Carrying your golf bag is something most golfers enjoy, and many prefer. With your bag across your shoulders, you see more of the course and give yourself time to assess your situation and plan your next shot.
We can’t hit your shot for you, but we can absolutely make sure that you have the gear that will help your game the most. With that in mind, here are some top choices for carry golf bags.
Sun Mountain 2.5+ | Best Overall
Inside and out, the Sun Mountain 2.5+ combines high-quality materials and a top-notch design into a golf bag a cut above the rest, not to mention the lightest.
It would be easy to just list out all of the features this bag has, but you can read the product description for that. Instead, we’re going to talk about why Sun Mountain does some of what it does, and why it works for golfers everywhere.
Right off the bat, there are two different divider layouts available. The first is a four-way divider and the other is fourteen-way, with a spot for every club. Four dividers provide enough division for you to come up with a club layout that separates your clubs just enough to keep them off of each other and the fourteen dividers give you the feel of a cart bag without the added size and weight.
For someone transitioning from a regular rider to a walker, you can use this bag to transition bag styles without too much difference.
Carrying or lifting your bag is no problem thanks to superior shoulder straps and handles. The shoulder straps are made from high-density foam and thanks a more durable layout tan a traditional backpack setup, you can also carry this bag over just one shoulder.
When you need to lift the bag in or out of your car, there is an ergonomic handle at the top of the bag and place to grab one at the bottom, making it easy and comfortable to lift. The same principle applies to get the bag on a golf cart, completing the overall easy carrying experience.
The last top feature we’ll touch on is the stand, which is made from highly durable carbon fiber. One of the top complaints golfers have about their bags after a few years is that the stand has started to wear down or does not sit properly. With the sturdy legs and protection at the top of the bag, this bag has no problem standing up to the perils of trunk travel and general usage.
Titleist Players 4 | Runner Up
Titleist owns the #1 ball on tour, and they might own the #1 bag brand for amateur golfers as well. The Titleist Players 4 is durable and easy to carry and provides just enough storage to carry the essentials while also discouraging carrying more than you need.
Unlike bags that have more pockets than holes you’re going to play, the six on this bag provide ample room.
Given its designation as a carry bag, it makes sense that our favorite aspect of this bag are the straps. To get things started, the straps attach via buckles so that you can clean or replace them as needed or take them off entirely if you only use the bag while on a cart. One of the biggest benefits of this is that you can slide extra padding onto the straps if you need some more support, though we doubt you’ll need to do this.
Making things easier for golfers of all sizes is that the strap system is self-balancing and you do not need to fuss over straps like you do when wearing a backpack to find the perfect spot.
For club storage, there are four full-length dividers that will keep your clubs from excessively rubbing against each other. On older bags, people used to have some trouble putting the standout, but with the Players 4, you have a hinged bottom which keeps things stable and gives you a responsive feel when putting the bag down.
Besides all these great features, there are ten color options to choose from, so even when you decide to copy your friend who bought this bag, you won’t have an exact match completely.
TaylorMade Stand Bag 5.0 | Budget Option
Sometimes you don’t want to pay several hundred dollars for the thing that carries your clubs around. Sometimes you’re transitioning from a regular rider and want to see how you like walking before going all-in on an expensive bag. Other times, it just makes more sense to buy a bag for a hundred dollars, especially when the quality far exceeds the price. That’s what we have here with the TaylorMade 5.0.
One potential drawback is the weight of this bag, which is seven pounds. While it does not seem outrageous, it is worth noting that this is on the heavy side compared to the other models on this list. In order to accommodate for this, we recommend taking a look at what’s in your bag and seeing what can come out.
To put this in perspective, I’ve come across people who will complain about bag weight and then walk 18 holes with a club weight they used to warm up. Basically, if it sounds funny to say you have in your bag during a round, it should probably come out.
