5 Types of Golf Bags: (With Pictures!)

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As is the case with all golf equipment, there is an incredible range of golf bags out there for players of all levels to choose from.

Recreational players can opt for a tour, cart, stand, or pencil bag, and may even invest in a travel golf bag if they regularly play at courses in different parts of the country or further afield.

Some golfers make use of more than one golf bag and vary the amount of equipment they take out on the course.

To help you decide upon the best type of golf bag for your preferences, we introduce you to the five main types of golf bag and explain some of the benefits of each style.

What are the Main Types of Golf Bags?

There are five main types of golf bags that are used by golfers in the US. Each golf bag has its own characteristics and is used for specific circumstances and requirements.

  1. Tour bags.
  2. Cart bags.
  3. Stand bags.
  4. Pencil bags.
  5. Travel bags.

Golf bags are produced by the biggest brands in golf and come in a vast range of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Most players choose their bags based on how much equipment they have, whether they carry their bags or use a cart, as well as the overall design and style of the bag in question.

Some players even make use of more than one bag and switch their clubs from bag to bag, depending on where they’re playing and what equipment they think they need out on the course.

We begin by looking at golf tour bags in a little more detail below.

1. What are Golf Tour Bags?

golf tour bag
Example of a golf tour bag: Callaway Epic Flash Star Staff (Tour) Bag.

Golf tour bags are the biggest golf bags on the market and are popular with professional players on tour (hence the name!). You may also hear people refer to tour bags as staff bags, but ultimately, they’re referring to the same piece of equipment.

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One of the main characteristics of tour bags is that they have lots of compartments to carry a great deal of equipment.

This includes golfing essentials like clubs, tees, and balls, alongside waterproofs, extra clothing, and a range of other pieces of equipment that recreational players might deem to be unnecessary.

Given their extra size and equipment, tour bags are heavy!

If you’ve ever watched golf on TV, you will notice that caddies carry the tour bags of the pros so that the players can focus on their game.

While you might not have a caddy at your disposal, you should consider hiring a motorized golf cart or investing in a pull or push trolley if you purchase a tour bag, as you will almost certainly get tired carrying such a big bag around the course.

2. What are Golf Cart Bags?

golf cart bag
Example of a golf cart bag: Titleist Cart 14 Golf Bag.

Golf cart bags are designed to be used on a push, pull, or motorized cart. They tend to have a rubber non-slip base that prevents the bag from sliding off the cart while it’s moving. Cart bags are quite heavy, but lighter than tour bags and can be carried if you like to walk the course on occasions. 

Like a tour bag, a cart bag has many compartments for all of your golf equipment and valuables.

Cart bags are often favored by beginners and recreational players, as you can effortlessly carry additional balls without worrying about the extra weight, which is ideal when you’re learning the importance of keeping the ball in play!

Should you opt for a cart bag, you may wish to pair it with a push or pull cart of your own, so you don’t have to rent a cart every time you turn up to play a round of golf at your favorite course.

3. What are Golf Stand Bags?

golf stand bag
Example of a golf stand bag: TaylorMade Select ST Stand Bag.

Golf stand bags feature two retractable legs that allow you to place and stand your bag on the course next to wherever you’re about to play your shot. Utilizing a stand bag means you don’t have to rest your carry bag in the mud, which is problematic when it rains.

Stand bags are an excellent option for players who like to carry their bags around the course and don’t rely on push, pull, or motorized carts.

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The best stand bags are extremely light (often less than five pounds) and allow you to carry all of your equipment without straining your back.

They also comprise sufficient compartments so you can keep your valuables and golf gear protected from the elements.

Another impressive aspect of golf stand bags is that they often have backpack-style straps that evenly distribute the bag’s weight across your shoulders and make it comfortable to carry your equipment around the course.

If you enjoy the physical exercise of walking and carrying your bag around the course, a golf stand bag is perhaps the best option for you.

4. What are Golf Pencil Bags? (Sunday)

golf pencil bag
Example of a golf pencil bag: FINGER TEN Golf Pencil Bag.

Golf pencil bags are the smallest type of bag and are designed to be lightweight and portable. Golfers who are happy to play with limited equipment and aren’t worried about weather conditions are likely to opt for a pencil bag due to the fact that it’s easy to transport and store in a locker.

Some golfers use pencil bags (also called Sunday bags) for practice rounds or when they’re heading to the range, as they’re perfect if you’re happy to leave some of your equipment behind.

They’re also handy if you’re traveling abroad with your golf clubs, as they weigh significantly less than other bags and won’t cost you a fortune to check in on your flight.

The biggest downside of pencil bags is the fact that they’re not remotely weatherproof.

If you get caught up in showers, your bag and equipment will get soaked, and because they don’t come with a stand, you have to lie your pencil bag down on the wet grass while you’re playing your shots.

5. What are Golf Travel Bags?

golf travel bag
Example of a golf travel bag: Samsonite Golf Hard Sided Travel Case.

Golf travel bags are either hard or soft cased and are best described as travel bag covers, as they are used in addition to your current golf bag and protect your equipment during transit. 

If you’re hitting the road with your golf clubs in tow, you will need to invest in a golf travel bag and your choice depends on your preference and the way in which you plan to travel.

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Naturally, hard cases offer more protection than soft covers, but they’re also heavier and may cost more to transport, particularly if you’re taking a flight.

Before deciding on the perfect golf travel bag for you, make sure its size and dimensions will fit over your current bag, and check that you’re happy with the level of protection offered to your equipment, especially your clubs.

The last thing you want to happen during transit is for your clubs to snap or become damaged in any way!

What are the Small Golf Bags Called?

Pencil bags are the smallest and most lightweight carry bag options available to golfers. You may also hear smaller carry bags referred to as ‘Sunday bags,’ which is the name given to lightweight bags that are easy for players to carry. 

Sunday bags are a great option if you’re hoping to walk the course with your bag at your back and can just as easily be used out on the range or practice course.

However, if you carry lots of equipment or regularly play golf in inclement weather conditions, a Sunday bag might not be the best option for you.

Which Golf Bag Type do You Prefer?

There’s a lot to think about before deciding on the perfect golf bag to carry your equipment.

While beginner golf sets often come with a golf bag included in the price, they might not necessarily be suited to your preferences.

As you can see from the five types of golf bags that we’ve introduced above, you need to make sure you pick an appropriate bag for your needs.

The last thing you want to do is lug a heavy tour bag around for eighteen holes, particularly if you don’t use a push, pull, or motorized cart.

The more golf you play, you might realize that you need more than one golf bag.

If you have several sets of irons or regularly play at more than one course, purchasing a second golf bag will save you from having to move your clubs from place to place and will give you greater flexibility when deciding what equipment to take with you out on the course.