What Golf Bag Accessories Are a Must-Have for a Winner?

By Nick Heidelberger

Golf equipment and accessories

There’s an art to perfectly accessorizing your golf bag. You don’t want to be sifting through an endless collection of junk just to find a buried ball marker. You also don’t want to get exposed to unfavorable elements if you pack too light. To help you strike that perfect balance, we’ve assembled this list of the must-have golf bag accessories, and which ones you can leave at home.

Golf Bag Accessories

When packing your golf bag, you’ll obviously need the essentials: 14 clubs, enough balls to get you through the round, tees and a glove or two. Of course, your beverages and snacks of choice should also be obvious, after all, you could be on the course for five hours or more.

Beyond that, however, golfers enter a gray area. There are endless golf accessories, but which accessories are necessities, and which should you do without?

If you walk the golf course, you’ll be particularly sensitive to how much your golf bag weighs, even if you employ a push cart. However, even golfers who ride a cart don’t want to be rummaging through every pocket of their golf bag just to locate the essentials.

When packing your golf bag, stick to these accessories, and make sure to check out the items to definitely, at all costs, leave behind.

Golf Towel and Bag Hood

Titleist golf towel hood bag

Golf is an outdoor sport and more than likely at some point during your round you’ll be exposed to mud, moisture, or some other substance you don’t want on your grips or ball.

A golf towel is an essential accessory for any golf bag, and the fact that the Titleist Drihood Towel Bag Hood doubles as a bag hood makes it a top choice. When the rain starts to fall -- and trust us, if you play enough golf, it will -- just drape it over your clubs to keep them dry. This saves you from toting around a separate bag hood that hopefully you won’t need too often.

Scorecard Holder

Some players probably think a scorecard holder is excessive, but those players have never used one. If you’ve ever kept your scorecard in your pocket on a hot summer day, you’ve noticed that after each hole the card is a little softer and soggier. By the middle of the back nine, the pencil can barely mark a score without piercing through the soggy card. After 18 holes, there’s almost no chance of maintaining a legible score.

A scorecard holder not only protects your card from precipitation and perspiration, but it looks and feels nice. There’s something satisfying about carrying around a nice leather scorecard holder and nonchalantly whipping it out after each hole.

As a final bonus, most scorecard holders will hold the pencil too, meaning no more accidentally stabbing yourself when you dig into your pocket for your ball marker.

Divot tool

TaylorMade divot tool

Every golf bag needs a divot tool and if every golfer made it a personal goal to fix more pitch marks than they make, the world would indeed be a better place.

Keep your divot tool on you throughout your round and fix as many pitch marks as you can, whether you made them or not.

Ball marker

Matchstick golf ball marker

Once you’re on the green and finished fixing pitch marks, you’ll need to mark your golf ball. Traditionally, there are two types of ball markers: huge poker chips that can be seen from space, and rusty quarters.

These nifty markers from Matchstick Golf give you a stylish way to mark your spot on the green. Your partners will always know who's got the four-footer for birdie.

Sunscreen & Bug Spray

Most of the essentials for your golf bag are some sort of protection from the elements, and if you’re going to be outdoors exposed to the sun and bugs for 4-5 hours, you’re going to need sunscreen and bug spray.

Obviously, full-sized cans or tubes can fill up your bag in a hurry, which is exactly what you should avoid. Instead, opt for the travel size of each. Doing this will give you all the protection you need, without weighing you down.

Golf Umbrella

Callaway golf umbrella

A golf umbrella is a necessity for any golf bag, but with a caveat. You should keep a golf umbrella with your bag at all times, but when you’re stepping out onto the course on a day with no chance of rain, leave that big guy in your trunk.

Even hardcore golf nuts only play in the rain a few time per year, so there’s no point in lugging around a bulky umbrella for 30-plus rounds per year when 90 percent of the time you won’t need it.

Golf Rain gloves

Taylormade rain gloves

We didn’t want to mention rain again, but we also don’t want to leave you out to dry. With that said, it’s always a good idea to keep a pair of golf rain gloves in your golf bag so you can be prepared if the heavy stuff starts to come down.

Unlike a regular golf glove, golf rain gloves come in a pair and should be worn on both hands. These gloves are designed to give you a great grip while maintaining comfort and allowing feel in your golf swing.

Golf Bag Accessories to Leave at Home

Having the right accessories in your golf bag can make a huge difference in how enjoyable your round is. But if you bring the wrong accessories to the first tee, it’ll be your playing partners getting enjoyment at your expense.

Iron Covers

Head covers for drivers and fairway woods have evolved into an expressive art form, with many personal and classy touches. But head covers for your irons are downright laughable, and should be avoided at all costs.

Score Counter

If you’re a baseball or softball umpire, it’s a great idea to keep a handheld devices that tracks balls and strikes. If you’re a recreational golfer, it’s a terrible idea to keep a handheld device that tracks your score.

It shouldn’t be too much of a burden to add up your strokes after each hole and jot them down on your scorecard, yet for some reason the top golf score counter on Amazon has nearly 700 reviews.

About the Author

Nick Heidelberger is the Editor of GolfLink and an active member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA). He covers all things golf, from the professional tours to rules, equipment, style, and golf history. In the years prior to joining GolfLink, he worked for the New England Section of the PGA of America. Nick has a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and has been an avid golfer for more than 10 years.