Best Golf Bags 2017 – Find The Right Bag For Your Game

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Welcome to our Best Golf Bags 2017 review. Great to have you with us!

Being new to the game of golf can be an intimidating business. So much to learn. So much desire to spend every waking minute you can on the golf course. And, of course, so much to buy.

One such purchase which ranks somewhere near the top of the priority list – probably just behind buying clubs themselves – is golf bags. After all, there isn’t much point in having a set of sticks you so admire if there’s nothing decent to house them in.

But it’s not as simple as you may initially think. There are different types of golf bags: stand or carry bags, cart bags, staff bags, travel bags – the list goes on!

Each have their own unique set of features too.

Plus, there is also big scope for variance in terms of price, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you find that elusive balance between quality and value.

Sound a bit intimidating? Fortunately for you, this page has all the answers you need, encompassing reviews of the five golf bags which we think best cut the mustard for newbies like you, along with key considerations and answers to all your questions as a prospective bag investor.

By the end of it, we’re convinced you’ll be well placed to choose the perfect bag for you; one that will accompany you for many happy years to come.

Top 5 Golf Bags – A Comparison

  • Sun Mountain 2017 C-130 Golf Stand Bag
  • Weight-10.5 Pounds
  • Key Fetaures: Three velour-lined valuables pockets, rain hood, Smart Strap System, forward facing pockets
  • Club Organization: 14 Way, Full Length Dividers Accessories Pockets: 10
  • Callaway 2017 Org 14 Golf Cart Bag
  • Weight-5.8 LBS
  • Key Features: E Trolley Base, Two Integrated Grab Handles, Rain Hood, Accessories Pockets
  • Club Organization: 14 Way, Full Length Dividers Accessories Pockets: 10
  • Callaway 2017 Hyper-Lite 5 Golf Stand Bag
  • Weight-<5 LBS
  • Key Features: Water Resistant, Velour Lined Valuables Pocket with Key Fob, Ergonomic EVAFoam Core with Soft Mesh Padding
  • Club Organization: 7 Way, Full Length Dividers Accessories Pockets: 8
  • TaylorMade CSTM 4.0 '17 Stand Bag
  • Weight: 8 Lbs
  • Key Features: Multiple grip handles integrated into bag spine, ergonomic dual shoulder straps, EVA-moulded hip pad, towel loop and Velcro brand glove tab
  • Club Organization: 4 way top, 1 full-length divider Accessories Pockets: 6
  • Ray Cook RCC-2 Cart Bag
  • Weight-10 Lbs
  • Key Features: Front position putter pit, dual top-lift handles, padded rear position carry strap, rain hood
  • Club Organization: 14 Way (full length club shaft dividers) Accessories Pockets: 8

Best Golf Bags for Beginners 2017

Editor’s Choice: Sun Mountain 2017 C-130 Golf Stand Bag

The Sun Mountain 2017 C-130 Golf Stand Bag is our editor’s choice for game improvement golfers and beginners.

It obviously hinges upon whether you are looking for a stand bag or a carry bag, but this particular diamond really stood out from the crowd in our view. Sun Mountain put together the first C-130 bag a couple of years ago, and since then have continued to make minor tweaks which have kept competitors at bay.

Perhaps the best new feature of all is the new Smart Strap system, whereby the bag can be attached to a cart by virtue of two Velcro straps, which prevents interference from existing cart straps when using the pockets. They’ve also increased the number of velour-lined valuables pockets to three, one of which is water-resistant.

I’m sure you’ll agree that 10 pockets are pretty ample, but the fact that there are two full-length apparel pockets is an important box to tick in terms of storage. There are also some other good touches like a cooler pocket, while all pockets are forward facing and easily accessible when the bag is on the cart.

Most importantly, this is a good, sturdy bag with a nice low centre of gravity that does its job to a tee. As a bonus, the price is fairly competitive too. Sun Mountain may not be one of the most renowned brands in the world, but don’t be fooled: this little piece of merchandise is a real winner, and we strongly recommend you consider it if you’re in the market for a stand bag.

