Different Types Of Golf Bags Explained

Click To Share

As if golf terminology wasn’t already confusing enough, companies regularly produce at least a half dozen different styles of golf bags.

It would be impossible to detail every type of bag, but we figured we could help out a little by giving a general overview of the most common types. By putting all the information we have in one place, we’re hoping it makes your decision of what bag is best for you a little easier.

Cart Bags

As the name suggests, a Cart bag is designed specifically for golfers who travel via cart during most of their rounds. In most pro shops, these are the biggest bags available and come with more pockets for storage than you can fill. To keep your clubs in line, most bags have 14 dividers, one for each club. One of the top characteristics of Cart bags is that most pockets are specifically designed for a single purpose.

This means that your rangefinder has its own built-in pocket, you’ll have more than one fabric-lined place to keep your valuables and multiple pockets for balls. This means you can separate your competitive round balls from the ones you find in the woods and take out only after already losing a few during the round—when you need to limit financial damage on the day.

To get your Cart bag from parking lot to cart, it comes with a single strap, rather than a backpack style. Once you are at the cart, there will be at least one spot to loop the standard strap through to help it remain in place throughout your round.

If you miss this loop, you run the risk of the bag falling off the cart at some point, which could lead to serious damage to your clubs. You’ll need to be careful that you keep it on flat ground to avoid it tipping over as it will not have any kind of stand.

Besides cart use, it is common for someone to use this type of bag on a pushcart. Since you are not bearing the burden of the bag’s entire weight, the extra storage is a nice trade-off for pushing a bag that weighs a few pounds extra. If you see someone carrying a cart bag while they walk the course, chances are something went wrong for them that day (i.e. broken pushcart, etc.).

Check out our guide on the Best Golf Bags For Push Cart Users.

Carry Bags

A Carry bag is a hybrid of Stand bags and Sunday bags. It is not small enough to be considered a Sunday bag, and most of the time does not have a stand, obviously excluding it from the Stand Bag category.

Carry bags usually have between 2 to 3 dividers for clubs, compared to the standard 4 to 6 on Stand bags. This gives you the opportunity to carry all of your clubs, but with the limited slots to place them, they could become tangled more easily.

One challenge that presents itself with this type of bag is keeping your club heads and the bag itself dry. For example, when the course is wet and you’re in a situation where you need to drop your bag and head to the green to chip and then putt, you bring a towel or tee to balance your other clubs and keep the handles dry.

For around the rest of the course, companies have been starting to add miniature stands onto this type of bag that needs to be manually put out. Another accommodation is spike-like fixtures at the top of the bag, which keep the club heads off the ground and prevents them from banging into each other.

In general, these bags are known for being easy to carry since they are lighter than most bags and have comfortable shoulder straps. In years past, smaller golf bags have only had a single carrying strap, but today they are equipped with the same backpack-style that most golfers are accustomed to.

Storage is generally not a concern with Carry bags. On most models, there are pockets on each side that gives you ample space to bring anything you might need during your round along with you. Due to the natural lightweight design of this kind of bag, most people do not entirely fill their bag pockets.

Check out our breakdown of the Best Carry Golf Bags.

Stand Bags

Arguably the most common type of bag today, a Stand bag is the ideal option for someone who regularly switches it up between carrying, push-carting and riding in a cart. All things considered, this is the definition of an “everyday” bag.

Often these bags fall into the same category as carry golf bags.

Stand bags are far from a one-size-fits-all design. In fact, there are countless variations produced by numerous companies. These variants have different numbers of dividers and layouts, as well as pocket placement and aesthetic color designs. Outside of headcovers and clothing, it is the most prominent place to show off your personality.

Where these bags are uniform is the stand and way it is carried. Nearly all bags in this category feature a standard 2-leg stand which pops out when you place the base of the bag on the ground. A design perfected over the years, the eventual demise of this type of bag is usually caused by the stand breaking down.

For carrying straps, even if the design slightly varies, it all boils down to having two backpack-style straps with which you carry your bag. As bag “technology” has continued to improve, straps have become more adjustable to accommodate golfers of all sizes.

Compared to other types of golf bags on the market, Stand bags find themselves squarely in the middle regarding size and weight. Bottom line, they are not the lightest bag on the market, but have a manageable weight should you want to carry your clubs. This same notion applies to size.

Stand bags are sizable enough to suit your storage needs without being overly bulky. For a junior golfer, carrying might present some challenges, but most brands produce a smaller version suited for this faction of golfers.

If you’ve had enough of walking or want to head back out for an extra 9 after a morning round, you don’t have to worry about changing bags. With a bag this size, it can be safely secured on a cart or pushcart. Like Cart bags, Stand bags will have places to loop straps through to keep your bag snug during the round.

Staff Bags

A Staff bag, most commonly seen on your TV being used by professionals, is the largest type of golf bag on the market. In general, you will not see this type at your local course, other than by those who tote these monstrosities after winning one in a raffle.

In some cases, Staff bags are so large that they will not be able to fit on standard carts and pushcarts. In the past, this was more common, but today manufacturers tend to build their bags available for public consumers within the confines of standard measurements for carts.

You’d be far better off getting a bag that is designed for a push cart or a bag that is designed for cart riders.

One thing that is abundantly clear is that a Staff bag is too heavy for most golfers to carry on their own and still play a full 18. Instead, any golfer that has one of these and wishes to walk the course should do so utilizing the services of a caddy.

One of the main things that separate Staff bag from Cart bags is the material it is made from. On the whole, they are higher quality and are designed to repel rain better thanks to a harder outer shell. Additionally, the divider number is significantly reduced compared to cart bags with only 3 to 6 separate slots to place your clubs compared to 14.

Sunday Bags

Sunday bags are the smallest golf bag on the market, as well as the lightest. The purpose of this bag is not to play a competitive round, but a casual one. Due to its small size, you are not able to carry 14 clubs at once, instead, most bags hold about 5 clubs, give or take a couple.

Since there is such little space, a Sunday bag is an ideal option for taking a few clubs to the range. Carrying your bag can present a challenge to some as most bags that fall under this category have just a single shoulder strap or only a handle.

Unlike most bag styles that feature two backpack style straps, the main focus of a Sunday bag is to eliminate weight by any means necessary. Weigh reduction extends to what fits in your bag considering most have only one or two pockets if any.

Some other features of Sunday bags, or lack thereof I should say, is the absence of any kind of stand system as well as club dividers. Regarding the physical composition of this type of bag, it can be solid or collapsible, making it easy to store when not in use.

CLICK HERE to check out our guide on the Best Sunday Golf Bags.

Travel Bags

You’ve undoubtedly seen a golf bag rain cover. Nearly every bag sold has one. Now take the concept of how it protects your club’s heads and expand it to the entire bag—that’s the purpose of a Travel bag. It’s essentially a suitcase/briefcase for your golf bag.

One feature that is growing in popularity is wheels located on the bottom of the bag so that one could easily transport their clubs through an airport or elsewhere. Given that these bags are large enough to entirely enclose a full golf bag, the wheels are critical to most people being able to easily move it any distance at all.

There are two main types of Travel bags. Like suitcases, there are ones with hardcovers and soft covers. Despite the varying materials, these bags have been engineered by all of the top brands to protect precious golf clubs in even as they endure the most difficult travel arrangements.

CLICK HERE to read our reviews of the Best Travel Bags.

Photo of author
Mike Regan
Mike is a weekend golfer from Connecticut and a student of the game. Any day he keeps it under 80 is a good day. When he's not writing about golf or playing, he works in higher education fundraising.