Who wins the battle in a cart bag vs. stand bag debate? Or, should you opt for a hybrid golf bag or a Sunday bag instead?
These are good questions that we’ll help you answer today. While there is a lot of equipment in golf, your bag is arguably one of the best items. Not only does it carry your clubs, it also stores your valuables, personal launch monitor, and other golf accessories.
But it also needs to match your playing style – whether you ride in a golf cart, walk, or use a push cart. Otherwise, using the wrong one might make it very inconvenient to practice and/or walk during the round. We don’t want your bag giving you a golf injury because it’s too heavy!
Cart Bag vs. Stand Bag
In the past it was pretty much a cart bag or a stand bag. Both bags are polar opposites of one and other in terms of size, weight, storage, and more.
However, the bag selection has never been bigger and now there are more choices than ever. Players of all ages now use stand bags, hybrid bags, and other still prefer the convenience of cart bags.
- Golf bags are typically known as cart, stand, or hybrid bags.
- Cart bags are larger than stand bags and have more storage capacity such as a cooler pocket. These bags are meant to be used on a golf cart, not carried during the round.
- Stand bags are smaller than cart bags, have fewer dividers, and less storage. But the lighter weight and built-in stand make it easier to pack throughout the round.
- Less common golf bags include a Sunday bag – which is a lightweight, smaller bag that only holds about half your clubs. Tour staff bags are bigger than cart bags and used almost exclusively by professional golfers.
Keep reading to learn more about the four types of golf bags and figure out which one is right for your game.
Golf Cart Bag
A cart bag is typically the largest option for everyday amateur golfers. Cart bags are much larger than a carry bag and meant to be used with a golf cart instead of carrying during the round.
These bags tend to have 3-5 more pockets than a stand bag, which is great if you have a lot of golf accessories. Or, if you play in a lot of tough weather conditions and need to bring extra golf clothes, sweaters, etc.
One big perk cart bag over most stand bags are the individual dividers for each club. Having 14 spaces dedicated to each club will generally protect your club heads and shafts more than a bag with 4–5 dividers.
But there are plenty of downsides to cart bags as well. The heavy design isn’t great for travel or storage as they’re significantly bigger. They’re not easy to walk with even if you have a push cart either.
- Individual club dividers and putter well to protect your shafts.
- Smaller than Tour bags and easier to keep your clubs organized.
- Maximum storage – usually two large apparel pockets and/or cooler pockets. Great if you have a lot of rain gear.
- No water bottle holder.
- Heavy and hard to travel with.
- Very difficult to use with a push cart as they’re larger and heavier.
- No stand makes it harder to practice at times as they don’t stand upright.
But if you’re a cart golfer through and through, they’re the best option for you. Check out our best cart bags here.
Golf Stand Bag (Carry Bag)
The alternative to a cart bag is known as a stand bag (or a carry bag). These bags – as the name suggests – are much easier to carry for 18 holes. The design is a fraction of the size/weight of a cart bag which makes it easier to carry around the course.
Stand bags typically have two dual comfortable shoulder straps to carry like a backpack. A double shoulder strap system is much more comfortable and convenient than carrying with one strap.
Carry bags are common with younger golfers who walk more – like high school and college athletes. But a lot of golfers opt for them as they’re lighter, easy to travel with, and can be used with a push cart too.
While they’re lighter than cart bags, they’re also smaller than cart bags too. This means less storage space and less protection for your golf clubs as well.
- Lightweight design.
- Padded shoulder straps.
- Can walk, use a push cart or throw on a cart.
- Takes up less space in your locker, garage, or trunk.
- No putter well.
- Fewer pockets and storage space.
- Most stand bags don’t have individual club compartments.
If you like to get extra exercise and/or want a lighter, smaller bag, this is likely the best choice. Check out our best stand bags here.
Golf Hybrid Bag
The third type of bag is known as a hybrid bag which is the best of both worlds. These bags have more storage capacity than a normal stand bag, retractable legs, shoulder straps, and are lighter than a cart bag.
Hybrid golf bags also have a stand, unlike cart bags. A lot of hybrid bags also have individual club compartments to protect your shafts as well.
Hybrid bags tend to weigh more than stand bags but less than cart bags.
