Some golfers don't give their bag much thought — they simply look for what's on sale and grab it if it seems to fit their needs. But you're going to have to live with your golf bag for a few years, and there are a lot of factors you should probably consider.
A lot of golfers own more than one bag, so they're usually looking for one each that fits perhaps the days when they ride and the rounds in which they walk. But most folks are looking for a golf bag that will work for them in every situation. Regardless, a golf bag is great if it has ample storage space for everything important, including outerwear, balls and tees. It needs to be well constructed and have a good strap system as well as stand (if it's a stand bag). It must have a divided top that allows the golfer to easily remove and replace clubs, and all good bags have a functional valuables pocket. Added bonuses might include insulated bottle pockets and pass-throughs for cart straps.
To help you find the best golf bag for you, we tested some of the most popular golf bags on the market. All of the bags we featured in this article have a lot going for them, even the value brands. We took every bag out to the course, tested them on golf carts, push carts, and carried them when appropriate. So if you're in the market for a new bag, take a look.
What is the best golf bag in 2022?
We found that PING Hoofer sets the standard for stand bags certainly. It's been around for decades and just continues to evolve. The latest version of the Hoofer doesn't disappoint. It's still a great carry bag, coming in at a very reasonable 5.5 pounds, is comfortable to tote on the course, and works equally well on a push cart or a powered golf cart.
If you’re playing in all weathers, the best waterproof golf bag is the Sun Mountain H2NO Lite Speed Stand Bag. The bag is completely waterproof, is lightweight and well-constructed, and has dual straps, making it extremely comfortable to carry.
Finally, the Titleist Players 4 Plus swept the best players bag spot on our list as one of the most popular golf bags in America. Even if you're not playing Titleist clubs, this bag tells other players that you're serious about your game. It's a classic look combined with great functionality.
The best golf bags 2022
When you think about carry stand bags, the PING Hoofer is probably the first one that comes to mind. After all, it's been the standard in carry bags for the past three decades, and probably the most comfortable carry bag of all time over those years, having innovated several features that are standard today. The latest version of the Hoofer doesn't disappoint. It's still a great carry bag, coming in at a very reasonable 5.5 pounds, is comfortable to tote on the course and works equally well on a push cart or a powered golf cart. A pass-through for the golf cart strap under the pockets is particularly helpful when mounting on the back of a golf cart because it gives the golfer access to all 11 pockets. On most carry bags, the strap obstructs one or more pockets, making them difficult to access or even useless.
Another great feature is the fact that the Hoofer bag has two valuables pockets. One is velour-lined, which is great for a cell phone, watch, or other jewelry you might want to protect. The other is larger, so there's plenty of room for your keys, wallet, and all kinds of stuff. The latest Hoofer bag also has a magnetic pocket above the ball pocket, perfect for the range finder — this is crucial for walkers, who won't want to fumble with zippers gaining access to and putting away their distance measuring devices. It's also very secure, so the rangefinder won't drop out like it could from some bags that have zippers.
Overall, with 11 pockets covering 22 liters of volume, there's a lot of places to store all your stuff, including rain gear, extra jackets or towels, or even a sandwich or two. A pocket for a water bottle is extra large on the lower left side, so you can carry two-water balls there or even a quart-size container of your favorite beverage. It's also easy to reach if you're carrying. Another thoughtful feature is that the rain hood is stored under the comfort pad on the side of the bag to provide additional cushioning for walkers. The Hoofer also has a spot for a sharpie or pencil, a small towel ring, and a velcro patch to put your golf glove, although many golfers may still feel more comfortable hooking their golf glove around one of the straps. And speaking of straps, the double-strap system is among the most comfortable of carry bags and can be easily converted into a single strap for use by a caddie who might be double bagging.
The only possible knock regarding the Hoofer is that some golfers report that clubs can be difficult to get in and out of the bag at times. But that's a common concern for all carry bags, often alleviated by standing the bag straight up to create a little more room. This brings us to another point: The base of the bag moves with the stand mechanism. When the legs aren't extended, it sits perfectly flat on the ground when upright.
Planning a trip to Scotland or Ireland, where you might walk 36 holes a day? Well, some of that will undoubtedly come in inclement weather, which could include horizontal rain and cold conditions. Those are the times that you not only need rain gear for your body, but it'd be nice to have it for your clubs, too and the Sun Mountain H2NO Lite Speed Stand Bag has that covered.
