How to Pack a Golf Bag

By Matthew DeBord

The golf bag is a basic piece of equipment that comes in a variety of different shapes, sizes and styles. However, the majority of golfers will choose to carry similar items with them when they play a round, and as a result will benefit from some simple guidelines when in comes to packing their bag. Obviously, a player who decides to carry a lightweight bag will be able to pack less than a player who decides on a larger cart bag or pro-style bag. But the central objective of every golfer is the same: to be prepared for anything on the golf course.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy
Step 1
Start with an empty bag and lay out your equipment. You'll begin with the clubs. The majority of golf bags are divided into sections. A typical bag has four, although some have more and some have less. The reason is to separate the clubs into groupings that a golfer can easily access during a round. Woods come first, and they generally go toward the rear of the bag, in the section closest to the strap. The putter also goes here. Then group the irons according to loft: three, four, and five irons together; then six, seven, eight, and nine irons. The last section is for wedges.
Step 2
Study your pockets. Most bags follow a design with small pockets near the top, long pockets down the sides, and several medium-sized pockets at the bottom. The small pockets hold smaller items: divot tool, extra tees, coins to use as ball makers, a Sharpie to use for identifying the ball, medications, a spike tool, extra spikes, a pocket knife, band aides, lip balm, plus any wrenches that are used to adjust clubs that are designed to be adjusted. This is also a good place to keep the scorecard and a pen or pencil. The longer pockets are for clothing: hats, jackets, sweaters, rain gear, extra socks, extra golf gloves, sunglasses and sunscreen. The medium-sized pockets near the bottom are for balls.
Step 3
Sling the bag over your shoulder and test it for weight. Even if you're planning to use a cart, you don't want your bag to be too heavy. If it's uncomfortable to carry, remove some items. Do you really need two dozen balls? If there's no rain in the forecast, you can consider leaving the umbrella and rain gear in the car.
Step 4
Reserve some space for a water bottle. Many bags now have a water-bottle holder included in their design. But if your bag lacks one, simply leave some space in a pocket that's large enough.
Step 5
Unpack the bag after the round. Remove dirty clothing. Allow the gloves used during the round to dry out. Clean old balls and remove them to use for practice. Throw away any trash and replenish any supplies that you're running low on. Shake any dirt out of the bag and clean it. This extra effort will make it easier to play your next round.

Tips & Warnings

Consider purchasing a small drawstring sack or valuables case in which to keep car keys, cell phone, wallet and watch. Women may want to pack a small satchel, cosmetics kit or purse. Buy the right bag for you. Do you always rent a cart? Then you don't want a lightweight stand bag. Do you enjoy a quick nine holes? Then a basic Sunday bag, which allows you to carry a partial set of clubs and a few balls and tees, may be a good choice. Pack enough balls and tees. A dozen balls may be too many, but half a dozen should be about right for most rounds. Wooden tees break easily, so if you prefer this type, pack a lot. Roll your spare clothing. If you roll up extra shirts, rain gear, sweater and jacket, they will come out of the bag looking more crisp, and they'll also compress better and take up less room. Bring two towels. Moisten one before the round, hang it on the outside of the bag, and use it to wipe your clubs. Keep another towel in the bag and use it to wipe away sweat, dry hands, wipe off sunscreen and to dry yourself off during a rain shower.
Consider purchasing a small drawstring sack or valuables case in which to keep car keys, cell phone, wallet and watch. Women may want to pack a small satchel, cosmetics kit or purse.
Buy the right bag for you. Do you always rent a cart? Then you don't want a lightweight stand bag. Do you enjoy a quick nine holes? Then a basic Sunday bag, which allows you to carry a partial set of clubs and a few balls and tees, may be a good choice.
Pack enough balls and tees. A dozen balls may be too many, but half a dozen should be about right for most rounds. Wooden tees break easily, so if you prefer this type, pack a lot.
Roll your spare clothing. If you roll up extra shirts, rain gear, sweater and jacket, they will come out of the bag looking more crisp, and they'll also compress better and take up less room.
Bring two towels. Moisten one before the round, hang it on the outside of the bag, and use it to wipe your clubs. Keep another towel in the bag and use it to wipe away sweat, dry hands, wipe off sunscreen and to dry yourself off during a rain shower.
When in doubt, don't leave it out. If you think it might rain, but aren't completely sure, then play it safe and pack the rain gear and umbrella. If the weather forecast says it's going to be a scorcher, pack the umbrella. You'll appreciate the portable shade. Consider packing some powdered energy drink mix and some fruit, nuts or energy bars. A hot dog and a soda makes a nice lunch, but healthier items can improve a round and prevent dehydration. Always have extra spikes and a spike tool. Keeping your golf shoes in good condition is important, and spikes often break or become worn down. Extra socks are essential. Golf shoes may be waterproof, but they aren't rubber boots. Even on a dry day, a golfer may inadvertently step into a puddle or on soggy ground.
When in doubt, don't leave it out. If you think it might rain, but aren't completely sure, then play it safe and pack the rain gear and umbrella.
If the weather forecast says it's going to be a scorcher, pack the umbrella. You'll appreciate the portable shade.
Consider packing some powdered energy drink mix and some fruit, nuts or energy bars. A hot dog and a soda makes a nice lunch, but healthier items can improve a round and prevent dehydration.
Always have extra spikes and a spike tool. Keeping your golf shoes in good condition is important, and spikes often break or become worn down.
Extra socks are essential. Golf shoes may be waterproof, but they aren't rubber boots. Even on a dry day, a golfer may inadvertently step into a puddle or on soggy ground.

About The Author

Matthew DeBord has written about sports, cars, and wine since 1994 for a variety of publications. Formerly the golf columnist for the “Improper Hamptonian,” he has covered major championship tournaments and played some of the best courses in America. He graduated from Clemson University and has a master's degree from New York University.

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