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PROS:
  • Sturdy, low CG means it sits flush and steady on any cart
  • Smart Strap system prevents clashes with existing cart straps
  • Plenty of pockets, including valuables and apparel storage
  • 14 way, full-length dividers will have a lot of appeal
CONS:
  • None really, except that there are cheaper alternatives

Callaway 2017 Org 14 Golf Cart Bag

This is another example of a stand bag where the manufacturer has found a winning formula, and relied on incremental upgrades to continue the good momentum. The Callaway Org 2017 Cart Bag really is an impressive piece of work, which is underpinned by its E-Trolley Base System. This, coupled with the so-called Trolley Lip, gives the bottom of the bag versatility, such that it is compatible with pretty much any push or power cart on the market. Maybe even a Walmart trolley too!

But the good tidings don’t end there. There are some nifty features, not least a 14-way divider. A new club array ensures it’s very stable in terms of weight distribution and a wider base, and it has the look and feel of a durable, long-lasting bag too. It’s made of some hardcore poly material, which is water resistant, so this bag will keep your clubs nice and dry in the face of the elements.

Storage is no issue whatsoever, as there are 10 pockets, including a water resistant, velour-lined valuables pocket armed with a key fob. There are also two insulated cooler pockets, and an umbrella sleeve. Capping off the features, there’s a tidy umbrella sleeve integrated into the side of the bag – one which is perfectly positioned when the bag is on a cart.

Woe betide the indecisive, as there are no fewer than eight colours to choose from. Not all of them tickled our fancy, but the white/navy/red combo in particular is easy on the eye. Perhaps the most notable takeaway of all is how much thought has gone onto the little things: the zippers all open and close smoothly, the grab handles are where you instinctively expect them to be, and the rain hood slips on with ease. No wonder that this is one of Callaway’s most popular bags – it gets a very emphatic tip of the cap from us.

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PROS:
  • Lots of storage space; pockets are cleverly designed and located
  • Excellent features – everything is where you would expect it to be
  • Stable, wide base will be a good fit on any cart – motorised or push
  • Good value at under $200
CONS:
  • Aesthetically speaking, it isn’t the most gorgeous bag in the world

Callaway Golf 2017 Hyper-Lite 5 Golf Stand Bag

Goodness, I love this bag. Whether it falls into the category of beginner golf bags or not is open to debate, but some bags are so versatile that they simply transcend these arbitrary lines. This is one of them, and for those game improvers with a penchant for carrying their bag, it’s all in the name… this bag is as light as they come, and won’t put any more strain on your back than your partner will!

But of course if weight – or lack thereof – was your only criterion for picking out a carry bag, then you could just pick up a pencil bag and move on. Luckily, the Callaway Hyper-Lite 5 has plenty more to offer. For starters, the Comfort Tech strap, which is available in a double-strap option, has a heck of a lot of cushion, and feels like a cloud on your shoulders. The straps also don’t tangle or twist, even when we tried to mess with them, which is a tribute to how well designed and balanced they are.

For what it’s worth, it’s also an aesthetically-pleasing bag, which is nice and slender. No harm in that whatsoever. Storage isn’t quite as excessive as you might find with other, bigger (and heavier!) stand bags, but for most players, eight pockets will be more than sufficient. It also has a velour-lined valuables pocket to keep your precious bits safe and warm.

I was also impressed with the quality of the material, and, given the fact that the bag is water resistant, there is good reason to be confident that it should stand the test of time. It isn’t necessarily feature-heavy, but in the quest for quality and ease of use, this stand bag is very difficult to beat.