That should come as no surprise, though, since Sun Mountain makes some of the best and highly sophisticated outerwear in the business. They simply applied that technology to a line of golf bags in 2007 and have been improving it ever since. In this case, the H2NO comes in at just under five pounds, has a comfortable, adjustable dual strap system, and a flat bottom that will allow the bag to stand upright if need be, say, for a powered cart or push cart.
Besides being waterproof, however, the H2NO Lite Speed stand bag has all kinds of cool features. The bag has a dual-compartment, lined valuables pocket, which allows you to separate your wallet from your keys or cell phone, for example. You won't find any magnetic pockets because the special water-tight zippers are necessary to seal the bag completely from moisture. So access to the large ball pocket, which has two zipper handles for example, does require two hands. It's a bit of an inconvenience, but nothing that should detract from the overall quality and functionality of this bag. Just remember to zip up that ball pocket after you remove a ball, so you don't lose anything from it. The large apparel pocket will accommodate waterproofs and a jacket. A large pouch above the ball pocket can easily handle a 32-ounce bottle or two smaller bottles. And the pocket on the left side is big enough for a couple of lunches with room left over.
This bag also has an excellent stand system that expands and retracts effortlessly. There's a slot for a pencil and/or sharpie as well as a velcro holder for a golf glove or two. The towel ring is big enough to hold a large towel. And the umbrella holder and rain hood function well, which is important when those skies inevitably open on the links.
Certainly one of the most popular bags in America, Titleist's stand bags make for a solid choice that's not only highly functional but honestly, says something about the golfer. It's like playing Titleist Pro V1s; if you have a Titleist golf bag — even if you're not playing Titleist clubs — it tells other players that you're serious about your game. It's a classic look combined with great functionality.
But looks aren't everything, and fortunately, the Titleist Players 4 Plus backs up those looks with lots of great features. While it doesn't have some of the latest gadgets like magnetic pockets, this is still a bag that's highly functional. One of the features we like the best is the deep, waterproof valuables pocket, which gives you plenty of room for keys, wallet, cell phone and anything else you want to protect without fear of it falling out, even if you left it unzipped. It also has two water bottle pockets, which is great for anyone walking, but one of the pockets could be used for a rangefinder if you wanted easy access instead of having to zip and unzip another pocket. In total, there are eight pockets on this bag, including a large ball pocket and expandable full-length apparel pocket.
The Titleist Players 4 is also very lightweight at just 4.3 pounds. This stand bag features two high-grade aluminum legs and a hinged bottom to provide stability whether you're got the bag vertical or the legs extended. And the premium double strap is cushioned and distributes weight evenly, making it a very good walking bag. It works fairly well on a push cart or powered cart, too. The bag also has an ample towel ring that will accommodate most sizes. And the tour-like handle on top combined with the loop under the ball pocket makes this an easy bag to get in and out of the car. The Titleist Players 4 Plus also features two velcro glove patches, a slot for a sharpie or pencil, and it comes in 11 color combinations, including a Navy/white/red colorway that features an American flag embroidered on the side saddle pocket.
The Fairway 14 bag from Callaway is the answer for anyone who either uses a push cart or powered golf cart most of the time. With a new 14-way divider "Low-Rider" top with a rubber "overmold" putter well, and plenty of space both inside and in the pockets, you can put everything you want in this large and well-thought-out stand bag that works well on both push carts and powered golf carts.
The 14-way dividers aren't for everyone, but this one works well. The trick when using one is to basically memorize where each club goes so you don't find yourself searching for the empty spot when replacing a club during a round. That simply comes with playing with the bag for a while and developing your own system of consistently delegating each club to a corresponding slot. With that said, once you are comfortable with your club assignments, having a 14-way divider is very beneficial because the clubs never get stuck while trying to remove or replace one.
A pass-through for the cart strap is another great bonus for anyone who uses a powered cart (or a push cart that has straps) because it gives you unlimited access to all your pockets because the strap isn't covering any of them. If you take a lot of golf balls on the course, or you're a collector of found balls, this bag's ball pocket easily stores more than two dozen golf balls, plus the other five pockets are also very large, including the lined valuables pocket, which includes a clasp for your keys.
