The best golf bag for you is arguably the bit of kit that will make the biggest contribution to making your life easier on the course. The right golf bag can really make a difference to your game by conserving your energy and enabling you to concentrate on enjoying yourself more on the course.
Choosing the best golf bag for your needs isn't just about which brand you prefer, although that is an important element for many. Before you get on to that or the budget at your disposal, you need to decide between three main types of golf bag: tour, cart and stand.
The good news is, we have all you need to know in this handy guide to the best golf bags of all types.
The best golf bag of all: our expert pick
If you're wondering what bags Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are carrying in the main image above, it's the TaylorMade FlexTech Lite Stand Bag.
What do Rory and DJ know about golf bags, though? They've usually got someone to carry them for them. Our pick of the latest golf bags is by the same brand, however: the TaylorMade Deluxe Cart Bag. It offers so much quality. With electric trolleys and pull carts being more popular than ever with weekend warriors and golfers of all ages – this Deluxe Cart Bag ticks all the boxes for the modern-day golfer.
Thanks to 15 dividers, 10 pockets and durable PU and polytube construction with anti-wear patch, this is a winner’s bag. There’s so much thought gone into it, with features you’d usually only find on top-end tour bags, such as a waterproof fur-lined valuables pocket, and specific wet pocket and cooler pocket.
How to buy the best golf bag for you
First up, the three different varieties of the best golf bags are tour, cart, and stand.
Tour golf bags (aka staff bags) are big beasts. As the name states, they’re mainly designed for professional golfers on the European and PGA tour. They’re the highest quality golf bag you can get, but with their size, endless hidden features and cost, they are probably OTT for more casual golfers.
A tour bag will last you a lifetime, making it a solid investment for regular lower-handicap golfers, but you’ll want a caddie or buggy to carry it for you as they’re serously heavy when fully loaded.
Cart golf bags could be more up your street. These are the middle ground between a larger tour bag and smaller stand bag. Golf cart bags are designed, as the name suggests, to fit on ‘carts’ or trolleys. That can be a push cart or electric trolley, or on the back of a golf buggy.
On a wheeled trolley this means you can pull your golf gear along easily. Years ago, trolleys were only used by older golfers or those with back issues. These days however, many younger modern golfers have realised the huge benefits of the cart bag.
Cart bags are big enough to store your clubs in plentiful dividers in the top, while larger pockets can carry more gear like waterproofs, as well food, snacks and drinks, whether that's water or a chilled four-pack, as well as golf balls and gadgets like GPS rangefinders.
The big plus of a cart bag is that it leaves you noticeably fresher during your round. For most golfers it's way preferable to carrying your gear on your back, up, down and around 18, long holes of golf over 4 to 5 hours. As a result, your golf scores and standards shouldn't slip due to you becoming tired on the back nine.
Stand golf bags, despite that are the more traditional and most popular golf bags. They’re much lighter and you carry them across your back with dual straps, to help spread the weight. They’re designed with retractable legs, so when you put the back down on the tee, fairway or side the green, you can prop it up – making it easier to take out/put away clubs – this keeps it cleaner too.
With a stand bag you don’t have to walk around greens or follow paths like you do with cart bags, as you can’t wheel trolleys over greens and have to go the long way around tee boxes etc. But as they’re smaller, you can’t carry as much gear, and of course, the more you stuff in the pockets, the heavier it is to lug around 18 holes.
You can also get very basic, lighter and cheaper golf bags, called a carry bag, which is legless, and better suited to smaller half-golf sets and those who want a no-frills bag.
The best golf bags are strong, with high grade stitching and sturdy zips, and should be comfortable to carry or transport from car to cart. They can house a fair amount of weight when full of your clubs, balls and kit, and are tough enough to be used weekly and carried or shaken about on trolleys regularly. They should be at least semi-waterproof so avoid your gear inside getting wet in the rain – as there’s nothing worse than slippery grips, or finding your jacket inside is already soaked! – and be able to withstand the rough and tumble of outdoor use.
A large number of dividers for club organisation are preferable so you can pull / put back clubs quicker every time. Plus the more pockets the better for quick access to your essentials, such as snacks, drinks, wet-weather jacket and spare clothing, balls, scorecards, and golf gadgets. Dual straps and a sturdy stand are useful features for carry bags.
We’ve rounded up the best and newest bags of all types, from the biggest golf brands. It's worth noting that golf bags are often discounted in end-of-season sales before new annual golf lines arrive.
The best golf bags to buy right now
A top pro-golf build quality with a raft of genius features and pockets, the TaylorMade Deluxe Cart Bag has a large 10-inch top, with 15 full-length dividers with colour-coordinated air mesh. That means you have a slot for every club in your bag – and one spare, since 14 is the maximum number of clubs you’re allowed to carry.
The outer shell is a premium quality PU (polyurethane leather) material, and there are two easy-access handles to carry the bag from your car onto your electric trolley, pull cart or golf buggy. It has a key-lock base to keep the bag firmly on the trolley – but there’s also a padded shoulder strap if you’d rather carry while playing.
