Unlike most golf equipment, no launch monitor or wrist-to-floor measurement will tell you what’s the best golf bag for you. That’s why this year’s golf bag Hot List – our first since 2014 – is a great place to start. Ask yourself how you play most often (walk or ride) and what you like to carry (bare essentials or pack mule).
We reviewed 93 golf bags to find the top 34 choices in our four categories:
Our results include a mix of standard and lightweight carry bags, cart-only bags and bigger “hybrid” stand bags with 14-way dividers (shown below are the gold-medal winners in the Carry and Hybrid categories).
Borrowing from the company’s top-rated raingear, its DEFCON 1-level outer layer with sealed seams and YKK zippers looks ready to take on a downpour like Tim Bailey in the eye of a Queensland cyclone. This new lighter-weight version’s top expands the woods section, too.
Players 4 Stadry
Its waterproof material and seam-sealed zippers keep your gear umbrella-dry, but it stays a true carry bag. There’s smart comfort throughout, including an easy-access rangefinder pocket, more strap padding than the previous version, plus a lighter overall weight.
This legendary carry bag’s latest update includes new moisture-wicking shoulder straps that glide on and off like your favourite jacket, 12 pockets and a top that’s spacious and sturdy. For riders, a channel hides the cart strap so you can still get to those side pockets.
The problem with some carry bags is fitting all your clubs in the bag – and being able to pull them out without tearing a wrist tendon. A top that is nearly 20-percent larger than before helps. Even easier are the self-balancing straps and the quick-grab phone pocket.
There are 11 useful pockets and a cart-strap pass-through for riders, but walkers will dig the pillowy shoulder padding, too. The versatile hinging base doesn’t scrunch when the legs extend so there’s more room for clubs, but it still fits neatly in a cart when you ride.
Shadow Fuse 304
If you’re carrying for a full round, the bag’s weight definitely matters, but not as much as the comfort of the straps. Ogio is famous for its sleek, functional backpacks, and these straps echo that heritage. Ergonomically curved and padded, they move freely and self-adjust via a rotating disc system.
A hinging base, also found on the company’s range of lighter carry bags, maintains space with the legs extended. But space is also the story with the 14-way dividers and the pockets, especially how those on the side are built into the bag’s centre for more room without adding extra weight.
We don’t usually play where the carts come with fully stocked eskies. Sure, this bag’s 10 pockets, 14-way dividers and tuck-away strap provide easy access, but mostly we love the attached cooler that stores up to four drinks. Enough to get us to the ninth hole, anyway.
4.5 LS 14-Way Supercharged
Like an executive assistant or Gary on “Veep”, this bag anticipates every need. The 14 full-length dividers, 10 pockets and holders for everything from umbrella to keys are a start. But the next-level addition is the portable power pack with enough juice to reboot your phone three times.
This full-service entry with 14-way dividers features 12 pockets, including one for a rangefinder. But if you can’t get to your wallet without undoing the cart strap, that number is irrelevant. So here a channel runs under the side pockets to provide full access.
• Mizuno BR-D3
• Ping Hoofer Lite
• Sun Mountain 2.5+ 14-way
• TaylorMade FlexTech Lite
• Titleist Players 4 Plus •Wilson Staff EXO
• Big Max Dri Lite G
• Ogio Alpha Convoy 514 RTC
Lightweight (<1.8 kgs)
• Callaway Hyper-Lite Zero
• Datrek Trekker Ultra Lite
• Sun Mountain 2.5+ •TaylorMade LiteTech 3.0
Lightweight (<1.8 kgs)
• Burton ULT
• Mizuno K1-LO
• Callaway ORG 14
• Datrek SGO
• Mizuno BR-D4C
• Ogio Alpha Convoy 514
• Ping Pioneer
• Sun Mountain C-130 Supercharged
• TaylorMade Supreme
• BagBoy Chiller
• Burton XLT
• Ping Traverse