart Bag: Sun Mountain Sync
Our pick for the Best Golf Push Cart Bag is the Sync model from a relatively unknown company outside of bags, Sun Mountain. This bag is very comparable to the Org 14 in its size, number of pockets and materials, with one exception – this model is designed for use on push carts. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the push cart bag on a motorized cart or vice versa, it really just means the decisions made around straps, pocket locations, etc. are driven by the intended use. Most of the time just there’s not much difference between the two.
Built for the Push Cart
The Sync is designed for maximum convenience when using a push cart. Your first priority on a push cart is keeping the bag in place, so the Sync comes with a notched bottom section that fits snugly with the triangular pads on many push carts. The side of the upper portion of the Sync has a pass-through strap that allows a strap to hold the golf bag in place without constricting the pockets.
Differences from the Org 14
- Org 14 designed for motor cart vs Sync being designed for push carts
- Sync has front carry handle where the Org 14 has the rangefinder pouch with strap slot –
- 15-way top with individual, full-length dividers
- Integrated putter compartment
- All pockets are forward-facing and accessible when the bag is on a cart
- Two utility handles molded into the top for handling
- Eight pockets include a beverage pocket and two velour-lined valuables pockets, one sized for a rangefinder
- The cart strap pass-through allows the golf bag to be secured to the cart without hindering pocket access
- Loop for towel
- Cart bumpers for added durability
- Includes matching rain hood
• High-quality, waterproof and tear-resistant material.
• Smart mounted wraps for maximum stability on the cart.
• 15 dividers for clubs.
• 8 conveniently placed and easily accessed pockets.
• Waterproof hood.
• May not stand on its own without proper weight distribution
Check Price on Amazon
Check Price on Amazon
We tried not to pick the same brand for our best stand and cart picks, but we really had no choice with Callaway’s latest product lines. The Callaway Chev is the best golf stand bag for the money right now. It’s light, durable enough, and simply does what you need it to do – carry your clubs comfortably while walking the course and have the stability to stand up in all the situations you’ll end up in while playing.
- 7-Way top with full-length dividers
- 7 pockets including a soft lined valuables pocket
- All terrain base System – delivers stability on all ground conditions
- Soft mesh hip pad provides comfort and ventilation
- Weight: 5.5 lbs
- Good padding on straps and on the bag for carrying
- Dividers don’t go length of the golf bag
- Not quite as durable as cart bags due to weight optimization, although it’s plenty durable if you treat it well
Stand golf bags sacrifice some storage to be light enough for 18+ holes. If you’re used to a cart bag where you can fit a six-pack and a couple kids in them, you’ll have to leave a few things in your car (or at home). The Callaway Chev has your standard stand bag pockets – 1 velour pocket for your valuables, 1 full-length pocket that can *almost* fit my shoes in comfortably when not playing.
The Chev holds up well on the course. It’s able to stay upright when propped up on the inclines along the greens and the legs do a nice job of popping out when you set the bag down. I had a couple instances in prior Callaway bags where the leg would get stuck behind the casing where the legs rest when the bag is carried. It’s an easy fix so it’s more of an annoyance than a problem and I’ve not had that problem with this bag.
My bag usually has some extra space available. Just my towel, a dozen or so balls plus a few cheap ones for water holes, my rangefinder, my phone/wallet/keys and a water bottle. I can fit all this stuff with plenty of room to to stash a couple beers when playing a casual round.
It really is a quality bag at a solid price.
Runner-up Best Stand Bag: Titleist Lightweight Stand Bag
If you’re looking for an alternative to the Chev, check out the Titlest Lightweight Stand Bag. It has only 4 club slots and weighs a bit more, but also comes with slightly more storage.
Best Hybrid Golf Bag
Ping Pioneer Cart Golf Bag
Our runner up is slightly lighter than the Sun Mountain, so it pairs up as a carry bag well. For those wanting more diversity and adaptability from a golf bag, this is the obvious choice. The bag handles well both on your back and on the cart, is made of anti-rip polyesters and is water resistant, making it an excellent choice for any player.
The Pioneer has plenty of storage space for even us pack-rats. It has 8 zippered pockets that can hold plenty of gear. These include clothes, balls, valuables, and, because the bag holds in the cold air, it can be used to store some much needed cold drinks – especially when the beverage cart is nowhere to be seen.
The bag also features 15 dividers, allowing you to include your 14 playing clubs and space for a backup, alignment sticks, or a ball retriever. The dividers are designed to protect your clubs from banging and tangling when walking. The sides of the bag are made of a non-flex material, which further protects the clubs from a forceful impact, so it can handle some of your post-shot frustrations.
Is it really hybrid?
While the Pioneer is a hybrid bag that can be used to carry, it is primarily intended to be a golf cart bag. That’s why the pockets are placed on the top side of the bag so you can access them more easily while it’s strapped onto the cart. However, the special nonslip bottom lets you easily use a pushcart as well. You’d expect a hybrid bag to come with extra weight but the Ping Pioneer is pretty light, (it weighs 7 pounds) allowing you to carry it around like a carry bag without a problem.