Helpfully, all pockets face forward for easy access to everything during your round. There are ten strategically placed pockets in total, which include; waterproof fur-lined for valuables, separate wet, cooler, and ball pockets, an extra waterproof smartphone pocket, plus expandable clothing pocket.
Finishing touches are a towel ring, rain hood, and full-length hidden sheath for your golf umbrella.
TaylorMade is the golf brand of choice of the world’s best professional players on the PGA tour, including World No.1 Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – remember him? You can see the manufacturing quality that’s attracted the top pros has filtered down to this Deluxe Cart bag.
Please note: although this Deluxe bag is made of PU and has a decent level of waterproofing, there’s also a specific TaylorMade Deluxe Waterproof Cart Bag for those who play their golf in regions prone to wet weather and want, to ensure their clubs and gear remain dry even if they’re drowned rats themselves.
Callaway is the biggest golf equipment company in the US, so it’s safe to say, they know what they’re doing. This show in the quality of their new Fairway C Double-Strap stand bag, which comes engineered with ‘the most comfortable strap in golf’ – the OptiFit Comfort Strap has padding and increased coverage, plus an updated self-balancing X-Act Fit strap system, to ensure the bag is ergonomically designed to spread the load when you’re carrying your hefty golf gear around 18 holes.
It has a four-way compact top with full-length dividers to store your clubs in groups of threes and fours, and six good-sized pockets for your clothes, drinks, balls and personal possessions.
As the best-selling electric golf trolley brand in over 50 countries worldwide, PowaKaddy have unbeatable experience when it comes to making cart bags. Their innovative cart bags are designed to fit perfectly to PowaKaddy trolleys to ensure your golf clubs and gear stays connected and secure, even over the bumpiest of terrain. This Premium cart bag is made of lightweight vinyl and PU materials, and has 14 dividers, and nine pockets for all your essentials, plus easily-accessible carry handles for lifting from your car to your trolley.
A clever dual-choice bag suited to both carrying or on a cart This is a classy option from Mizuno if you’re after a high-quality golf bag that can switch between a sturdy cart bag and carryable stand bag. A premium quality product, it has soft-touch materials, sturdy zips and enough clever storage options to make your playing partners jealous. It has two-fleece lined valuables pockets, a removable ball pocket panel, and insulated drink pouch, plus even a ‘magnetic-closure’ pocket.
If you fancy yourself a spot on the next PGA tour, the only thing to be seen carting around is this Titleist tour bag. It looks great on the course and offers a wealth of features to make your game easier and more enjoyable. A 6-way top divider ensures you always have an eye on the right club, while quick-release magnetic pockets and military-grade zips ensure both easy access and safekeeping of valuables. Foam cushioning and an ergonomic strap system boost comfortable carrying.
As its name suggests, this Hoofer Craz-E Lite from Ping is a super-light 1.36kg stand bag that you’ll barely notice you’re carrying. Ground-breaking tech includes high-tensile strength fabric and carbon-fibre stand legs, and with seven pockets you’ll still have room for all you need to carry while playing golf out on the course. It has adjustable shoulder pads and cushioned hip pad for guaranteed comfort, but we’d say it’s more suited to warm days or a quick nine holes, when you don’t need to worry about carrying extra clothing and waterproofs.
Though it is merely 'Lite' rather than 'Craz-E Lite' this other Ping best seller is still great if you favour a more comfy trot around the course. It's not just about being a svelte 2.4kg light though – it also features cushioned hip and shoulder padding to make that weight comfortable to shoulder.
On top of that, Ping uses its SensorCool tech to enable those pads to stay cool so you don't overheat even when playing in hot summer sun. The new strap connector makes it easy to swing the bag on, and it's fully adjustable too, so you can sit the shoulder pads just right. Should all that comfort still leave you thirsty, on top of the seven pockets there's a dedicated holder for quick access to your water bottle.
The Callaway Org 14 Cart Bag is quite simply one of the best golf bags you can buy right now. Made of durable and heavyweight fabric this has a huge 14 dividers and 11 pockets making everything easily accessible instantly.
This year the addition of a non stadium top means wedges sit flush. The pockets have also been given new construction lines this year for even more storage. A separate putter well and TPE insert for shaft protection is a great feature making this a tidy setup for quick access to everything.
There's a front facing magnetic rangefinder pocket, electric trolley battery pack sleeve and a new carabiner style towel hook with glove attachment. You really will be hard pressed to find a better bag in the cart category for the price.
If you want to look the part on the fairway this is the bag for you, made from micro perforated synthetic leather, it has a truly premium finish. There's a 6-way velour top, black gunmetal hardware and a zip-off belly panel for embroidery.
But it's not just the materials on this staff bag that matter as you also get 12 pockets, two of which are velour lined making them ideal for phones. There's a rain hood and umbrella sleeve for wet weather and a three point shoulder strap for a nicely balanced carry.
At 5 kg this isn't the lightest bag out there but if you want to look the part with Tour-level quality then you'll need to have the stamina of a tour-level player too.