If comfort is your thing, and really it should be everyone’s thing, you’ll be happy to know that there is a heavily padded cushion for your lower back. To go a step further, TaylorMade also reinforced the shoulder straps with extra padding.
To separate your clubs, there is a four-way organizer and to hold all your golf supplies, there’s a half dozen pockets. While TaylorMade gives you the option do what you want with some pockets, others are made for a specific purpose. Most notably is the velour-lined valuables pouch and water bottle pocket located at the bottom of the bag.
Sun Mountain 4.5LS 14-Way | Best Mid-Sized Stand Bag
When you can’t really make up your mind between a walking bag and a cart bag, you go somewhere in-between; the Sun Mountain 4.5Ls 14-way bag.
As the name tells you, this bag has fourteen dividers, each of which stretch the length of the bag. The bag itself is pitched when standing straight up so that clubs of different lengths do not interfere with one another, preventing the same kind of damage that might happen without all of the dividers. All in all, this bag will protect your clubs better than your bag now.
Since this bag is a bit larger than most carry bags, it lends itself well to the golfers who bounce back and forth between walking and riding. Having fourteen dividers and a full-length pouch will draw some comparisons between this and a cart bag, but the lightweight and smaller pockets reel it back in to stay classified as a carry bag. To keep your bag secure while riding, the bag has a cart strap pass-through that runs behind the clothing pocket so you do not lose any access to your pockets.
What tips the scale for this bag is the carrying setup. On the base of the bag is a lower back cushion that has airflow tunnels so that sweat won’t collect as quickly on your lower back. To sweeten the pot, Sun Mountain put in shoulder straps that are made of a three-layer foam which provides more than enough support to carry the bag despite being on the bigger side of things.
Sun Mountain Women’s 2.5+ | Best Carry Bag for Women
When you get to be as big as Sun Mountain, you can start to expand your horizons and serve a wider range of people. Recognizing that not all golfers are men and that there was a faction almost completely unrepresented on the market, Sun Mountain has started to produce golf equipment geared specifically to women.
The Sun Mountain Women’s 2.5+ is the same length of the men’s bag of the same name, but has been slimmed down and had its weight reduced as a result. Despite men’s and women’s clubs not being the same length, the bags remain the same length to maintain proper balance.
The biggest difference-maker with these shoulder straps is the natural contour which lends itself to being carried at a more comfortable position. This coupled with the straps being made of high-density foam sets you up for an enjoyable round with your bag across your shoulders. The X-Strap system designed by Sun Mountain also lets you take your pick of carrying the bag over one or two shoulders.
One thing that Sun Mountain does well when designing women’s products is providing something designed specifically for women without looking like it came out of a Barbie Dreamhouse. With three unique designs, women aren’t getting stuck with the only the bright pink bag that the pro shop had anymore. Also, there are four dividers that follow the customary design of most Sun Mountain carry bags.
What to Look for When Choosing A Carry Bag
For a carry bag, the primary features that you need to look for are a cooler pouch, a spot to clip on a towel, ample room for balls and accessories and a place to keep an umbrella.
When you’re in a cart, you have places to keep and store coolers and drinks. When you’re walking, you do not, thus making the cooler pouch one of the most important. Water on the course is usually spaced out with a few holes in-between each cooler and during the summer, thirst does not discriminate. The same goes for a towel clip. If you need to wipe the sweat off your hands, face or clubs, you’ll need immediate access so as to not have any hindrance on your gameplay.
Having enough room for balls, tees, and gloves is pretty self-explanatory. Without being able to carry these essential supplies, you’ll just end up walking the course while the rest of your group plays. (Your friends will give you a ball or tee if you really need it, but this applies more to playing by yourself.) Having an umbrella is essential as when the rain comes, there’s no place to hide when you’re walking the course. Instead of being able to hop in the cart and get back to the 19th hole for a needed break, you’ll have to make the trek by foot.
