The main difference between a cart bag and a stand bag is that a cart bag is larger, has more storage, doesn’t have legs, and is designed to be attached to a cart while a carry bag is smaller, lighter, and has legs that extend when the bag is placed on the ground.
What is a stand bag in golf?
A stand bag (also referred to as a carry bag) is a golf bag that is designed with legs that extend when you place the bag on the ground to help it stand up on its own.
Stand bags are lighter and designed to be carried on your back while you play. They typically range from 3-7lbs. when empty. They also will have backpack-style straps so you can balance the weight of the bag between both shoulders. All of these features make stand bags much easier to walk 18 holes with.
Stand bags are the most common seen on the average golf course by amateur golfers and for good reason.
In addition, to their design making them much easier to carry for 18 hole, they are also much more versatile. You can easily put a stand bag onto a cart or push cart, so if you only have one bag, a stand bag is a good choice.
They are also generally smaller and lighter which makes them easy to fit in your trunk and easier (and less expensive to travel with.
Be sure to check out my favorite carry bags, here.
Can play anywhere
Easy to travel with
Less storage space
Fewer club dividers
Pockets may not be accessible when on a cart
What is a cart bag in golf?
A cart bag is a larger bag that is designed to be attached to the back of a power cart or, sometimes, a pushcart.
A cart bag has more storage pockets and they are often positioned in such a way to make them easy to access when it’s attached to a cart.
Cart bags also typically have more club dividers to keep your clubs safe and organized. You’ll have up to 14 clubs with you on the course and many cart bags will have 14 club dividers so that each club gets its own slot. Look for bags that have full-length dividers so that the handles of the clubs don’t get stuck on each other at the bottom.
This helps to keep your clubs organized and minimizes how much they get knocked into each other. An often overlooked benefit is that when you forget a club somewhere, like on the green, the empty slot is a more obvious reminder. So if you’re a little absent-minded like me, having a 14-slot bag can save you from having to buy a new wedge!
The main downsides to the cart bag are weight and lack of versatility. They often range in weight from 5-10lbs. But, not only are the bags themselves a little heavier than stand bags…if you actually utilize all that storage space and load it up, then they can get a lot heavier.
Cart bags usually have only one strap as well. This means that the extra weight will be completely on one shoulder if you have to carry them. It’s really not ideal to walk 18 holes carrying a cart bag if you’re not a tour caddy getting paid to do it.
Cart bags often work well for attaching to a pushcart as well. Since they are often designed to have most of the pockets facing forward on a cart, you’ll get the same benefits with a pushcart. Check out my breakdown of the best pushcart golf bags here.
Lots of storage space
Designed for riding a cart
More club dividers
Uses more trunk space
Higher baggage fees when traveling
Which one is best for you?
If you have to choose one and you aren’t sure, I would recommend most golfers get a carry bag. You can easily attach a carry bag to a pushcart or a power cart, but it’s not so easy to decide to carry your cart bag if you need to.
However, if you are fairly certain that you are never going to carry your bag, then a cart bag has some good benefits. You can probably fit everything you need in the bag and you never have to worry if you remembered to pack your rain gear or extra golf balls. Just make sure you don’t pack it so full that you hurt your back taking it out of your trunk.
Another approach for the avid golfer is to have both. Sure, this is expensive and seems like overkill, but there are benefits.
If you have more than 14 clubs and you decide which ones to play on a given day based on the course and conditions, then having a big cart bag at home to store those extra clubs can be useful. You just have to remember to plan ahead.
It’s also nice to have a quality cart bag for events like golf outings or an invite to a local country club. They generally look a little nicer and if you don’t use the carry bag that often, it will stay a little cleaner than your everyday carry bag.
Are Cart Bags Bigger Than Stand Bags?
Typically, bart bags are bigger and heavier than stand bags. They are not designed to be carried like stand bags. The additional pockets and storage area also means that they tend to be much heavier when fully loaded.
Are Cart Bags Worth It?
Cart bags can be good or bad quality like any product. Well made cart bags will usually last quite a long time. If you don’t carry your bag then having a quality cart bag is a great investment.