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PROS:
  • So very freakin’ light. 5 pounds – amazing!
  • Straps are ever-so comfortable, and with ample padding
  • Aesthetically pleasing, and with high-quality materials and stand mechanism
  • At under $200, a bag of this standard represents good value
CONS:
  • No major features or gimmicks to get you off your chair

TaylorMade CSTM 4.0 ’17 Men’s Stand Bag

For those of you who are in the market for a more entry-level bag at an entry-level price, then this may well be the most cost-effective gem to warrant spending your hard-earned dollars on. It’s hot off the press, but as early adopters, we were one of the first ones on the scene. Our view? This is unbelievable value for what is actually an excellent carry bag.

There are a number of different grab handles which are shrewdly placed, but of course it is the straps that matter when you are lumping something on your shoulders, and these are up there with the most comfortable we’ve ever tried. There is air mesh padding, while the straps themselves are defined as “contoured and ergonomic” by TaylorMade. We’re always sceptical of attempts at catchy brand marketing, but there’s no doubt: these are very, very cushy. To add to the feeling of comfort, there is also an EVA-moulded hip pad on the side of the bag.

In terms of features, it has all the usual suspects like towel loops, a Velcro brand glove and a bunch of other accessories. The automatic, anti-split stand system (with some very grippy foot pads) is also very effective for carriers, while you may also be pleased to hear that there is a cart-compatible base; should you ever get tired.

There isn’t a huge amount of storage, and six pockets may not be enough for everyone. The fact that there is only one divider may also put a few people off. But it’s hard to knock this one – this bag will be pulling a lot of beginners in TaylorMade’s direction.

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PROS:
  • Unbelievable price to come in at under $120
  • World-class levels of comfort thanks to air mesh padding and ergonomically-designed straps
  • Nice and light; very easy to carry
  • Bag is made from a very durable, nylon-esque material
CONS:
  • Not going to be winning any beauty contests, that’s for sure
  • A slight lack of pockets, and also just a solitary full-length divider

Ray Cook Golf RCC-2 Cart Bag

Ray Cook are probably more synonymous with putters than they are golf bags, but, under the radar, they have produced something cheap and cheerful in the way of a stand golf bag that will no doubt be bringing a lot of new customers their way. Building on the success of the RCC-1, this is another entry-level bag for game improvers which costs less than four score!

The first notable takeaway is the material which the exterior is made from – a mix of nylon and poly, ensuring that the bag is water resistant (waterproof in certain pockets and compartments). We loved the way it sat absolutely flush on our cart when we hoisted it aboard, but we made sure to try it out with a number of others too, and it fitted just fine. Despite the slightly narrow base, it’s actually quite sturdy, and we had no issues when going over bumps and hills on the course.

In terms of features, there are eight zippered pockets, including a full-length one for apparel, and a velour-lined valuables pocket (waterproof). It comes with accessories like a rain hood, scorecard sleeve, umbrella holder, towel ring, pen sleeve and Velcro glove attachment. We’re always fans of the 14-way separator top, and the front-position putter pit and dual lift top handles are nice touches too.

And if you’re feeling ambitious and are keen to carry at any point, there is also a padded rear-position carry strap to help the cause – one that can be secured within a sleeve when you aren’t using it. Look, don’t kid yourself – if you’re after something beautiful, with all the bells and whistles, then this bag probably isn’t for you. But if you want something functional, durable and easy to use for a brilliant price, then the search may well end right here.

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PROS:
  • For a decent-quality golf bag, $80 is tremendous value
  • Compatible with any number of carts, and stable despite its narrow base
  • Loads of storage, with eight zippered pockets
  • Solid materials used in the design of this bag; not to mention water resistant too
CONS:
  • Not the prettiest of bags. Bit of a top-heavy design
  • Despite the extra padded rear strap, it’s uncomfortable to carry

Choosing The Right Golf Bag

Type of Bag

The first question you need to ask yourself is this: do you carry, push or pull your golf bag? If the former, then you’ll want to hunt down a stand bag with a double-strap system. We go into further detail in the section below, but, as you can imagine, comfort is at a premium.

