Your chosen method to navigate the course determines which type of golf bag is best suited for you.
There are four predominant golf bags in the market: sunday, stand, cart, and staff. A sunday bag fits enough golf clubs for the driving range, while professionals use a staff bag. In this article, I analyze the differences between a cart bag vs stand bag.
Since these two are the most common amateur golf bags, it makes sense to give them the necessary attention. I will highlight the pros and cons of each one of these bags and explain which golfer is more suited to each of them.
What is a Cart Bag?
As the name suggests, this bag is designed to fit on a golf or push cart. Cart golf bags are generally heavier than a stand construction and contain plenty of storage space. This is ideal for the amateur who carries numerous golf accessories and personal items on the links.
Not only do they offer additional pockets, but they are also forward-facing to ensure easy access to your belongings.
Besides storage space, cart bags are also the best structured for holding your golf clubs. It is increasingly common to find these bags with 14-way dividers. This means that a slot is reserved for every club in your bag. It keeps you organized and your clubs separate to prevent damage to your clubhead.
Learn how to keep your golf clubs structured by following our post on organizing a 14-slot golf bag.
Considering the mid-weight construction of these bags, they are not suitable for carrying around the golf course. That is why many cart bag constructions offer a single strap. It is enough for you to transport it short distances but will create discomfort during a round of golf.
Furthermore, modern golf cart bags are fitted with a non-slip base to prevent them from sliding around and falling off. Plus, they contain a cart strap loop to simplify the attaching process to a vehicle or golf push trolley.
Overall this bag is built to travel on golf carts and provides extra space and superior organization.
What is a Stand Bag?
Technically a stand bag could be any structure with legs attached to it. However, when golfers talk about stand bags, they refer to the lightweight design that walking golfers use. They are lighter than cart bags and more comfortable to carry around golf courses, thanks to dual padded shoulder straps.
Besides carrying less weight, they tend to fetch lower prices than the bags you transport on carts. However, these benefits force you to sacrifice storage space. Although they provide space for your rain gear, golf balls, tees, and water bottle, it is nothing like a cart bag.
Despite being crafted for walking golfers, a stand bag is the most versatile of all the golf bags. You can carry it yourself, put it on a cart, or task one of the caddies at your course to lug it around.
A 4-way top divider is found on entry-level stand bags, while 5 and 6 slots appear on mid-range and high-end options. It is not as organized as the cart bag, but you can still run a tight ship with these setups.
Ultimately, stand bags are light, affordable, and provide optimal comfort while walking 18 holes. A golf stand bag will offer you the best value for money if you are not intending to acquire a cart or push trolley.
Pros of a Cart Bag
1. A Lot of Pockets
The best feature of a cart bag is the abundance of pockets. This setup enables you to store your gloves, balls, tees, rangefinder, and valuables. And the best cart bag products in the market contain an insulated cooler pocket for your beverages.
Furthermore, it features ample space to store your apparel and rain gear. These golf bags are ideal if you like to prepare for any occasion and carry every golf accessory on the market.
2. Forward Facing Pockets
Back in the day, I used to despise the setup of golf bags on a cart. Some pockets faced away from you, which meant you had to turn your back frantically to access your tees and balls.
Manufacturers understood this pain point and have since crafted cart bags with forward-facing pockets. This makes it easy to access your equipment and apparel to speed up your search for the relevant items.
3. Club Organization
Besides storage space, cart bags are built to keep your clubs organized and separated. These days it is common to find 14 sway-top dividers, giving each golf club its own particular slot.
Naturally, this reduces the risk of scratching your clubheads. But more than that, it helps you keep your clubs in sequence to save you time looking for your stick of choice.
4. Non-Slip Base
These bags not only carry the name of a cart but also contain features specifically built for a trolley or vehicle. They have two components that ensure the bag remains fastened while the wheels turn. These are a non-slip base and a cart strap loop.
The non-slip base provides the most value on push trolleys, as it enhances friction to remain secure at all times. While you navigate the uneven surfaces on a links, the bag remains firmly attached to the cart.