Bags aren’t like drivers and irons, you don’t need to replace them every couple years (or every year if that’s your thing). When you buy a golf bag, you do so with the expectation that it will last you about a half dozen years, and longer if you take proper care of it.
Protecting your bag comes down to if you treat it right. One of the biggest mistakes people make is overstuffing certain pockets while leaving others completely empty. This will put undue strain on the zippers and lead to the zippers breaking entirely. Regardless of bag durability, having zippers and pockets that don’t work will have you heading back to the pro shop before you should be.
As great as a new bag is, having to relearn where everything can be a pain. By keeping yours in great shape, you’ll be getting the most out of it as possible.
Given that the intended purpose of a “carry” golf bag is to carry it while playing golf, it makes sense that you will want to minimize the weight of it. Even if you are in pretty good physical shape, carrying your bag on a hot day could lead to fatigue that negatively impacts your game. Taking all this into consideration, you’re going to want to keep your bag as light as possible, and since only carrying a few balls is not an option for most, the bag itself is an ideal place to save weight.
In the early days of golf, bags were made of heavy leather and caddies were used for almost every round. As a matter of expense and materials improving to the point where golfers could carry their own bags, walkers have become more common. When you shop for a carry bag today, you’re going to try to keep it under about 6 pounds, giving preference to a lighter bag when possible.
With this type of bag, you’ll be carrying a full, 14-club set. To keep your bag organized, you’ll need at least a few dividers. Most bags will have 4-6 dividers, though there is an increasing number of bags that will have 14 dividers, just as a cart bag would.
When setting up your bag, it is best to keep similar length clubs as close together as possible to prevent any damage that could occur from clubheads hitting against the shafts of other clubs. Most notably, this happens when wedges are placed directly next to your woods and driver due to the drastic length difference. An easy way to avoid this is by placing your shorter clubs at the bottom of the bag, relative to how your clubs hang once the stand is out. Putters do not run into this issue as frequently since most players use a cover, which protects both the putter and the other clubs in your bag.
Dividers that span the length of your bag are extremely valuable as they are the key element to keeping your clubs properly spaced throughout the bag. Full-length dividers keep your grips from catching on one another, something that ordinarily makes it more difficult to take clubs in and out of your bag. Everybody knows this look, the one where a club is stuck a foot above the rest, and nobody likes it. Thankfully there are golfers at golf companies (go figure), and modern golf bags prevent this type of issue.
Common Questions About Carry Bags
Are Sun Mountain Golf bags good?
There’s no need to sugarcoat this, but I will anyway. Yes, Sun Mountain bags are good.
They have built a fantastic reputation at golf courses across America riding on the coattails of their golf bags. Just like when you see a Callaway driver, Vokey wedge or Scotty Cameron putter, you know that you’re looking at a top-notch golf bag when it says Sun Mountain on the side. Whether it is a carry bag, cart bag or anything else that carries golf clubs, Sun Mountain does not miss when they release a new golf bag.
What is the lightest golf bag on the market?
Based on our review of the market, the Sun Mountain 2.5 is the lightest bag available. At just 2.95 pounds, carrying this bag empty is as if you are carrying nothing at all. Obviously, once you load it with 14 clubs and enough balls to make it through the round the weight will go up, but in terms of base weight, you aren’t finding something much lighter than the Sun Mountain 2.5.
We know there are Sunday bags out there that weigh less but they were not considered. In this instance, we are only looking at bags capable of fitting your entire set of clubs with sufficient storage for the average golfer.
Can golf stand bags be used on a cart?
To put it right out there, yes, stand bags can be used on a cart.
It is almost unreasonable to expect golfers who frequently walk to do so every time. Sometimes it’s because you’re playing a charity scramble, other times it’s because you’re playing on Sunday morning and your course mandates the use of a cart, and other times, it’s because you simply don’t feel like walking. Regardless of your rationale, you’ll have no problem transporting your stand bag via cart thanks to a convenient spot where you can loop the cart strap through, safely securing your clubs for the round.