Although this isn't a bag you're likely to carry, the stand is still pretty important because it allows you to take it to the range or around the putting green and have it stand up on its own, which is especially helpful if the range doesn't have racks for bags. There's also a magnetic pocket for quick access to a rangefinder or GPS device, which is also a great feature if you're using a push cart with the bag. Eleven color combinations, removable straps, new metal zip pulls on the pockets, a new alloy towel ring, and improved, durable fabric are also part of the package that makes the Callaway Fairway 14 a solid choice.
Founded just a couple years ago by former mini-tour player Sam Goulden, MNML is a company that caters to the way many golfers play the game today. The Southern California company's signature product is the MNML MV2 stand bag, which addresses the preferences and needs of younger golfers and golfers young at heart. On one hand, the MNML bag is indeed a minimal product with a clean, sleek, uncomplicated look without excess pockets. And it is made with recycled plastic material, which makes it environmentally friendly. It is easy to carry and lightweight, coming in at just five pounds.
But just as impressive are the cool tech features that most young golfers (and even some older ones) will enjoy. The days of turning the cell phone off at most courses seem to be over, so the MNML MV2 comes with a charger that can be juiced with an included solar panel or at home with a USB cord, and it comes with a Bluetooth speaker that really projects quality sound, so for anyone wanting to hear their own tunes, or even listen to a ballgame, MNML has you covered. There's also a cool pouch on the upper left side of the bag to mount your cell phone if you'd like to video your swing. It is a bit on the snug side, however, so if you have a large cell phone — especially with a protective cover — it may be a little difficult to use, but we love the thought. When shipped, the bag also comes in a full-length cloth cover, which can be used to protect the bag when not using it — or as a laundry bag.
As for the pockets, there aren't many, but they are very functional. And three of them open and close using strong magnets, which is a huge plus, making it much easier to access balls, a rangefinder or valuables. Speaking of valuables, an inner zipped pocket inside the large right magnetic pocket is perfect for keeping things hidden, and the left side insulated large pocket is good for storing a cold six-pack of drinks. You could even put ice in there with them. The front ball pocket, also magnetic, isn't particularly large, so you can't put two dozen balls in there, but unless you're a beginner or 36-handicap, you shouldn't need that many anyway. Simply put, if you're a ball collector — e.g., someone who hunts golf balls on the course — this probably isn't the bag for you, but if you love to golf with a modern flair, the MNML MV2 is a great choice.
If you haven't heard of Vessel, it's definitely a bag you should check out, whether it's this outstanding carry bag, one of the company's cart bags or a tour bag, which Vessel makes for several touring professionals, including USA Solheim Cup teams. For this report, however, we're focusing on the Vessel VLS Golf stand bag, which is ideal for anyone who does a lot of walking and carrying their bag or for anyone who simply wants a compact, high-quality product that's easy to get in and out of the trunk and onto the course.
Being a luxury brand, Vessel is priced higher than most other golf bags on the market.(The Carlsbad, Calif., company also produces outstanding tennis bags as well as backpacks and other pieces of luggage.) This is certainly a great example of you getting what you pay for. The VLS Golf stand bag, which retails just north of $300, has all kinds of great features, not the least of which is its outstanding craftsmanship and materials. These handmade bags are well-thought-out, especially for the golfer who carries them. Of the 10 bags we tried, none was more comfortable. As long as you don't overload it, it's almost as effortless to carry this bag — and in the case of a hilly course, less effort — than it takes to use a push cart. And while this bag would certainly work on a push cart, it's best designed for carrying with an ultra-comfortable and flexible "EQZ" strap system, nice cushioning for your back, and pockets that don't protrude so they never rub you the wrong way.
The six pockets are highly-functional with a valuables pouch that has ample space for a wallet, cell phone, and keys. Over the ball pocket, there's also a magnetic pocket, which provides easy access to your rangefinder. And while the pocket that contains the rain hood isn't particularly large, it has enough space for outerwear that you might need to store. The rain hood, by the way, is more substantial than you'll find with most bags and fairly easy to attach.
The Vessel VLS Golf Bag comes with a four-way top, and despite its compact size, we found that clubs seem to go in and out of it fairly easily, even with legs extended. The bag also has an innovative base that moves with the stand mechanism, meaning it can stand straight up on a flat surface when needed, certainly making it adaptable for those who use the bag occasionally when taking a powered golf cart or a push cart.