My bag continuously fell off my push trolley as a junior leading to me despising the contraption. Fortunately, that is no longer an issue, thanks to the non-slip base design.
Cons of a Cart Bag
1. You Need a Cart
The biggest downside of a cart bag is that you need a vehicle or trolley to lug it around. Now, if you already own a cart or push trolley, this is no problem, and you can move on to the second drawback.
But, if you do not have one, you will need to acquire or hire one. Purchasing a golf cart is a costly endeavor. So, those on a tight budget may consider a push trolley for its affordability.
An alternative option is to hire a golf cart or push a trolley every time you play, but this could be more costly in the long run.
2. Heavier Than a Stand Bag
Added storage space comes at a price for the cart bag, causing them to weigh more than their compact, lightweight stand counterparts. This makes it less than ideal to carry through the course if you find yourself in a situation where you do not have access to a cart.
3. More Expensive Than a Stand Bag
Although you can find affordable cart bag options on par with a stand case, they are generally more expensive. Therefore, if your budget is stretched, this is not the pond to be fishing in.
Pros of a Stand Bag
Besides an affordable levy, the lightweight construction is a core benefit of stand bags. They are built to serve players who intend to comfortably carry their clubs around the links.
A stand bag offers golfers the best bang for their buck. This is the way to go if you are trying to save a few dollars to spend on other equipment. However, the affordable price tag does mean that you sacrifice storage space. But at least you do not require a cart to transport your bag.
While the purpose of a stand bag is to enable golfers to comfortably carry their clubs, it is a versatile product. You can transport it on a cart, but you must ensure it is optimally fastened. In addition, you can hand it over to a caddie to operate, and they will appreciate the reduced mass.
4. Comfortable Shoulder Straps
The lightweight design of stand golf bags is complimented by the strap system on these bags. They contain padding to cushion your shoulders while you walk. Premium stand bags even offer memory foam to conform to the contours of your glenohumeral joint.
Cons of a Stand Bag
1. Reduced Storage Space
The biggest downside of these golf bags is the reduced storage space. It fits your balls, tees, apparel, towels, and personal belongings. However, some items may need to share a pocket to cater to every product.
Tips for Deciding Which One to Buy
Determining your budget is the best place to start when looking for a golf bag. You need to maximize your capital to acquire every piece of equipment necessary. If your financial advisor has placed you in spending jail, a stand bag is a way to go. A transaction for this entry-level design may go unnoticed by them.
Conversely, if you have the budget and a device to transport your golf case, it is worth considering a cart bag. The added storage space offers the ultimate luxury to those who carry every accessory on the market.
Lastly, those golfers with Scrooge McDuck capital levels may consider a staff bag. It is unnecessary for amateur golfers, but it does make you look good and provides ample storage. However, these bags carry excess mass, and you should hire a caddie to handle them.
Walk or Drive?
Apart from your budget, the way you navigate the golf course can help you make the correct decision. If you prefer walking and carrying your golf clubs, then the best option is a stand bag.
On the contrary, I recommend a cart bag if you own a four-wheel vehicle or a push trolley. These bags are equipped for such automobiles and provide maximum storage space.
How Much Storage Space Do You Need?
Organized golfers like to prepare for any situation. Therefore, they carry every piece of equipment you can think of, which requires optimal space. If you fall into this bracket, you should consider a cart or staff bag featuring numerous pockets.
Nonetheless, if you only require the essential necessities, you can shed the weight and opt for a lightweight stand bag.
How Many Top Dividers Do You Prefer?
Storage space is one of the aspects of keeping your golf bag organized. The other is structuring your golf clubs in order, making them easier to access and least likely to become damaged. Stand bags typically range from 4 to 6-slot designs. That means there are sufficient slots to divide your clubs between woods, hybrids, long to mid-irons, wedges, and your putter.
If you find a 14-slot golf bag attractive, you may need to settle for a cart bag. However, if a 4 to 6-slot setup works, you have a range of stand bags from which to choose.
Related: Read our guide on how to clean a golf bag to keep it organized and looking fresh.