• Non-rip, water resistant material
• 15 dividers for clubs.
• The non-flex material makes up the sides for increased protection of the clubs.
• Plenty of pockets for apparel, balls, and beverages.
• Hybrid bag – can be mounted on a golf cart, push-cart or be carried.
• Doesn’t seem to feature a hood.
How to Pick the Right Golf Bag for You
Types of Golf Bags: More than you’d think
There are a few major decisions you’ll need to make when deciding on a golf bag. The first, and most obvious being the decision between a cart bag and a stand bag. The main tradeoff decision you need to make is between mobility (lighter weight) and storage (heavier).
Staff bags are the heaviest and the most expensive in the market. They’re almost exclusively produced by the major club manufacturers, mainly because they sponsor the Tour players who use the bags. They are big, flashy, bright and they grab attention – how else are they going to recover the sponsorship money? Size naturally means they are heavy – usually weighing in around 10 pounds, sometimes even more. Professional golfers have the help of caddies to handle the bag, so there’s no need to restrict size or weight. You better believe that if PGA Tour players had to carry their own bags, they’d get much lighter in a hurry.
Cart Bags – Riders
It may shock you to learn that cart bags are used by people who ride in golf carts and don’t plan to carry their clubs themselves. Crazy, I know. These things are not only heavy but they’re big. There are two subcategories of Cart Bags: Staff/Caddy Bags and Traditional Carry Bags.
If you’re not playing golf professionally, you’ll probably pass on the staff bag simply because you won’t need the extra space. We’ve got you covered if you do happen to fall in this camp. Everyone else should be looking at a decision between a Traditional Cart Bag and Carry Bag.
Cart Bags for Pull Carts
Cart Bags are smaller and lighter than Staff Bags. They are easier for a person to carry and are priced better. Even though they’re lighter most golfers won’t want to carry a cart bag around (unless you plan to have a caddy), as they weigh somewhere around 6 to 7 pounds without clubs. These bags are intended for pushcarts or to be mounted on the back of a golf cart. For that reason, they have special mounting wraps, and often have hardened, rubberized, non-slip bottoms so that they can stay securely in place once strapped in.
Golf bags for carts are less roomy than staff bags but are still spacious enough to allow you to carry 15, a rangefinder, clothes, balls, beverages and other necessities. They also have special placement of their pockets so that you may access them without having to unstrap the bag and take it down from the mount. If you use a motorized or push cart every time you play and like to carry lots of gear, a cart bag is for you.
If you prefer to walk the course and don’t look like Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson [image], you’ll want to buy a carry/stand bag. Typically, these bags can hold 12-15 clubs and have slightly smaller compartments. They usually don’t weigh much more than 6 pounds. Stand bags have retractable legs which extend when the bag is set on the ground, forming a tripod to balance it. These bags are smaller and designed to be as light as possible.
The quest for a lighter bag can mean less durability as manufacturers opt for thinner material construction and pocket lining. The key to finding the best stand bag is to find the right blend of durability and weight while still looking good on the course.
However, they still are good-sized and have a decent number of pockets so you can carry necessities, even a few beverages with you. These bags typically have handles on the top to help you lift them, and backpack-style straps so you can put them on your back and distribute the weight well. The often have deployable tripods that prop the bag up when you’re taking your shot. They also have reinforced bottoms that help set the bag firmly on the ground.
As the name says, these bags combine the best of both worlds – carry and cart bags. These bags are larger than carry bags and weigh more, but are still light enough to carry around. They often come with tripods, characteristic of carry bags, but they often have wraps that let you secure the bag to a golf or push cart. The same goes for the pocket placement: the pockets are placed so they can be easily accessed easily from both the cart and the stand.
Naturally, the quality of the materials used in the making of the golf bag is a major concern. The fact is you don’t want your bag ripping, breaking or leaking at any point, as it may damage your equipment, clubs, clothes or electronics (like a phone or a range finder). The last thing you need is your bag to fall apart in the middle of a round. That happened to me in 2014 when a pocket caught a railing while crossing a bridge and I nearly lost my wallet into a creek. Durability matters!
To keep all your stuff safe in the bag you’ll want to choose a bag made of rip-resistant, water-resistant materials. This will not only save your gear in an event of an accident (say, a sudden downpour or an aggressive bridge railing) but will make sure that the bag serves you well until you’re ready for a change of style or design.
Another consideration is the lining of the pockets – some bags have soft lined pockets and others with cooling capabilities. The velvet-lined pockets are good for keeping valuables in them, and the cooling capabilities of certain materials will allow you to keep a few beverages handy. They can even help to keep your phone from overheating in the peak summer temperatures. In addition, a hood or umbrella slot helps you keep your clubs dry in the rain.
Name brands are a big factor when it comes to buying anything, including golf bags. And like with everything, brand products tend to have premium price tags tacked on (but not always). Well known brands with long product histories give you confidence that your money is well spent and the manufacturer will resolve any problems you have. This gives the product a level of predictability, and you will know whether the product is good or not, and what are its strengths and weaknesses.