If you use a trolley, or a motorised cart, then the ball game changes, and you’ll want to turn your attentions to cart bags (or staff bags if you have a caddie with shoulders like Schwarzenegger). In this case, stability and storage become the major priorities. Staff bags are much bigger versions of cart bags, and are also known as “Tour bags”. These are the kinds the pros use, but unless you have an unusually large number of accessories (and are super strong and fit!), it’s unlikely that a staff bag will be for you at this early stage of your career. Although I reckon my wife could probably still fill one out with all her stuff!

The other bag type which you will probably come across is a travel bag. As the name suggests, this one is for the jetsetters and holiday golfers. In the name of convenience, they tend to lack storage and features, but may be suitable if you’re simply after the occasional jolly when on vacation.

Requirements

This is all about you, and involves asking yourself some honest questions. How frequently do you play golf? How often do you plan to play in the near future? Do you carry a bag, or use a cart? Do you have a full set of clubs? How often do you play when on your travels? How hilly is the terrain on the courses you usually frequent? What is your budget? Do you carry lots of accessories and bits with you each time you go out? Q & A over for now, but these are the kinds of things you need to be clear on so that you can home in on the right bag for you.

Robustness

What sort of treatment is your golf bag likely to get? Is it going to bounce around the back of your vehicle when you travel around? Or are you just going out once a month for a gentle 9-hole stroll at a nearby resort? The tougher the treatment, the better quality and more robust the bag’s material and design needs to be.

Colour and Appearance

Choosing the colour and appearance of the golf bag has more to do with personal preference than anything else. Golf bags come in different shapes and colours with a variety of features. We can tell you what we personally like and dislike, but ultimately this comes down to whatever catches your eye, and makes you feel like a million bucks (or at least a bona fide golfer).

WeightWidth

A nice wide top always helps the cause, and makes the process of taking clubs out (or putting them back in) a nuisance-free process. Somewhere in the region of nine to 10 inches across the top is where you want to be, although with cart bags, you could arguably look to go even wider than that.

Storage

Storage capacity of the golf bag is another consideration that will differ in priority from player to player. Personally, I like to travel light on the course, but many others have a ton of gadgets and accessories (rangefinders, swing analyzers, clothes, umbrellas etc) which they like to have on hand. In that case, storage becomes the boss, and the number of pockets will take centre stage – not to mention the quality of these pockets, and whether they are zippered. You’ll also want to check for valuables pockets, and, as a bonus, whether they are waterproof or water resistant.

Height

Although fairly standardised, it’s important that your golf bag sits at a comfortable height – one that either fits nicely when strapped to your shoulders, or that is suitable to any cart that you may use. It isn’t rocket science, but it is a handy box to tick all the same.

Dividers for club protection

Again, not everyone is sold on the idea, but the general trend is to move to multiple full length club dividers. Many bags these days employ 14-way dividers, while others have specific sections for drivers and/or putters. The big advantage of dividers is that they offer protection to your clubs when shifting around in the bag. They also keep your clubs safe from damage when rolling around in your car. Sometimes they can create a bit of a hassle when taking clubs out, but generally speaking, dividers are a force for good.

Accessories

With so many accessories available today for golfers, it becomes imperative to know which are included with the bag, and what provisions are made to accommodate any extra bits that you might have. Normally rain hoods, scorecard clips, towel rings and bottle holders are stock standard, but some bags have nice little features to accommodate more significant accessories like rangefinders and swing analyzers.

Guarantee

As with any product you buy, the guarantee period tells you everything you need to know about how confident the retailer is that your bag will stand the test of time. You don’t want to be back in a few months’ time having to cough up more dollars for a bag, so always ask the question before making the purchase. Almost all the best golf bag brands offer a limited-period warranty, and you really should be looking for at least six months on this.

Different Types of Golf Bags

Golf bags can broadly be categorized into four types, as explained below. Although the usability and purpose of a golf bag remains much the same in all categories, they differ in their handling and carrying. Depending on whether you use a cart or not, along with other factors like convenience, storage requirements and the amount of travelling you do, you’ll need to make the call as to which style of golf bag is best suited to your needs.