Certainly one of the most versatile golf bags on the market, the OGIO WOODĒ 8 Hybrid is also one of the most innovative with several ideas that set it apart from others on the market. OGIO, which is now owned by Carlsbad, Calif.-based Callaway Golf, is also known for its distinctive backpacks and durable luggage. Its golf bags are very much inline with those products.
The WOODĒ top is one of OGIO's coolest innovations. Unlike traditional golf bags that typically put the woods at the top of the bag, the WOODĒ system lines them up on the side for easy access. Each of those four slots (one could be used for a putter if you only have three woods) has a corresponding row to the side for the irons, wedges, and other clubs, making them easy to see and very easy to remove and replace. It's hardly the only trait, though, that really stands out on this bag.
Despite its size, the OGIO WOODĒ 8 Hybrid is a bag you could carry if you wanted to, though it's probably best on a push cart or powered golf cart. Still, the stand system is solid, and the Fit Disc Self Balancing strap system works well for anyone who wants to carry. At 6.5 pounds, if you don't overload it, it's actually fairly comfortable to carry.
But really, it's all about storage and looks with this bag. This rig has six outer pockets plus a pouch for a large water bottle and another large pouch that could work for a variety of things you might want to stuff in there, like a hoodie, for example. Two of the pockets use snap-back fasteners, so they are very easy to access. The lower of the two snap-backs would be good for a rangefinder if you're walking, while the higher and larger snap-back pocket is great for valuables and even includes a clasp to securely fasten to your keys so you can't lose them. There's also a nifty three-ball "low-profile ball silo" receptacle just under the handle of the bag, so you can put a sleeve of balls in plain view. And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the color schemes — in addition to basic colors like black and blue, there are stunning patterns like Aloha Palms, Hyper Camo, Warp Speed, or We Trust, for example. Those bags look pretty wild, and you'll never have trouble finding yours at the bag drop after a round.
If you're looking for value, the Zero Friction stand bag is a great choice. It comes in under $200 retail, and when you order it, you also get a Zero Friction Compression-Fit, one-size-fits-all golf glove, as well as a matching 40-inch slotted waffle towel that you throw over the club you use the least (a 3-wood or long-iron for most players). That certainly sweetens the pot, but this bag stands on its own just fine, even without the extra goodies.
First off, it's lightweight at just five pounds, and the easy-to-adjust dual strap system makes this a very comfortable carry bag. It's constructed with a water-resistant material, so it's a good choice for any trip to Bandon Dunes or the British Isles for playing in the rain. And there are plenty of pockets with lots of storage space, so you can easily pack rain gear, extra towels, and plenty of balls and other accessories. One nice feature is that the insulated bottle pocket is at an angle to keep your drink upright while you are carrying it for easy access. There's also a slot for a scorecard, which you don't see on many bags, but is particularly useful on a carry bag. And there are slots for a pencil or sharpie, and the valuables pouch has plenty of room for your wallet, keys, and cell phone.
With all that said, this bag also works well for golfers who don't want to carry. It fits well on a push cart or powered golf cart, though it doesn't have a pass-through for a strap underneath the pockets, which are fortunately positioned beneath the strapline, so they're easily accessible anyway. The stand mechanism is easy to open and close, and there are handles at the top and the bottom so you can easily get it out of the trunk of your car. The six-way top is another nice feature, making it fairly easy to organize your clubs. The only drawback on the Zero Friction stand bag is that it doesn't have a magnetic or snap-back pocket for a rangefinder. When walking, we find it cumbersome to have to zip and unzip a pocket to get the rangefinder or GPS device, however, for the price of the golf bag, it's a minor inconvenience.
If you're a serious golfer, you need a Sunday bag. But not all Sunday bags are created equal. Many of them are quite flimsy, don't have much in the way in pockets and often don't come with a stand. The Sunday bag from Sunday Bag called The Loma isn't one of those bags.
Now granted, this probably wouldn't work if it was your only bag. Its specs say that it can hold eight clubs, but it's really more like seven, so unless you're Seve Ballesteros and can hit greenside bunker shots with a long iron, you're going to want a bag where you can hold close to the 14-club limit for everyday play. But a Sunday bag, as its name would imply, is great for late Sunday rounds, walking nine holes casually with friends. It's also great for par-3 courses, taking a few clubs out to the range or the short-game area for practice or any other time when just a few clubs will do.
