Walker, push cart user, range hero, cart rider, speed golfer - whatever your claim to this beautiful game is, we've identified the right stand bag for you.
With more metrics, a bigger team and more insight than ever before, we've sorted through the best bags in the market to bring you this year's most wanted stand bags.
The 2016 Stand Bags:
Just like with our Cart Bag Buyer's Guide - we're always fine tuning to ensure we deliver the best data. Continuing that trend, we've updated and refined this year to bring you the best buying advice we can.
*Weight is measured with straps and rain hood (factory weights do not include these or other accessories).
*Bags weighing more than 5lbs. are listed at 5lbs.
For 2016 we added more testers who put in even more hours of testing covering multiple days. They assessed more more metrics, creating more data and allowing us to boil down to the nuts and bolts of what makes the best bag for a range of users. We tested with two brands of push carts (Bag Boy Quad and Clicgear 3.5+). Each bag was loaded with 14 clubs, 1 rain jacket, rain pants, 1 dozen golf balls, 20 tees, a laser, 6 pack of beer (if 6 fit), ball markers, two extra gloves, phone, keys, eyeglass wipes, Burt's Bees Wax lip balm, and a Ken Kershaw pocket knife.
Testers abused clubs and bags: inserting and removing clubs repeatedly, pockets stuffed, zippers were torn back and forth, bags were loaded and unloaded from push carts. Pockets were counted and recounted, full length dividers were noted, and any special features were loaded into our metrics.
Because stand bags were built to be carried, every bag was fit onto each tester's back while fully loaded with the previously mentioned clubs and extras.
- Club Binding - Regardless of the number of dividers, this metric simply measures how much club grab/binding occurred when inserting and removing clubs from a bag. (10 possible points)
- Storage - The number and usefulness of pockets. Types of storage, eg: external tee holder, insulated drink pocket, ball pocket. Ultimately, how functional is the available storage as a whole. (10 possible points)
- Comfort - Measure of comfort with the bag fully loaded and carried on each tester's back. (10 possible points)
- Adjustment - Ease of strap adjustment. Is the range of adjustment robust enough to allow the bag to fit a variety of golfers? (10 possible points)
- Durability - Testers examined each bag's stitching, sturdiness, build quality and overall construction to determine the likely durability of a bag. (10 possible points)
- Features - How feature-rich is a given bag. Do each of those features function as intended? Pockets, glove strips, towel loops, strap pass-through, velour pocket, cooler storage, grab handles... (10 possible points)
- Stability - Tested with the bag fully loaded and legs extended. (10 possible points)
- Top Grab Handle - How easy is it to use - is there enough space for someone with larger hands to fit their fingers between bag and clubs. Zero points awarded if not included. (10 possible points)
- Zippers - How easily do zippers open and close. (10 possible points)
- Recommended - Testers were asked to provide a score of 1-10 based on likelihood they would recommend a bag to a friend. (10 possible points)
Final grades were awarded based on total scores.
Best Overall and Runner up are our two highest overall scoring bags.
Lightweight stand bags never get past 5 pounds. These bags are designed to carry everything you need for a full round of golf and not too much more. They won’t leave you stranded, but they weren’t designed to pack your 6 pack and kitchen sink and thrown onto a cart every round. These bags should be designed with the ultimate bag carrying/walking purist in mind.
A Sunday bag allows a player to get out and play a pitch and putt course without needing to lug everything (14 clubs, 20 balls and so on) for a shorter course. Speed golfers also tend to embrace a more Sunday-style bag to allow them to carry everything they need and nothing more.
Golf's Most Wanted Stand Bags
Good: The best bag for 2016. Whether you're the range hero, an occasional walker, a push cart user, or you always ride in a cart - this bag does it all and does it well. Everything is there.
Bad: It may be near impossible, but we'd love to see this bag drop to just below the 5 pound mark. Also, the strap adjustment could be simplified a little.
Notes: The straps are comfy, the bag carries the load well. It's sturdy and durable, and everything works just like you'd want it to.
Good: There was a LOT of thought put into this bag - everything you need is within reach while you walk down the fairway with the bag on your back. ALL 6 dividers are full length.
Bad: Not a ton of storage for cold drinks and just a bit too heavy to be a true carry bag.
Notes: In speaking with the designer for Projekt, we had high hopes going into testing, and the Kozmak didn't let us down. It's a bag that was well thought out. We would LOVE to see what Projekt might do with a true carry bag or a fully committed hybrid design.
Good: The best lightweight bag for 2016. You want to play Pebble Beach or Bandon Dunes? You'll likely find yourself carrying your bag on your back - and our recommendation would be taking the Callaway Hyperlite 3 - tipping the scales just over 4 pounds, this bag offers storage, comfort and function.
Bad: We'd love to see an improvement in the club binding department. That bag definitely wants to keep your clubs in place.
Notes: The walking golfer who wants to carry a bag on their shoulders will find the Callaway Hyperlite 3 does what they need. It may not do a ton more, but that's the goal, to create a bag that doesn't let you pack too much, but allows you to bring the essentials.
Good: Lightweight yet still providing enough storage to allow you to choose how many clubs you want to drag around. If you're a 4 club guy or an 8 club guy, you won't be left in a bind. The best Sunday bag for 2016.
Bad: The bag may be a bit larger than some would want for a Sunday bag.
Notes: You like to parse things down on Sunday (I on the other hand want to bring extra beers). If you don't want to bring a 6 pack, but still want to carry enough clubs to allow a variety of shots - this bag is your workhorse. Storage that will allow a rain jacket and some extra balls - yet a weight that makes you wonder why other larger bags aren't this light!
*When the specified feature is not available, the score field is left blank