This short video from PGA Professional Kurt Picard describes the differences between golf bags.

Stand/Carry Bags

This is arguably the most common golf bag around. Carrying your bag means you can cut across greens, and take shortcuts to tee boxes. Despite the extra work, I always find I’m less tired after a round when carrying, so if you prefer to go down that route, a stand bag is what you’re after. It’s usually a lightweight golf bag that has a built-in stand. This stand extends outwards by virtue of a mechanism on the base that is activated when you put your bag down. Rather than having your bag lying on the floor, it leaves it at a nice height so that you can retrieve your clubs with ease.

They are very convenient for both playing on the course and for practising at the range. This type of bag usually has adequate storage for most players, and there is an increasing emphasis on improving padding and comfort in the straps to make carrying the bag easier and more ergonomically friendly. The stand bag isn’t only for players who prefer to walk the course either. Most can easily and conveniently be used with golf trolleys and carts too. This gives you that added versatility so that, on the day, you can make the call whether you wish to carry, push, pull or ride.

Cart Bags

Many players, of all ages, use golf carts every time they play the game – be that trolleys, motorised walking carts or golf buggies. Because of this, many manufacturers make golf bags fit for this purpose. These bags are generally larger in size than the stand bag. For players who use golf carts, weight isn’t as big a priority as it is for those who carry. Because of this, these bags can be made of heavier, sturdier material. The cart bag usually has a little more storage compared to the carry bag too, while the frame of the bag is a little heavier and stronger.

There is plenty of room in these bags to house all your golf gadgets and accessories such as rangefinders, swing analyzers, or simpler bits like balls, tees, apparel etc. The base of the cart bag is made to perfectly fit the area provided on the golf cart – although given that each golf cart is different, this requires some versatility on the part of manufacturers. This, along with the cart strap, makes the bag stay in place without moving around.

A golf cart will invariably also bang your clubs around more than walking/carrying would. Because of this, these bags usually have more dividers, which offer some protection against this friction. A cart golf bag is a no brainer if you use golf carts by default. You can still sometimes carry them if need be, but it is not as comfortable and convenient as a stand golf bag, so it is very much horses for courses.

Staff/Tour Bags

These are the types of golf bags you see caddies on the PGA Tour carrying. They come with every amenity bar the kitchen sink. Usually they have a company name or sponsor printed on the side. Tour bags are generally very large and made of leather. They have more storage than any mere mortal (except my wife) will ever need. The pockets are huge and the dividers for the clubs are plush and large. There aren’t very many golfers who will need this type of bag, especially not among newbies like yourself. Typically these bags are very expensive and tremendously heavy. While they will work with a golf cart, you will probably get a workout just lifting it from the car! If you are a body builder, a professional, or someone who just really hates their caddie, then this may be the best golf bag for you. Otherwise, give it a wide berth.

Travel Golf Bags

These golf bags are made to protect your precious clubs while travelling. These are specialty bags that aren’t really conducive to regular play. Travel bags are manufactured by many different brands, but, although you can find them in all sizes and colours, there isn’t usually too much in it – other than durability and cushion. That said, good-quality travel bags do a tremendous job of keeping your clubs safe while on the road or in the air. We all know how hard airlines can be on luggage, and at the price travel golf bags generally go for, this is a no-brainer to buy to keep your babies safely wrapped up.

Conclusion

It goes without saying that a golf bag is an essential part of any player’s artillery. But it isn’t just about functionality – it’s also about protection and safety, not to mention being accommodating to your own personal needs. Depending on what you’re after, the level and quality of features will play an important role too. Ultimately though, the first piece of the puzzle is to give due consideration to the type of golf bag you require, and then dig a little deeper into the various brands specialising in that niche. With the tips, advice and criteria we’ve laid out above, hopefully the path to your bag of choice has become illuminated, and you can now find a good home for your golf clubs – without shelling out too many greenbacks in the process!