What sets this bag apart is all the features. Plus at less than 2 pounds, it might be the lightest on the market. We also really like that it has a stand, as so many other Sunday bags just lay on the ground when you're not carrying them. The quality of construction and appearance also make it stand apart with a cool logo, a great carry handle, and five pockets. The pockets aren't large, so you can't carry a whole lot, but you could put a half dozen balls in there as well as a cold drink in the insulated pocket. There's also a lined valuables pocket and a side pocket that's large enough for a very light jacket. An additional netted pocket would work for another water bottle or even a rangefinder. There's also a receptacle for six tees and a velcro strip that could hold two or more golf gloves.
The only knock with The Loma Sunday Bag is the single strap, which in itself is fine and can be fashioned for right-handers or left-handers. But the way it's attached — from the top to less than halfway down — puts the bag in an awkward position for the carrier. The bottom portion needs to be lower so the bag can be carried a bit more horizontally instead of hanging down by the feet. But you could also just carry it using the very sturdy and grip-friendly handle at the top.
Truth in a name certainly applies here with the Izzo Golf Ultra-Lite Cart Bag. At 3.8 pounds, it's lighter than most carry bags, and most cart bags are much heavier than the Izzo Ultra-Lite. If you don't put a ton of stuff in the Ultra-Light Cart Bag, it's incredibly easy to transport, especially with a sturdy handle on top and another at the bottom.
It's also a great value at $150 suggested retail (and you can probably find it for less at several websites). If you don't plan to carry your own bag, this is a great choice for the money. It fits great on a push cart as well as a powered golf cart. One of the features that make it perfect for that chore is the single strap is hidden behind the bag when you mount it on a cart, which means you'll have easy access to every pocket,
The 14-way divider top is great for golfers who like to have individual slots for their clubs, but, of course, it's important to stay organized so you're not hunting and pecking for open spots when returning a club after use. The advantage, of course, is that with the full-length dividers the clubs don't get jammed with other clubs, helping to protect them as they are physically easier to get in and out. And while we don't recommend this as a carry bag, it isn't exactly impossible to carry with a single strap. In fact, if you're in a situation where you are using caddies who are double bagging, they might even prefer it since they can only use one strap at a time anyway when carrying two bags. But they will have to lay the bag on the ground while on the course because there is no stand (however, the lack of stand makes it that much more stable on a push cart or golf cart).
Most of all, the Izzo Ultra-Lite Cart Bag is a no-frills, no-nonsense solution for any golfer using a cart. There aren't any velcro glove holders — you'll just have to fashion them around the handle — there's no large towel ring (a clip-on towel works best), and there are no magnetic pockets. But you can put everything except the kitchen sink in this bag if you want, and it will hold it comfortably with huge pockets on both sides.
How to choose the best golf bag for you?
When it comes to choosing the best golf bag for you, there are a few things you need to consider. For example, do you like to ride or walk? If you do both, a hybrid bag that works on a cart just as well as a carry bag or certainly on a pushcart, is probably the right choice for you.
What kind of budget are you on? If money isn't really a factor, don't skimp. Like everything else, with golf bags, you generally get what you pay for, so there is a difference in quality, depending on the price. Vessel, for example, is considered a luxury brand, both in tennis and golf, and if you have a Vessel bag, you're going to be happy with the quality of materials and craftsmanship.
Like apparel (check out the best golf shoes and the best golf gloves here) and even equipment, how the bag looks is also important. One of the reasons Titleist bags sell so well is that they say so much about the golfer. They're also great bags, so it's an easy combination to like.
And what about your climate? If you play most of your golf in an environment where it's cool and it rains a lot, a waterproof bag like the Sun Mountain H2NO might be the ticket.
And finally, what features are important to you? If you need constant access to your rangefinder (if it's not in the powered golf cart), you're going to want easy access to that with a magnetic or snap-back pocket. If you like to play tunes on the course, then maybe the new MNML bag is the right choice for you.
How we tested the best golf bags
To help you find the best golf bag for you, we put them to the test! We took all of the bags on this list out in different conditions to see how easy they were to use on the course. We looked at how difficult it was to remove clubs, how many clubs you could fit in the dividers, the type of straps on the bag, and for extras like pockets and waterproof rain covers to help you find the best golf bag for you.