While you can choose to carry them, I’ve found these are made more for pushcarts than packing on your back. Most of them tend to have a cart pass system too so they’re easy to put on a golf cart.
If you’re the type of golfer who wants to occasionally walk and push a cart (or use an electronic push cart) these are a great option. Having the stand also makes it much easier and more convenient to practice without trying to balance a cart bag.
- Built-in stand with retractable legs.
- Easy to carry but better for push carts.
- Has ample storage space than a traditional stand bag, including a full length apparel pocket.
- These bags tend to have individual dividers to protect your clubs and shafts better than a stand bag.
- More expensive than stand bags.
- The larger design might not fit in all travel cases.
Golf Sunday Bag
The final type of bag that you might consider is known as a “Sunday bag.” Unlike other golf bags, these are much smaller than even a stand bag and meant to carry a handful of clubs, not all 14.
Sunday bags are great for casual rounds, range sessions, and when you want to walk on an executive golf course. They’re significantly lighter than a lightweight stand bag as they don’t have many pockets or storage. But they can usually carry 6–8 clubs and a good way to get some more exercise every round.
- Cheaper than stand bags.
- Great for casual rounds and practice.
- Easy to carry and get more exercise on the golf course.
- Can’t carry all 14 clubs.
- Minimal storage and no umbrella holder.
If you have a cart bag but want more exercise, check out our best Sunday bags here.
FAQs About Golf Bags
Do you have more questions about all the golf bags mentioned above? If so, keep scrolling through the most frequently asked questions now.
Can you use stand bags on a cart?
Yes, if you don’t want to walk the golf course you can always throw any bag on a cart. A lot of carry bags also have built-in cart pass through systems so they attach securely to the cart.
What is a staff bag in golf?
A staff bag (also called a Tour bag) is a much bigger bag meant for PGA Tour professionals. These bags are significantly heavier than cart bags and mean to be used with a caddy but can fit on a golf cart. Traveling with these bags is very difficult due to their larger size.
What is a Sunday bag?
A Sunday bag is a “mini bag” that weighs almost nothing and makes it easy to carry 6-8 golf clubs. It’s meant more for casual rounds, executive golf courses, and practice than full rounds at typical length golf courses. Unlike golf cart bags, you won’t get an insulated cooler pocket, extra storage, individual dividers, etc. as they make it heavier.
What do you call the person who carries the golf bag?
This is typically referred to as a caddy (or caddie). This person not only carries the golf bag but also cleans clubs, provides course strategy with his/her local knowledge, and might help read greens too. Caddies aren’t that common on most golf courses and more regular at higher end, bucket list golf courses like Pebble Beach.
A caddy is not to be confused with a forecaddie as well. Forecaddies don’t carry clubs but instead help find golf balls by going ahead of the group on tee shots. They also help with local course knowledge and assist the group with pace of play.
As someone that’s played a lot of competitive golf – from high school to college and now amateur events – I always need a stand bag. I once won a cart bag at a golf scramble but it didn’t last long as it was a pain to practice with.
If you go to the driving range often I think it’s best to opt for a hybrid and/or carry bag. These are lighter than a cart bag and easy to tote with you to the driving range and/or practice facility.
I recently got a hybrid bag (instead of a carry bag) and have mixed feelings. While I like the extra storage pockets, it’s quite a bit heavier and barely fits in my travel bag. So make sure you check before traveling to avoid any fiasco the night before a golf trip.
It’s also a good idea to have multiple bags – one for summer and one for winter if you play in harsh conditions. For example, I know a lot of players who have a black or dark-colored cart bag for the winter and a lighter weight carry bag for summer. Or, having a backup Sunday bag to enjoy twilight rounds of golf.
Final Thoughts on the Best Golf Bag for Your Game
Using the right golf bag is important to store your golf gear, protect your clubs, and make walking a round of golf easier.
If you plan to ride in golf carts, a cart bag is the best. But just remember it will take up more room in your car or garage so plan accordingly. Not to mention they’re more difficult to travel with and might go over the airline limits on total weight.
If you prefer walking and sometimes using a power cart, the ideal bag for you and many golfers is a hybrid bag. It’s easy to get around the course and can use with a golf cart or push cart.